Why Your New Years Resolutions Never Work (and how to fix it)

If you are like me, life is just now calming down after the holiday season. Here I am on January 4th finally talking about new years resolutions. I am already being bombarded on social media with the “new year, new you” and I am going to be such a negative Nancy today.


I  would like to talk about why resolutions don’t work.  I mean how many people did you talk to at holiday parties this year who said they “kept their resolutions from the year”?

In this post I am going to dive into some common mistakes people make in their new years resolutions and then lets talk about what actually works. Lets make the shift from failed resolutions to goal setting and then find a way to get there.

New Years Resolution Mistake #1- You bought what they were selling

There is the brutal truth about new years that needs to spoken about. A lot of people have a lot of money to make off of your new years resolution. Most of us just spent the last 2 weeks indulging, resting, and consuming. The issue is that instead of viewing this time as a well deserved break, the holidays become a season that needs to be detoxed from.

Why can’t we just enjoy a season without the guilt and shame attached?

The gym memberships, health supplements, and fancy detoxes have a lot of money to make off of your guilt and shame. If your new years resolution is costing you a lot of money, it maybe a sign that you have bought into the consumerism of the new year. It is not a service or a products job to make your resolution for you. The magic of consumerism fades.

New Years Resolution Mistake #2- You use resolutions to solve your problems

Here we go ya’ll. I will shout this from the mountain tops until my dying day…


Loosing weight will not solve your problems. I pick on the weight loss goal for the new years resolution because it is simply the most common, but this works in so many other resolutions.


(Thats a good one too.)

We like to attach so many of our issues in life to these common goals. Why? Well, we live in a world that tells us to. We live in a world that thinks thin bodies and a loaded bank account is the key to happiness.

What happens when you hit a road block to your resolution… you get injured so you can’t go the gym for a few weeks. You don’t reach the number of clients you wanted. But if those 10 pounds were the key to your happiness, are you doomed for misery the rest of 2019?

How do you know if you are attaching too much to your 2019 goals/ resolutions?

Ask yourself why are you setting the goals you are setting? “If I can just loose 10 pounds then I will have self confidence” or “If I can make more money then my marriage will be better” . This type of thinking is a red flag that maybe you need to re evaluate your resolution.


Tools for Effective Goal Setting

I promise I won’t leave you hanging here. Take a minute to really sit and reflect on your resolution and ask WHY is this my resolution?

Here are some guiding questions for your reflection:

  • What do I want to learn more about in 2019?
  • What areas in my life should I focus on more this year?
  • What did I do well in 2018? How can I build on that growth?
  • What did I struggle with in 2018? How can I make changes that may help?

I like these reflection questions because it makes you think forward. You think about building on something that already exists. It isn’t fixing a problem or starting from scratch, but expanding your knowledge, learning from past experiences (heck, even failures), and continuing on a journey in the direction YOU choose.

Make it Work

Once you have reflected on these questions, try to start formulating goals for yourself for 2019. The key here is to set measurable and attainable goals. If you set a goal to “be happier”, how on earth are you going to know if you have accomplished this goal? Think specifically, perhaps your goal is to actually spend more time with loved ones because that is what adds value to your life and makes you happy.

The next step is vital to actually accomplishing your goals. Don’t skip this step! Now you must figure out how to get there.

Grab a piece of paper. Physically write down your goals for 2019. Underneath each goal write down some stepping stones or smaller goals that will help you accomplish the big goal. Example:

Spend more time with loved ones-

  • put phone away during family time
  • set aside one day a month for date night
  • call my mom once a week
  • host 3 girls nights this year

You can brainstorm and some of these things may seem small and insignificant but write it down. I have a personal goal to attend a training this year, so one of my smaller goals is to literally to look online to find a training nearby, but that is the first step to attending the training. Am I right?

Once you have these lists, place them somewhere visible. On your desk, in your planner, on the fridge, anywhere you are likely to see it while planning your week, or day. Try to incorporate some of the smaller goals each week. As you begin to accomplish these smaller goals, you will soon realize that the big goal is much closer to being accomplished than you thought. There is no more “falling off the bandwagon” or ruining your resolution because you have the roadmap in front of you. You have given yourself various ways to become successful and you are building off of your past success.

Happy reflecting and happy goal setting! I would love to hear some of your goals for 2019. Leave them in a comment below and share how you plan to accomplish it!

Download your free goal setting PDF.

If you want to work more on goal setting, book a session with me today!

About the author:<br><a href="https://ashleyrodrigueswellness.com/about-ashley/"><span class="uppercase">A</span>shley Rodrigues</a>, Therapist
About the author:
Ashley Rodrigues, Therapist

Ashley is a licensed mental health therapist and life coach practicing in Denver, CO. She specializes in perinatal mental health and working with women as they navigate the journey of growing their families.

Ashley works with clients virtually worldwide, Fill out the contact form to learn more about working with Ashley. For urgent support use the Postpartum Support International Hotline and for crisis please dial your local emergency line.

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