Two Reasons Most New Year's Resolutions Fail

Every year, nearly half (45 percent) of the United States population uses New Year's as an opportunity to reflect on shortcomings, hopes for the future, and the relationship between the two. The top New Year's resolutions include (not surprisingly) losing weight, getting organized, spending less/saving more, enjoying life to the fullest, falling in love, and being healthy. However, there are a couple problems with these resolutions that could ultimately have negative repercussions for the resolver.

The Goal Is Not Measurable
In order to determine if a goal is achieved, the goal has to have a measurable end point. Simply vowing to lose weight, spend less, or be healthier will only result in failure. Rather, reframing these resolutions as "Lose five pounds," "Spend twenty dollars less per week," and "Decrease my LDL by three points" will allow the resolver to gauge whether or not they have achieved their goals.

Success Depends On Chance
Resolving to "fall in love" or promising to "spend less" introduces chance into the possibility of failure or success. If one does not meet someone to fall in love with, or if unforeseen expenses result in a higher money outflow, the resolver will experience failure. By vowing to accomplish these goals, they may even feel guilty or hold themselves accountable when the goal is not reached. Rephrasing the resolution as "Begin a new hobby to meet new people," and "Spend twenty dollars less on entertainment per week," the resolver eliminates the role of chance and becomes fully responsible for the success or failure of the resolution.

In the same way that failure can result in low self-esteem, success and goal achievement are linked to feelings of higher self-worth and a brighter outlook on life.