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The Shocking Truth about New Year’s Resolutions

Imagine if New Year's resolutions 2012you will, all those dreams that you have for yourself that you have bundled up neatly in a pack of New Year’s resolutions.

That’s right, the ones that you keep by your bedside table, or by your computer monitor on a yellow sticky post it note. . .or maybe it is on your bathroom mirror so that you can affirm it morning and night.

Are You Doomed To Fail at Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions?

78 % of people, according to a study done by Richard Wiseman at the University of Hertfordshire, FAIL at keeping their New Year’s resolutions or goals.This statistic surprised me!

I knew the failure rate was high for goals that we set at the beginning of the year but I did not know it was this high! Hmmm. . .really steep number there.

Want to know how you can beat the odds?  Keep reading. . .let’s see if we can figure this one out, shall we?

Avoid These Mistakes When You Make Your Goals (at Any Time)

Perhaps the problem is not in the making of goals at the beginning of the year, but of choosing a goal that is culturally acceptable and not one that you really, really want.  Let’s take Ann for an example.

She is a 42 year old mother of three who is 35 pounds overweight. At the fresh start of a year, Ann typically makes a New Year’s resolution to kick those 35 pounds to the curb.

She invests in a piece of exercise equipment and a shiny new diet plan. Ann kicks things into high gear by throwing out all of the yummy fare left over from the feasts of the holidays and she feels a sense of power as she does it.

Eventually, the equipment will be her clothes hanger, sitting forlornly in the corner of her bedroom; but her hopes are high as she plunks down her credit card for 5 easy payments and the promise of a svelte new her.

Ann posts affirmations all over the house and vows that this will be the year that she gets it done. Two weeks later, Ann is sneaking off to the local coffee shop for doughnuts in the middle of the day, the new diet all but forgotten.

Guilt eats at her as she throws back the last crumbs of her ill gotten snack.  She slinks back home and sees the shiny exercise equipment sitting in the corner, her bathrobe slung over it.  

Inside, she is screaming at herself, telling herself how weak she is and how everyone else is a success, except for her. . .does any of this sound familiar?

What is Wrong With this Picture?

Let’s rewind the film for a moment.  Ann has focused on the symptom, not the actual problem. She has seen the extra poundage, labeled it the enemy and gone to war.  It is admirable in one way. . .

. . .except that she is going through the motions and thinks she SHOULD go after this particular goal.

Ann is a woman who takes care of her husband, her children, does more than her share of work at her job, and is a volunteer on two committees in her community.  

She is in a state of chronic sleep deprivation and can’t remember the last time she just sat down and read a book for pleasure or had a hot bubble bath in a quiet, candle lit bathroom.

Underneath her picking this particular goal is the belief “I am not good enough. In order to be accepted, I must change.  I am not acceptable the way that I am”.

She is NOT making a resolution from a position of power. “I love myself; therefore, I set a goal to release 35 pounds in order to honor my core value of health.”

What Lies Beneath New Year’s Resolutions that Fail

  • Limiting beliefs, like our friend Ann had
  • Feeling like you “have to” do it, a sense of obligation that comes from outside of you, an external authority
  • Choosing a goal that you does not inspire you, that does not set a light inside of you, even a small one
  • Picking a goal that is overwhelming or too far in the future so that it seems unreachable

The only two reasons people take action are to avoid pain or to increase pleasure.  See where you are coming from.  Are you moving towards a goal or are you moving away from a negatively perceived situation?

If and When You Decide To Pick a Goal to Go After

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Why this goal?  
  • Is it in line with your core values?
  • Is it for you, only?  That is, are you the only one who determines the outcome, it is not dependent on the actions of others. . .
  • Do you really want it?  

2013 New Year’s: 7 Steps to Doing Resolutions Differently

  1. Catch a vision of what your future would look like if you actually accomplished the goal
  2. If you can’t see it or it doesn’t feel right to you, then it is time to clear out and toss any negative beliefs surrounding that particular goal
  3. Clarify the goal; be very, very specific in your language
  4. Break your goal into easy,manageable chunks (start with a small goal so that you will trust yourself to accomplish it.  Establishing trust with yourself and knowing that you can depend on you will lead to great things.)
  5. Make a decision that you will accomplish it 
  6. Allow yourself to accomplish it, give yourself permission to succeed
  7. See your goals accomplished as if now

It is important to dream big and perhaps for you, you can. However, if you have made BIG goals in the past and failed to follow through on them, there is a little part of you that might be whispering in your ear, expecting you to fail.

