Resolutions Fail. What to do instead

This is the time of year many start to reflect on the year that was and look forward to the year to come. You might choose to set goals, plans, resolutions to make things “better.” One of the most popular goals is to eat healthier or to get “fit.” (https://www.statista.com/chart/26577/us-new-years-resolutions-gcs/) However, year after year, statistics show that 80-90% of resolutions fail.

Here’s something to keep in mind if you set resolutions/goals/aspirations/themes for the year ahead, when or if you fail, it is not a reflection on YOU failing or succeeding but about how you are approaching challenge.

If you look at change as an “outside in” job, for example I’ll be happy when I am more fit, you will most likely not succeed. BUT, if in fact you really really want to change and you work from the “inside out,” you will more than likely meet your outcome.

It’s not about what you do to reach your goals, but from where you start. Unless you change your mind you can’t expect to reach your goals. A new job, car, house, fitness routine nor diet will not change you, but your mind will.

Changing your mind starts with self-discipline. And reaching for goals is about creating new habits that are in line with this new mindset.

Below are ways to reframe your mindset and create steps/habits to reach your goals.

  • Make your goal clear, attainable, positive and meaningful. If you want to eat better, that is a great start, but what does it mean to you? what are some measures you can put into place so you know when you are successful?
  • Start from the end. Who will you become once you reach your goal? What will that person choose to do in this moment or when faced with conflicting priorities? By focusing on this key, change inertia that is inevitable when motivation wanes is easier to overcome.
  • Enhance your capacity, skills, knowledge – make it easier to do and bite off small steps to get there. You might need more expertise in some areas, or outside help from resources and other people.
  • Reduce friction and obstacles that keep you from moving forward. For example, it’s easier to eat better if there are no temptations in the house.
  • Keep the steps forward small. After a year you might be able to cook each meal at home if this is a habit in line with your larger aspiration, but at the beginning, this is most likely not possible if you eat out all the time, so start with one meal and celebrate what you DID do, instead of beating yourself up for what you DID NOT do.
  • Build an outcome that is in line with your values
  • Move forward slowly so that you can prove success to yourself
  • Focus on building habits, not breaking them. The new habits will crowd out the old ones.
  • Make your goal something meaningful to you. Many times, we choose to do things because our neighbor/partner/friend is doing them. Do things that speak to you.
  • Celebrate your progress often. This is not a reward system, nor is it bragging to external parties; this is about doing something in line with your new future self and saying “you go, look at what you just did for that strong healthy person I am becoming.” We change through the positive connection of behavior to how we feel about the behavior.

Change can be hard, but it doesn’t have to be. Let me know how I can help you navigate the changes you want to make.

Curious …  what do you aspire to right now and in your life? Email here to let me know.


I work with mid-life men and women who want to feel younger through improving their relationship to food, movement and mindfulness.

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