The Secret to Actually Keeping New Year’s Resolutions

New Year’s is the grown-up version of back-to-school. They both have the same fresh start vibe. Now is the time to reset and think about what you want to accomplish in the next 365 days. 

Maybe your goals are centered around getting healthier, the most popular resolutions Americans made in 2022. Or perhaps your goals are more career-oriented, such as having more virtual meetings with people in your field that you admire or mentoring recent grads from your university. Or, maybe this year, your resolutions are centered around self-care, such as finally taking that music class you’ve been thinking about or setting better boundaries between work and home.

Having goals is motivating. But here’s the thing about New Year’s resolutions: Often, we fail at keeping them. About 30 percent of people fail their resolution just two weeks after making it. By the end of January, 36 percent of people give up. Six months into the year, that number increases to 44 percent. Considering the inverse of these statistics is more encouraging: Fifty-six percent of people are still succeeding at keeping their New Year’s resolutions six months into the year. Want to make sure you end up as part of that 56 percent? Psychologists have some advice.

Related: Let’s Kick Off the New Year Right—Here Are 55 New Year’s Resolution Ideas for 2023

Why New Year’s Resolutions Are So Easy To Fail

According to licensed psychologist and wellness coach Dr. Melissa Ming Foynes, PhD, there are several key reasons why so many people struggle to keep their New Year’s resolutions. One is being unrealistic about what’s actually attainable long-term. “The end of the year is a natural time of transition in which we tend to reflect on what we’d like to retain or continue into the next year, and what we’d like to shed, let go of, or change. Because many people around us are also engaging in a similar form of reflection, it can give us a sense of increased momentum or motivation that empowers us to set intentions or make resolutions for the next year,” Dr. Foynes says. “While that kind of communal solidarity and inspiration can be helpful, it can also create pressure, leading us to be overly ambitious about what we can realistically accomplish given the parameters of our lives.”

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