Your New Year’s Resolutions Will Fail.

New Year's Fireworks Display

Forty-seven more days before the year ends! Are you one who writes New Year’s resolutions? Or the one who wings the new year?

Here’s a not-so-shocking New Year’s resolutions statistics you should know: The failure rate of New Year’s resolutions is 80%. People fall off the wagon in the first 30 days of the year.

The question is… Why?

New Year’s Resolutions

Let’s understand what New Year’s resolution is first. As a linguist, I like to use the technical definition of words.

Cambridge Online Dictionary defines New Year’s resolution as: a promise that you make to yourself to start doing something good or stop doing something bad on the first day of the year.

In short, New Year’s resolution is something you start or stop doing. Usually, we start good habits and stop bad habits. You do this because you want to change to become a better person.

The problem is… change is hard, that’s why fulfilling New Year’s Resolutions is hard.

Does it mean you should just wing it?

No. Instead of writing New Year’s resolutions or winging the coming year, why don’t you write goals?

New Year’s Resolutions and New Year Goals: What’s The Difference?

Since I defined New Year’s resolutions, let’s get technical once more and define goals as well. Cambridge online dictionary defines goal as aim or purpose.

You’re not writing down a stop– or start-doing list, but you’re writing the results you want to see.

Is it vague? Then, let’s make it clearer!

Imagine this scenario:

You’re overweight. The nice clothes you bought two years ago no longer fit you.

Your resolutions would be something like this:

1. Exercise 2-3 times a week.

2. Stop eating junk food

3. Start eating healthy.

The list goes on…

Your goal would be something simple like this:

Wear that shirt I wore on our my graduation day.

Which one would you prefer? The one with a list or the one with a statement? I’m not sure about you, but I’m going with the latter one.

As you can see, you’re only tackling one area of life, and you already have a long list!

Imagine this second scenario:

You’re always broke, but you want to prepare for your retirement, so you want to improve your finances.

Your resolutions would be something like this:

1. Stop impulsive online shopping.

2. Stop drinking Starbucks coffee.

3. Stop eating out.

4. Start tracking my money.

The list goes on…

Your goal would be something simple like this:

Have $20,000 in the bank for my retirement fund.

Since you want holistic growth, you’re changing not just one area of life, but the other areas as well: health, fitness, finances, relationships, career and business, spirituality.

If we’re going to put these two scenarios together…

Your New Year’s resolutions would be:

1. Exercise 2-3 times a week.

2. Stop eating junk food

3. Start eating healthy.

4. Stop impulse online shopping.

5. Stop drinking Starbucks coffee.

6. Stop eating out.

7. Start tracking my money.

The list goes on…

Your goals would be…

1. Wear that shirt I wore on our my graduation day.

2. Have $20,000 in the bank (to build my retirement fund).

Now, let me ask you again: Which one would you prefer?

Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

1. You’re too specific and it’s overwhelming.

As shown above, a list of stop doing and start doing is overwhelming. You’re listing a whole lot of things to become a better person. When you have a long list, you fail to track the things you’ve started or stopped doing.

2. Change is hard.

Setting New Year’s resolutions only shows that something is wrong with you and you need to change. New Year’s resolutions don’t reflect what you want. It reflects what’s wrong with you.

3. You don’t have a why for stopping and starting these new habits.

Why do you want to track your expenses? Why do you want to start eating healthy? Why do you want to exercise 2-3 times a week?

If you’re doing these because they’re good habits, then your reason is not enough. You must know the reason. You must know why you.

Turn Your New Year’s Resolutions to Goals NOW

1. Know what you want for the coming year.

If you want holistic growth, then you should be setting goals in each area of life: health & fitness, finances, relationships, career/business, spirituality.


SMART goals may seem overrated, but they’re effective. Your goals should always be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.

3. Don’t work on your goals all at once.

Yes, you have 365 days to work on your goals, but working on them all at once will tire you. Set specific goals for each quarter.

Read the 12 Week Year and try to practice it in your life. Not familiar with the 12 Week Year? The concept is you shorten your 365-year to 12 weeks. Shortening the year to 12 weeks will force you to skip lazy days and stay focused. You can read more about it here.

4. Break down your goals into actionable steps.

It seems similar to writing New Year’s resolutions, but it’s not. How is it different? Well, you know the reason why you’re doing these things. You have an end goal why you want to do these steps.


It’s never too early to prepare for next year. If you want to have a more successful year, go and write your goals now!

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Your New Year’s Resolutions Will Fail.

5 thoughts on “Your New Year’s Resolutions Will Fail.

  1. wow! such a lovely post.
    I don’t want to have new year resolutions but having goals looks like a perfect suggestion.
    thanks for sharing this.

  2. I like having goals versus resolutions. I think everyone will look at this next year differently and perhaps the only resolution will be to enjoy the simple joys in life.

  3. What a great break down of the two. I am one to set goals and I also use affirmations. For me, the two just go hand and hand. I really enjoyed reading your post, thank you for writing it. Have a blessed day~

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