The new year is here, and so are your new year’s resolutions. Everywhere people look to improve something about their lives. Some of the programs are health-oriented and aesthetic like changing the diet and beginning the fitness program, and many focus on connecting. However, the majority are likely to fail. Under half of all resolvers have achieved their goals within six months of signing their resolutions. Let’s take a look at why New Years Resolutions don’t work and 4 things you can do about it.

What is a New Year’s resolution?

Goals at the new year are a common tradition in which individuals make the necessary changes that improve the quality of their lives. Typically, this pledge revolves around health, money, and the connection to others. Harris Interactive’s latest poll showed that 21% were determined to lose weight, 16% pledged to increase their financial situation, and 5% devoted their time toward improving relationships. New year’s goals could mean anything changes with beneficial results. For example, “I’m gonna eat more veggies.” To “I will volunteer at least one day.” Norcross says this has historic origins.

John Norcross, a professor of psychology at the University of Scranton, found that nearly 25% of people abandoned their goal after one week. That number doubled to 46% after a month and 64% after six months.

I think it’s safe to assume that when you make goals, you have the best of intentions, but these timely ambitions seldom achieve their objectives. They provide only a superficial fix and don’t truly improve your life in the long run as intended.

What are the 3 most common reasons why New Year’s resolutions don’t work?

1. New Years Resolutions are arbitrary. You often start by setting unrealistic resolutions that seem like a good idea at the time but fail to consider what will happen if you don’t keep them.

2. New Year resolutions rely on willpower and motivation, which eventually wanes over time. It can take one to six weeks between starting and giving up on your aspirations.

3. New Year Resolutions create an all-or-nothing mindset. The minute you drop off from being consistent, you throw in the towel.

In addition, there are more reasons why your new year’s resolutions usually don’t work.

Do you make a plan?

Your goal will not happen without a plan. Because if you want the best out of yourself, you must plan what you want to achieve, and what obstacles are there.

Do you consider what you have to give up?

Everyone needs to stop doing something. But often you simply focus on what you gain and don’t consider what you left behind. For example, the 3-day workout may be less time for the whole family, or less time watching your favorite TV show in the evening. Are you ready for that tradeoff? In the same fashion, sticking to budgets will result in less impulse buying. This could make all the difference in being able to achieve your intention.

Have you picked an appropriate resolution?

You will have your best chances of succeeding in achieving your goals if your resolution is attainable. When you establish excessively difficult objectives, you will end up frustrated and give up. Goals and targets that are achievable and realistic will increase your chances of success.

Are you ready to change?

Be honest with yourself, are you ready for change and the sacrifice it entails? You may say you want to change but are you ready to do what it takes? Often past failures dictate future success. We tend to avoid the chance of failure or pain at all costs. Often, the minute your resolution gets uncomfortable, you may give up.

Are you overconfident?

Overconfidence can get in your way of accomplishing your goals. Let’s face it, changes are challenging. Often your goals are not reached right away. Resolutions rarely satisfy your need for instant gratification.

So be realistic and be humble along the way. Everyone has limits and you are no different. Your limits don’t make you weak. They make you work within your limits so that you can be successful.

If New Year’s resolutions fail often, why do you still want to make them?

New Years Resolutions serve a psychological purpose. They allow you to reflect on the past year and prepare for a better year ahead. Also, they serve as a form of motivation so you can feel inspired.

Many people fall into this category. New Year’s resolutions are motivating because they provide a starting date; a way to start fresh and feel excited to engage in new activities.

Sadly, resolutions are a setup for failure, maybe even permanent failure. But I’m not saying to give up on them. I’m simply encouraging you to approach your resolutions with a new mindset so that you can feel empowered and be successful.

What can you do instead of New Year’s resolutions?

1.Take it one month at a time.

Prepare ahead of time. You can do a weekly or fortnightly review. Then, at the end of each month, take some time to plan for the next. Before the month begins, consider carefully your intentions for that month so you can succeed in attaining your objectives. Be willing to adjust and adapt each month as needed.

2.See your resolutions as a journey, not a final destination.

Success is not a one-time deal; it’s an ongoing process that requires hard work, perseverance, and grace. Don’t expect instant gratification. Instead, things like diets and exercise routines take time to evolve into permanent changes in your life.

3. New Year resolutions are about who you want to become.

Make New Year’s resolutions part of your lifestyle. You’ll have a better chance of sticking to promises if they’re something you want to do all year long rather than just a quick fix. Becoming the person you want does not happen overnight. Any small changes you make in your life are one step closer to who you want to be.

4. Let New Year resolutions be New Year’s intentions.

Start the New Year with intention and with purpose, not New Year’s resolutions. For example, let your New Year’s resolve stem from an overall desire to love and accept yourself vs trying to change who you are to fit some type of societal norm. When resolutions come from that pressure for your future self to “fit in”, it usually leads to feelings of worthlessness and failure.

New Year’s resolutions are often touted as the ultimate way to achieve your goals in the new year.

But, when you take a closer look at what it takes to fulfill resolutions, it becomes clear that they don’t work for many people. What if there was another approach? Practice these new mindsets instead and see how much better you will feel in 6 months.

Lesley Goth, PsyD is a health coach specializing in helping women achieve sustainable weight loss. You can register for Lesley’s free online masterclass where you learn how to have a healthy relationship with food and your body. For more information, you can contact Lesley here.