Start small, uncover the negative beliefs, kick them to the curb and build on small successes.  Then your dreams will expand to grow bigger and bigger, just like that.

We all make goals and resolutions, some just happen to be at the beginning of a New Year. . .it symbolizes a clean slate for us, a time of renewal.  You can even decide to not make resolutions at New Year’s. . .there is nothing wrong with that!

Here is to a 2013 filled with your success and prosperity and resolutions that you can love and accomplish! If you do choose to make your resolutions and goals now, become a part of the 22 % who do succeed! Give yourself that gift, you deserve it, you know. . .

“Drive your own life. . .you deserve to, don’t you?” Sherie Venner

**Photo credit:  Frapestaartje (Creative Commons)

Update: This post was originally published in 2011 for the 2012 New Year. I have changed the date because the principles remain the same, this year! : D

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I am a Relationship Coach who helps others create happy, healthy, loving relationships…including the relationship they have with themselves…by breaking through those blocks and barriers to success. I use various techniques gathered through training as a Master Practitioner of NLP, timeline, hypnosis and common sense gathered through life experience.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Lorii Abela January 24, 2013, 7:53 am

    Always great tips and advise, Sherie. Your passion on helping people shows on every article you create. I love the part where I need to start small to start small successes until it become bigger and bigger.

  • Jennifer January 7, 2013, 4:11 am

    Such great advice Sherie! I’m actually surprised that the figure isn’t higher than 78%. People who make New Year’s Resolutions are almost bound to fail because, as you say, they’re only making them because they think they’re suppose to. It’s nice to map out your year at the beginning, but you need to be making quarterly, monthly, weekly and daily goals consistently if you really want to change something in your life. Thanks for putting this out there, it gives so many people a real chance at making and meeting goals this year!
    Jennifer recently posted..Is Your Social Media Strategy a Waste of Time?My Profile

    • Sherie January 7, 2013, 6:26 am

      Jennifer, love your insights! Yes, there needs to be evaluation points during the year and corrections made if you are off course. I appreciate your kind words, thank you. Wishing you an amazing New Year!
      Sherie recently posted..Comparing Yourself to Other People? Stop!My Profile

  • Carl Mason-Liebenberg January 3, 2013, 6:21 am

    WOW…what a value packed article. I agree with Marie…has to be the BEST resolutions article I have ever read! Been talking a lot on this subject in my biz relating to health and wellness resolutions…WHY and Action being the keys I have focused on…
    Carl Mason-Liebenberg recently posted..Turning Adversity into SuccessMy Profile

  • Marie Leslie January 2, 2013, 8:02 am

    This is absolutely the BEST New Year’s resolution article I have read, Sherie. You really have focused on the heart of the matter instead of just telling us what we should be doing this year or why we won’t be achieving our goals. Your seven steps are spot-on and I especially love #2. It has to be what WE really want or it’s just never going to fly. Thank you, thank you. I will definitely be sharing this.
    Marie Leslie recently posted..Five Things You Can Do Today to Improve Your BusinessMy Profile

  • D. Takara Shelor January 2, 2013, 6:13 am

    LOVE the article Sherie! I am also quite passionate about helping people deal with their underlying beliefs. You’ve done a fabulous job of pointing the need out to people. Great perspective on goals and why they sometimes don’t get accomplished.
    D. Takara Shelor recently posted..You Can Be MagnificentMy Profile

  • Courtney Kountz January 1, 2013, 8:21 pm

    This is fantastic!!! You can tell how passionate you are about this! I love the idea of recognizing the core value, not the symptom. I am a behavioral health therapist and can relate to this when I work with my patients! Thank you for stating it how you did!!

