25 Scientific Reasons Resolutions Fail

Posted by , Updated on November 24, 2022

It’s that time of year again! Time to make a list of all our New Year’s Resolutions. Over time, making resolutions at this time of year has become somewhat of a joke. People almost seem to set their intentions half-heartedly. However, there are still many of us out there that really really want to succeed. Even still, resolutions fail. Ever wonder why? Here are 25 Scientific Reasons Resolutions Fail.


We take on too much too quickly.


With social media promoting this diet and that exercise regime, we tend to bite off more than we can chew. It pays off in the long run to set realistic goals and then increase them over time.


We don't understand why we set the resolutions.


A big mistake we all make is not writing down clear reasons for our resolutions. When motivation begins to fade, it helps to remember exactly why the struggle is worth it.


We focus on the negative.

weightloss fail

Rather than resolving to get rid of negative things (weight), focus on adding positive things (learning a martial art). Being focused on positive things will help keep your motivation up in the long run.


We're too hard on ourselves.

eating whole cake

A lot of times we lose motivation, break our self-promise not to eat cake, and then give up. Don’t do that. Be easy on yourself. Take a break and get back to your resolution. Your will power will thank you!


Our resolutions aren't SMART.

smart goals

By smart, we mean that they aren’t Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. Make realistic goals that you can achieve, and you’ll go a lot farther.


We have the wrong mindset.


If we’re trying to quit smoking but have a lot of stress at home or work, it can be hard. Try to eliminate negative influences before committing to change.


We don't manage our time well.


We’re all different, so what works for one person might not work for another. But at the end of the day, we all have 24 hours. If you spend too much time on social media, cut it. If you’re wasting time with video games, cut them. If you’re wasting time hanging out, go to bed early (nobody wants to hang out in the morning). Get rid of time drains and prioritize your priorities!


We're alone.

lonely observer

It can be hard to achieve our goals by ourselves. No matter how much you think you’re a lone wolf, humans are social creatures. Nobody changed the world by their lonesome, so seek out somebody that’s moving in your direction!


We have financial restrictions.

empty pockets

Often times we think that in order to do something like lose weight, we need to get an expensive gym membership. This isn’t true. There are usually quite a few less expensive ways to reach our goals if we look hard enough.


We are distracted.


If you want to focus on what you need to do, then eliminate the things you don’t need to do. It all goes back to prioritizing. Anything that doesn’t help you meet your goal is hurting you.


We don't have contingency plans.

contingency plan

When we don’t manage to meet our goals, it can be hard to figure out which way to go, and a strong temptation is to just give up. To avoid dropping your goals or making emotional decisions in the heat of the moment; set up alternative goals that are still challenging and satisfying ahead of time.


We have too many contingency plans.

plan a b and c

Just like it’s possible to not have any back up plans, we can have too many. By creating too many alternatives, we handicap ourselves and potentially create an easy way out of achieving the real goal that we want.


We don't have a plan.

man at planning board

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. The old adage holds true. Many times we’ll set up a resolution but not write down clear steps to achieve it. Be detailed in your approach and don’t leave anything up to chance.


We dwell on our failure.

disappointed man

A big reason we fail to maintain our will power is that we dwell on our failures. This type of negative thinking feeds directly into failure. Rather than focusing on where you fell short, try to find the areas that you succeeded in.


We are impatient.

bored impatient

Nobody achieved their goals over night. It takes time and perseverance, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t see progress right away. Instead of thinking in terms of weeks or months, think years!


We are afraid to fail.

never a failure always a lesson

This is a common form of self-handicapping. If we don’t try, we can’t fail. But…we also can’t succeed. As Thomas Edison said, I didn’t fail 10,000 times, I only found 10,000 ways that don’t work.


We don't think we can do it.


You would be surprised what the human body is capable of when it wants to do something. So no matter how big of an obstacle you have in front of you…take heart! Even the biggest mountains are climbed one step at a time.


We aren't honest with ourselves.


Sometimes we commit to things because society or somebody else tells us we should. That’s not good enough. We need to really want it deep down. So search yourself and figure out what sort of resolutions you are willing to sacrifice for. And then chase those.


We take on too much.

stressed out

Social psychologists believe that willpower is a limited resource. If you are fighting on too many fronts, you may not make much progress anywhere. So choose your battles wisely.


We compare ourselves to others.

compare with others

Quite often we compare ourselves to others, and when they make progress faster…we give up. Stop comparing yourself; we are all unique and have our own struggles and obstacles. Focus on why you want to accomplish your goals.


We see ourselves wrong.

man high esteem

Stop seeing yourself as that person who always got picked last, or the person who just couldn’t sing a note to save their life. How you see yourself will influence what you think is possible. Reframe your perspective. You are now the person who stops at nothing to achieve their goals.


We don't have structure.


This doesn’t mean you have to wake up at 3am everyday, but it does mean you need to be a little boring. Schedule your day beforehand and stop being so spontaneous. Spontaneity has its place (while traveling, frolicking, etc), but when it comes to meeting goals, good old fashioned schedules are the way to go.


We can't say no.

no sign

If you are supposed to practice something and your friend hits you up to go to the beach, your answer will likely determine whether or not you reach your goals. People who are able to say “no, sorry, not today,” are much more likely to move forward with their resolutions.


We don't take responsibility.

no excuses

Change starts and ends with us. Some of us have to reach a bit farther, but if we don’t grab the bull by the horns, nobody is going to do it for us. A lot of times we don’t maintain our resolutions because we blame the outside world for getting us off track. Assume responsibility and pick yourself up!


We focus too much on the end goal.

finish line

Stop comparing yourself to your ideal and start comparing yourself to who you were yesterday. The more you focus on the destination, the harder the journey becomes. Enjoy every little success that you have and you’ll eventually get to where you want to be.

Photo: feature: shutterstock, 25. VectortoonsTime Management CartoonCC BY-SA 4.0, 24. pixabay (public domain), 23-22. shutterstock, 21. pixabay (public domain), 20. Sodanie Chea via flickrCC BY 2.0, 19. pixabay (public domain), 18. Steve Webster via flickr, CC BY 2.0, 17. pixabay (public domain), 16. max pixel (public domain), 15-14. pixabay (public domain), 13-12. pexels (public domain), 11. shutterstock, 10-9. pixabay (public domain), 8. wikimedia commons (public domain), 7. max pixel (public domain), 6-5. shutterstock, 4. Max Pixel (public domain), 3. smlp.co.uk via flickr, CC BY 2.0, 2. pixabay (public domain), 1. 2nd Lt. Kaitlin Daddona via 15wing.af.mil

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