Three Reasons Most New Year’s Resolutions Fail

So you're just about to start making some changes — here's how to avoid the mistakes that keep most people from success

Many of us have at least one New Year’s resolution in mind.

However, only about 9.2 percent of us actually achieve what we set out to accomplish.

Related: Stronger Family Connections for a New Year

Everyone undoubtedly has good intentions — but where are the 90 percent of people going wrong on this?

Here are three reasons why most New Year’s resolutions fail. Once you know these mistakes, you can take steps to dodge them and keep yourself on the right path.

1.) Your goal is unrealistic. Many people will either set too many goals, or they’ll set one goal in particular that isn’t realistic.

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Having 20 resolutions, for example, won’t allow you to put the required energy into each objective.

That can set you up for failure.

On the other hand, having one extreme goal without the necessary time to achieve it or checkpoints along the way can leave you with feelings of underachievement, which won’t exactly encourage you to keep going on it.

If you want to make a key change in your life, focus on a few key goals.

Even adding one new healthy habit to your daily routine can help. Keep the idea of achieving your resolution strong in your mind — and to be consistent about achieving it.

2.) You don’t have a plan for achieving your goal. It’s easy to jot down a quick list of things you want to achieve — and it’s a great start.

But you won’t make progress if you haven’t considered how you’re going to get there.

Write down exactly what you’ll do to pursue your resolution. If you want to read more, for example, make a schedule that shows when you will open a book, how often you’ll open the book, and how many pages you’ll read each time.

Be exact. Having a broad resolution to “read more” isn’t specific enough.

Reading a page or two here and there may constitute “reading more,” but most likely it won’t lead to the achievement you had in mind.

3.) You don’t have enough motivation or incentives for achieving your goal. Give yourself something to look forward to when you reach certain milestones during your journey.

Eating healthier and losing weight — the most popular resolution — can be made easier by having specific rewards in mind after you achieve some levels of success. Allow yourself to mark those and celebrate them along the way.

If your resolution is to lose 20 pounds, let’s say, reward yourself at the five-pound, 10-pound, and 15-pound mark with something special (but not an unhealthy dessert!).

Related: If You Think You’re ‘Metabolically Healthy,’ Guess Again

Also, articulate your resolution to others.

Or find a partner to share your journey.

If you’re the only one who knows about your goal, it’s easy to dismiss it when things get bumpy.

Always remember why you’re trying to accomplish your goal. That’s your motivation for pushing on.

Visualizing your desired outcome can be extremely helpful here. Many successful athletes and other professionals practice this habit.

Related: Easy, Genius Ways to Stick to Your Resolutions

As Conor McGregor, the mixed martial artist and boxer, says about this, “If you have a clear picture in your head that something is going to happen and a clear belief that it will happen no matter what, then nothing can stop it. It is destined to happen. It’s perfect.”

This article originally appeared last year in LifeZette and has been updated.

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