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Why New Year's Resolutions #FAIL

Updated: Jan 2, 2023


Before you start getting judgey, I want to state that this is not a negative post. I promise. I think it's fair to say that we all get caught up in the idea of making significant changes on the first day of the new year because it feels hopeful - like anything is possible. I get it. This post is about how to successfully set goals in 2023 and why only about 19% of folks stick to their January 1st resolutions. For some science on that, along with an explanation of the Transtheoretical Model, click here.

Three Reasons for New Year’s Resolution #FAIL:

  1. Performative goal setting: Folks who announce their goals on socials look for a pat on the back and, though the goal is not authentic, will receive a lot of attention.

  2. Setting yourself up for failure: Let’s be honest; resolutions are a socially acceptable way to set goals that you expect to fail. It’s typically an idea fueled by hope with no real plan to achieve it. January 1st is just a day, yet people feel pressure to start on this day instead of beginning when they’re READY.

  3. Resolutions and goals are not the same things: A resolution is a statement of what you want to change. For example, paying down debt. A goal is a statement of what you want to achieve, the steps you need to take to complete it, and when you want to achieve it by.

How do you set goals without losing steam? Pick a day (any day) for your start date and ensure you’re ready and prepared. My favorite approach to that start date is the use of S.M.A.R.T Goals. Pick your goal and make sure it meets the criteria below:


Why S.M.A.R.T Goals work (studies confirm):

  1. Ninety percent of studies on goal setting and performance showed that specific and challenging goals led to higher performance.

  2. Long, far-off deadlines sabotaged goal achievement. When deadlines were perceived to be in the present vs. the future, they were more likely to get started on working toward the goal they set.

  3. How attractive a goal was to a goal setter, meaning how much they wanted it and how relevant it was to their life, influenced how committed they remained to that goal and thus how likely they were to accomplish it (intrinsic vs. extrinsic).

It's difficult to resist the pressure of setting New Year's resolutions, but chances are this hasn't worked for you in the past -- so why keep doing it? Instead, opt for an actual plan and give S.M.A.R.T. goals a try in 2023. What do you have to lose?





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