How To Make Your New Year’s Resolutions Last

Have you ever wondered why so many people struggle to stick with their New Year’s resolutions? Discover insights from experts on how to set achievable goals that are meaningful to you and stay consistent with them throughout the year.

How To Make Your New Year’s Resolutions Last

February 05, 2024

For many people, the beginning of the new year is a time to set fresh goals and fix bad habits. So when the clock strikes midnight, most people set New Year’s resolutions. Whether it’s to improve physical fitness or pursue a unique hobby, most feel excited to reach these milestones. But why do so many of us fail to stick with our resolutions? According to research, about 90% of New Year’s resolutions are forgotten and left behind within the first months of the new year.

For a long time, experts have questioned why humans crave setting goals particularly at the start of the new year. After all, goal setting can be done at any time. Jennifer Kowalski, a licensed professional counselor at Thriveworks in Cheshire, Connecticut states, “When something comes to an end, it’s an opening to a new beginning.” The new year pushes us to reflect on the past year and consider what changes we want to make. Making resolutions incentivizes us to commit to making those changes.

So, what makes us give up on our goals so easily? Why do we keep setting these goals, knowing they probably won’t work out? Terri Bly of Ellie Mental Health in Mendota Heights, Minnesota notes, “As humans, we do tend to be optimistic in the face of evidence.” Regardless of failing in past years, people are motivated by the start of the new year to change this trend. Here are the main three insights that experts who study goal-setting advise us to keep in mind.

One common mistake is setting unrealistic standards. We push ourselves to go to the gym four times a week or study without a break. However, humans are not wired to make such drastic changes overnight. If you want to achieve a major goal, you should start with small steps in the right direction. This way, you can ease yourself into the challenge, rather than jumping into something you are not ready for. Another flaw of setting resolutions is pledging to keep them because they feel like they should do it rather than because they want to. You should not attempt to go on an intense diet if you do not handle dieting well. Instead, you should dive deeper to see why you desire your goal. Once you understand the reasons for doing something, you’ll be able to find a better, more personalized solution. Lastly, you should not create goals on a whim. To decide if you want to change something long-term, you have to go through a lot of decision-making to see if it is right for you. Only after thoughtful reflection and planning can you set a resolution for yourself.

When making your 2024 New Year’s resolutions, don’t forget to go easy on yourself and prioritize quality and consistency over quantity.