  • denny hagel January 1, 2013, 7:44 pm

    This is an incredible article Sherrie that provides real tools to successfully make changes in our lives…rather than just making another resolution that falls away in a short time. Excellent job!
    denny hagel recently posted..Traditions How They Impact Your Child’s Self-esteemMy Profile

  • Norma Doiron January 1, 2013, 7:07 pm

    Wowsers! Fabulous article, Sherie! What a perspective, so the truth: “focused on the symptom, not the problem.” It really does come down to how bad we want it…
    Norma Doiron recently posted..What’s LUV Got To Do, Got To Do With ItMy Profile

  • jean January 1, 2013, 4:49 pm

    Great article Sherie. Loved the example of Ann and why we have so much trouble maintaining our New Years resolutions.
    jean recently posted..The Best Ways to Deal with FamilyMy Profile

  • Susan Myers January 1, 2013, 2:57 pm

    Wow, thanks so much for putting it into perspective for me! It really hit me when you said: “Ann focused on the symptom, not the actual problem.” I get it. Great new way of looking at things (including my own weight loss issues!)
    Susan Myers recently posted..Instead Of A New Year’s ResolutionMy Profile

    • Sherie January 1, 2013, 4:21 pm

      I am so glad that you caught that, Susan! When we change perspective and catch a glimpse of the situation in a different light, it can be quite powerful, can’t it? Thanks so much for commenting!
      Sherie recently posted..The Shocking Truth about New Year’s ResolutionsMy Profile

  • Alyssa January 1, 2013, 12:50 pm

    I’m definitely alot like Ann. I say I let my eyes outweigh my stomach, much like I used to do as a kid at a buffet. Ha!
    Alyssa recently posted..New Year, New GoalsMy Profile

  • Gary Hyman January 1, 2013, 12:35 pm

    I believe many people can relate to exactly what you are saying. I believe the resolutions to not materialize because a) They are not realistic b) They are not reachable and c) We do not give ourselves a pat on the back for progress. I love that you mention “Catch a vision of what your future would look like if you actually accomplished the goal” and “Clarify the goal; be very, very specific in your language”. In fact all 7 points you mention are excellent. Have an excellent 2013!
    Gary Hyman recently posted..Why Your Facebook Profile Is Bad For Your Business: What To Do To Fix It.My Profile

  • Alexandra McAllister January 1, 2013, 11:11 am

    Such a fabulous article, Sherie! “7 Steps to Doing Resolutions Differently” is packed with great tips! Thank you! Happy New Year!
    Alexandra McAllister recently posted..Would You Be Able To Hold Your Breath For 17 Minutes?My Profile

  • Susan Preston December 31, 2011, 9:28 pm

    Great article, Sherie. I loved in particular when you wrote, “Start small, uncover the negative beliefs, kick them to the curb and build on small successes. Then your dreams will expand to grow bigger and bigger, just like that.” It’s so important to uncover the negative beliefs for if one doesn’t it is impossible to have any sustain long term success. Building on small successes is a wonderful way to achieve goals, I do it that way. Thank you for sharing your wisdom. Happy New Year [hugs}

    • Sherie December 31, 2011, 10:41 pm

      Thank you very much, Susan, for your lovely comment! Yes, it is critical to uncover the negative beliefs and get rid of them! Happy New Year and hugs to you, too!

  • tracy December 30, 2011, 2:23 pm

    Love your post, I’ll be making resolutions this year.. I NOW have a plan. 🙂

    • Sherie December 30, 2011, 3:20 pm

      Love it, Tracy!! Thanks for your comment!

  • Tara December 30, 2011, 6:52 am

    Great article. It’s such a shame that resolutions fail. People get so excited, imagining the promise of a new ‘lifestyle’ then everything drops and falls.
    Such a disappointment. I totally agree with making smaller manageable chunks and then slowly moving forward.

    • Sherie December 30, 2011, 10:18 am

      Tara, thank you so much for your comment! Yes, smaller manageable chunks make goals so much more doable!

  • Lorrie December 30, 2011, 6:23 am

    Great insights and advice. I use PowerPoint as a tool for vision mapping and add music to the presentation. Then, as frequently as I want/need to review my vision I just click through the slides and bop along to the music. It IS better to feel good about our goals rather than take them on like a good soldier.

    • Sherie December 30, 2011, 10:17 am

      Power Point? Lorrie, what a great idea to use that for vision mapping! If we don’t feel good about our goals, it is almost impossible to achieve them with any lasting success! Thank you for your comment and insights, Lorrie!

