Why New Year’s Resolutions don’t work

We’re just about finished with January and almost everyone has already given up on their New Year’s Resolutions. Whether you made a resolution to eat better, lose weight, read more, go to bed early, etc. most people [80% of us] have already given up on our resolutions.

I think resolutions are funny. I make them, I won’t lie, but year after year we fall short on achieving our New Year’s goals for a variety of reasons. There are simpler ways to reach these goals, but people think just because they write them on their whiteboard above their desk that they will achieve them. Whether you’ve made no progress on your goals or have decided to give up completely, here are a few ways to actually achieve your goals, whether you start today, February 1st, this next Monday, or in 2021.


  1. Set attainable goals: A goal to write a book when you’ve never written more than 5 pages for a school paper is not realistic. Setting smaller, more attainable goals like writing a short story or planning out that novel you’ve dreamt of writing allows you to still make progress on your lifelong dream but they’re less daunting and you can 100% complete them and be happy with your success instead of being upset that you fell short on writing a whole novel.
  2. Don’t make tons of resolutions: The biggest mistake I used to make [2018 Alicia was far too ambitious] was to make 8-15 resolutions for the New Year. I could only focus on one or two of these resolutions and would get disheartened when I would fail the rest even though I was making progress in some areas of my life which was in fact, still progress.
  3. Make a plan on how to achieve these resolutions: Making a resolution to “Go Vegan” is so unrealistic it’s not even funny. I remember when I went vegan, it was hard. I ate fruits, veggies and protein bars [and Chipotle] for the first few months because I had no idea what I was doing. After hours of research about going and eating vegan, I was able to incorporate a variety of vegan foods into my diet. For larger and longer-term goals [getting healthy, learning a new hobby, etc.] you have to research and make a plan to achieve these resolutions if you want them to work out.
  4. Check-in on your goals every so often: Ever two weeks I have an event in my calendar that says “Resolution Check-in” where I look at what I’ve been doing, see if it’s working or not, make changes and sometimes even change the resolution as a whole. You won’t be the same person in March as you were in January and it’s okay to make those changes accordingly.
  5. Realize it’s okay to have setbacks: When you’ve been eating unhealthily or drinking soda or whatever for YEARS, you are going to have a setback or two. Realize that it’s okay. Don’t beat yourself about it and try to not do it the next time you’re tempted.

Finally, remember that completing a New Year’s Resolution doesn’t occur overnight. So many HUGE resolutions will take months if not the entire new year. Take it slow and you can [finally] achieve your New Year’s Resolution[s].

❤ Alicia