New Year Resolutions Don't Work

Comments (20)

Recently a reporter from an East Coast newspaper asked me a couple of questions about New Year's Resolutions. Here are my answers to these two questions to help us all better understand how our immunity to change takes our attention away from following through on those New Year intentions.

1. What are the main reasons why most people's new year resolutions fail, and what can they do to insure success?

a. People have competing commitments driven by deeply protected and differing assumptions and beliefs. These competing commitments pull them in opposite directions and cause them to spend a great deal of energy attempting to satisfy each. Examples: I am going to lose 20lbs but I love to eat and drink...or...I am going to change careers/start a new business but I really like the security of the paycheck I get from the job I tolerate today.

b. Most people don't respect their strong immunity to change and, therefore, don't develop the support systems necessary to overcome this powerful and dynamic equilibrium to stay the same. However, there is untapped energy to be found if we can become less embedded in our immune system that protects us from change.

c. They don't give their brain enough time and energy to relearn deeply ingrained habits by developing and following a goal-achieving plan through personal determination, practice, repetition and the support of others.

2. Why do most people have to reach a crisis point before they realize it's time for a change?

Most people feel they need a change but have a difficult time articulating/envisioning what that change looks like and how to plan to make it real. Developing the ability to respond to unpredictable change is very hard for most people. Some people are afraid to develop approaches to move from the more comfortable status quo. Learning to take risks by starting with small projects (where the impact of failure is not excessive) is a good approach to overcome this lack of initiative.

Many need more than self-help books to move forward. Taking personal initiative to generate innovative ideas and solutions to problems can require support in the form of a mentor or coach who guides us in handling important but not yet urgent issues. When we talk to others, in a safe environment, about the impending change, we reach clarity on what we must do to move forward. Building one's capability to accept and effectively handle change can release energy spent in worry and transform it into focused action.

For more information, go to: coachthee/Archives/5DayNewHabitProgram.html

About the Author

John G. Agno is a certified executive and business coach. He is founder of the Coach to Coach Network, a virtual peer-to-peer community of 900 personal and business coaches worldwide.


Sweet Disposition 01.01.2009. 01:54

How can you motivate yourself and be sure to accomplish your New Year Resolutions or Goals for the New Year? Every year everyone has at least one thing to accomplish or do better for the New Year. So, how can you motivate yourself and be sure to accomplish your New Year Resolutions or goals for the New Year? Happy New Years!! :)

~Nature's Way~

Sweet Disposition

Admin 01.01.2009. 01:54

To me it's just will. I mean I've heard of New Year Resolutions all my life and I always thought they were pointless.

Then it just came a day when I'm like, "I want....a change." I definitely wasn't happy, so why didn't I have plans to do something about it? Who knows, maybe it was that scene in Forrest Gump where the hooker/slut says "Don't you just love the New Years? Everyone gets second chances."

Or something like that, my memory's fuzzy. It's just a personal reason for everyone. If you give up, I suppose it's just because u dont' want it enough.


Gena Smith 29.12.2012. 10:49

What do you want for New Year Day and what is your New Year Resolutions? If you don't have any new year resolutions, why and if you could what would you want?

I want look healthy and my family to be healthy!

Gena Smith

Admin 29.12.2012. 10:49

I don't make new year's resolutions. I set and achieve goals all throughout the year. It's all about making habits. It takes about 21 days to begin to start making a habit stick. It becomes automatic around 30 days. Try it!


Suntech Guru 30.12.2010. 11:18

What are the ideas that can help me in fulfill my new year resolutions.? What are the ideas that can help me in fulfill my new year resolutions like quit some habits and some other things cos im just having a kind of feelings that i won't i just don't know where those feelings are coming from.

Suntech Guru

Admin 30.12.2010. 11:18

Some things you can focus on when choosing new years revolutions might be everyday life such as having a nicer attitude or maybe not letting people walk over you. You can also (if you're still in school) focus on maybe improving your test scores. Maybe you can get a new wardrobe & get a fresh clean new start. Hope I helped out a little. Sorry if it's not a lot of ideas. (x


stella 10 26.12.2009. 12:23

How do you choose a new year resolution? I have to choose from about a dozen new year resolutions and have the job of finding the most important one since I intend to concentrate my energy on just one.

stella 10

Admin 26.12.2009. 12:23

Pick the one that will have the most impact on your life *and* others that you affect.


corrinne 04.01.2011. 13:24

The New Year Resolutions: Things never work out the why you planned, so how do you cope with change? It is that time of year, new year resolutions are being made, the new you is envisioned in your head, but how is the best way to change? Is it little steps or plunge in at the deep end? How do you cope with making changes? Or is the new year just too much pressure to make the changes and best to wait until another time?


