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5 ways to make your New Year's Resolutions stick

Do you make New Year's Resolutions? Do they stick? For most people, they don't.

According to clinical psychologist Dr Joseph Luciani, 80% of people have given up on their resolutions by the middle of February.

You step into the new year full of good intentions, goals and ideas of what you're going to achieve, or what bad habits you're going to give up.

For a while you make progress with willpower. But as soon as you get busy, tired, or distracted, your resolutions fall by the wayside. You go back to your old ways.

Why do most resolutions fail? Here are 5 reasons, and how to overcome them:

1. You're not clear on why

If you don't really know why you're doing something, you're likely to give it up. Find your why, and try to go deep. Keep asking yourself why it is important until you get to an emotionally meaningful answer.

E.g., I want to start exercising. Why? Everyone knows intellectually that exercise is good for you and that you should do it, but it provides little motivation.

What will change when you start exercising? What will that allow you to do? How will you feel? Once you find a deeper reason for achieving your goal, it's much easier to stay the course.

Being a fun parent who is able to run around with your kids, or being strong enough to pick up your grandchildren. Getting home after a long day at work and having the energy to spend meaningful time with your partner, or to go out and meet the love of your life. These are the types of things that will give you the motivation to form new habits.

2. Your goals aren't smart

You can't get to your destination if you don't know where you want to go. I'm sure many of you have heard of SMART goals, but I don't know of many people who actually use them.

SMART is an acronym, and is used to clearly define your goals:

Specific - Define exactly what you want to achieve. For example, "getting healthy" is not specific. What does health mean to you? A goal weight? Blood test results in the normal range? Being able to walk a certain distance?

Measurable - Make sure you can actually tell when you've achieved your goal, or are tracking in the right direction.

Achievable - Don't set the bar too high, or you're setting yourself up to fail. It might help to break the goal into smaller ones that you're confident you can reach. As you progress through the smaller steps, each milestone will give you more confidence and motivation to keep going.

Realistic - Some things may be technically achievable but totally unrealistic. Making sure your goals line up with your "why" from above can help keep you focussed on what's really important.

Timely - When do you want to achieve your goal by? Setting a timeframe will also keep you on track, and you can also apply this to any smaller steps.

3. You're doing it alone

Research into health club membership and gym attendance shows that people are much more likely to renew their gym membership if they work out with a friend, or if they participate in group exercises. It's not hard to imagine how having someone else to cheer you on, or to hold you accountable, can help you stick to a new routine or habit.

Find someone else who is trying to achieve similar goals, or form an accountability group. You can meet (online or in person) at regular intervals and share how you're going, and commit to specific actions in between meetings.

4. You haven't fully committed

Similar to the third point, this is taking accountability to the next level. Once you've made a goal, tell everyone you know, with conviction. One of the attributes of most humans is that we don't want to seem flaky to other people. If you've told everyone that you're going to run a half-marathon in 3 months' time, no doubt you'll be asked about it regularly. The thought of feeling embarrassed to tell them that you gave up is another motivator to keep going.

5. Your goals don't fit your identity

Even if you've implemented all of the above, it can still be difficult to achieve your goals.

This is because none of those methods address the underlying beliefs and programs that determine your thoughts, behaviours and habits. This is the domain of the subconscious.

12% of people who join the gym in January quit before the end of February, and that number rises to 80% five months later. One of the top reasons that people stop going is that they feel out of place at the gym. They don't see themselves as "gym people". Their identity is conflicting with their goal.

The underlying belief that often comes up in people who try to quit smoking is the belief, the identity, that "I am a smoker". There are all sorts of limiting beliefs that stop us from getting what we want, and sabotage our efforts to get ahead.

A possible source of self-sabotage in business or career goals is the belief that "If my business/career takes off I won't have time for my friends and family".

Dr Luciani thinks that failure to stick to your resolutions all boils down to a lack of self-discipline. Apparently, we just aren't trying hard enough. But it doesn't have to be, and shouldn't be, so hard to improve your life and create healthy habits. It's just that most people are trying to change their actions without changing the underlying beliefs. And that's a constant uphill battle.

PSYCH-K® is a set of processes that allow you to directly communicate with your subconscious mind. It's a quick, simple and effective way to remove the roadblocks to your goals. When you change your subconscious beliefs and automatic programs to support your goals, things start to come naturally.

What if you went to the gym and felt right at home? What if it was fun?

What if you were a morning person?

What if change was easy?

What if success brought more free time?

What if you were a healthy, relaxed and happy person?

"Don't shrink what's possible to fit your mind. Expand your mind to fit what's possible." - Jim Kwik

If you can imagine it, it's possible. And PSYCH-K® is one of the tools that can make it happen.

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