  • Rhonda Uretzky December 29, 2011, 10:59 am

    I read that a full 88% of all New Years Resolutions are kaput by the following year….I love your advice to “catch a glimpse” of yourself with your Resolution completed. If that could be what you see each morning in the mirror, more people would thrive on their resolutions!

    • Sherie December 29, 2011, 11:09 am

      88%. . .that is a lot. . .Thank you, Rhonda, for your comment! Yes, if you “catch a glimpse”, it is very powerful. : D

  • Lorii Abela December 29, 2011, 9:53 am

    Another great article Sherie!.. One thing that I love in this article is the line “Do you really want it?” Some of us, I really believe some really do, makes resolutions for the sake of having some because it’s a new year. That’s why in making this resolutions come true, they find it really hard to accomplish.
    I will definitely share this article for I find it very helpful especially that 2012 is coming near. This is really great post…

    • Sherie December 29, 2011, 11:07 am

      Thank you, Lorii!! : D I really appreciate that you want to share the article! Yes, asking the right questions, like “Do you really want it”, are essential to knowing yourself and achieving the results you want.

  • Carrie Raab December 28, 2011, 12:40 pm

    Another great post on resolutions! What struck me the most in your article was your question, “Do you really want it?” I believe this is a question we must really ask our self! I think many goals for the new year are driven by other people’s goals and desires and b/c they are “good” goals, we want to do them too. We must be true to our selves and achieve the goals we truly want to achieve. Once you set your mind to do it, you will achieve it! Great wisdom! Have a blessed New Year! 🙂

    • Sherie December 28, 2011, 5:27 pm

      Carrie, thank you very much! I think we forget to ask ourselves whether we want the goal or not and rely too much on other people’s opinions, so it is critical to ask it. Being true to our selves will open so many more doors to the goals that we really want to achieve. Thank you so much for your comment and have yourself a fantastic New Year!

  • Lisa Birnesser December 28, 2011, 12:36 pm

    Really great article, Sherie! Yes, Ann is a popular girl. The core values have to be explored or they keep playing out over and over in many life roles. People pleasing is an endless task and never really deals with the true problem of feeling enough. Love this!

    • Sherie December 28, 2011, 5:29 pm

      Thank you, Lisa, I appreciate your comment so much! Finding out what your core values are is so important in so many areas. This and knowing what the root issue is clears the path for a lot of people! : D

  • Rob Hodgins December 27, 2011, 2:42 pm

    “Catch a vision of what your future would look like if you actually accomplished the goal”
    That’s the key. A person must be able to “see” it before they can believe it.

    • Sherie December 27, 2011, 3:07 pm

      You’ve hit the nail on the head, there, Rob! Exactly! Thank you for your comment!

  • Eva Blaskovic December 26, 2011, 5:08 pm

    “Ann is a woman who takes care of her husband, her children, does more than her share of work at her job, and is a volunteer on two committees in her community. She is in a state of chronic sleep deprivation…”

    Many of us know an Ann, or maybe even are one. Not only is Ann so busy giving to others that she has little time for herself, but chronic sleep deprivation is known to cause metabolic changes that manifest in weight gain and prevent pounds from shedding off. Add to that the stress hormone cortisol, which is also responsible for weight gain, and you have a nasty mix. (Sleep deprivation is a form of stress also.) Ann needs to appreciate herself for the wonderful person she is and all the selfless things she does. The rest of us need to appreciate Ann as well. Perhaps a more appropriate resolution for Ann is to allow more time for herself.

    • Sherie December 26, 2011, 6:39 pm

      We know lots of Anns. . .it is a very common problem for the women of the world, lack of self care. Yes, she does need to allow time for herself. Thanks so much for your very insightful comment, Eva.

  • Eva Blaskovic December 26, 2011, 4:53 pm

    Fantastic article, Sherie! I think this message needs to be heard by many people. You’ve given a great scenario of why resolutions fail, and then you’ve offered us an alternative, a more successful way of going about making a resolution.

    • Sherie December 26, 2011, 6:40 pm

      Thank you, Eva! : D My wish is that it helps. . .