Admin 04.01.2011. 13:24

I have had a lot of experience with making and meeting goals. Here is what I do, I type up each of my goals in excel. I leave about 3 cells next to each goal where I can type in my progress. I can't lie to myself. And this holds me accountable to check my progress each week or month. So, list each goal going down the side on your spreadsheet. Then leave room for progress notes. You MUST have your list out daily. Then, make your to do list based on anything you need to do on your goal list. Each night, you need to plan your day or if you prefer in the morning. Write out all of the things you want to accomplish each day. Don't over do it or you'll get burned out. I usually accomplish 3 things each day, more if you can. That could be an important phone call, typing up resume, going to apply somewhere get the idea. Those little steps add up to meeting the goal. And MOST DEFINITELY take things a step at a time. I used this system to go back to college. And, I don't think I could have done it if I had felt overwhelmed by just how many classes I needed to take. I didn't focus on that. I took things a step at a time, going to community college, applying to the university. Getting accepted, register for classes. Do well in my 5 classes, register for the next semester etc.... I also kept a seperate goal sheet to keep track of my met goals - I called this accomplishments. I left unmet goals in white and shaded met goals in blue. It was so cool to move from all white to all blue over a period of 3 years. So, TAKE IT SLOW. Don't worry about how quickly you get there. But, I do recommend check points so that you can see your progress. For example, my next goal is to get in shape. And, I won't even weigh myself or look in the mirror until MAY 2011. I just do my daily exercises and forget about it. But in May, that is when I had better see progress. And, if I am doing the things I need to do daily - by May - I'll see the progress. That will motivate me to do more and to keep going. Try it. Write down your goals and resolutions. View them DAILY. Make a daily to do list based on goals. Check your progress either monthly or an end progress date. As long as you are doing things daily, goals WILL be met. AND, if you slip up a day or two - no big deal because your progress check date is what is important - not daily progress - end progress!


kat_xk8 30.12.2011. 12:42

Who in history decided mankind must make new years resolutions ? Seriously why do many feel this irrational obligation to make resolutions and why new years ? Why not decide to start or quit somethimg that day in their life or do nothing ?

It's like dumb valentines day? 1 day ?

I dont make new years resolutions anymore when I realized um don't have to!

What about u?


Admin 30.12.2011. 12:42

I think it's a lot easier to make a change for the better at the start of the new year I know i don't have to. No one does. But I like to anyway.


F Bomb 29.12.2009. 03:53

How do you stick to your new years resolutions? Every year, I come up with these awesome new years resolutions. Quit smoking, work out more, you know, the usual. I know that new years resolutions are a little silly, but I need a change, and I figured now is the perfect time. I really want to change my lifestyle and follow through with it. What do YOU do to keep yourself motivated?

F Bomb

Admin 29.12.2009. 03:53

Just because a certain date is here does not mean this is when your ready to do it. Honestly, when I quit smoking it had nothing to do with a date or the medias' constant attacks on it. I just didn't want to anymore and stopped. Same thing with drinking I saw where it would lead me and I stopped. I love working out so that is an easy one to keep. But what I am getting is if you make any resolutions make them small ones. The big ones you have to already know it is time and you don't want it anymore. It really is that simple. Have a great New Years =D


Tasha! 31.12.2008. 11:53

What are your new years resolutions for 2009? I was amused at how different my new years resolutions are from last years.

Last year I went for the classic.. "Lose weight", "Exercise more", and "Work harder"

But this year I've gone for a different approach. So far, I have decided on:
- learn how to play the guitar
- make more friends
- give myself more me-time & pamper myself more

What are your new years resolutions? Do you think you will stick to them?


Admin 31.12.2008. 11:53

I decided to have New Years Missions instead of resolutions.

1. Take more risks.
2. Be more spontaneous.
3. Finally get my license. (i was in a car accident so i am terrified of driving.)
4. Go on a road trip to an amusement park .
5. Go to warped tour.
6. Have amazing grades
7. Have a summer bonfire camp out in my field!!


Aaron 19.12.2010. 23:39

Have you given any thought to this years, New Years Resolution? How about starting a week early? Or do you plan on living it up before the fateful 1st.? Who will be affected by your resolution this year?
How did last years resolution go? Did you accomplish it? Are you better off because of it?


Admin 19.12.2010. 23:39

It's funny you ask, I just started thinking about within the past few hours, I really do think, at times, I can be way too stubborn, so that is the Resolution, that I am leaning towards making for the New Years!

Hopefully, it will affect everyone positively, but most importantly, affect me positively!

Wow, I can't believe it, I can't even remember my Resolution last year, or if I even had one, will, it must not of went over too well, or been anything too serious, last year was pretty hectic so that could explain why I don't even remember my Resolution!


James B 21.01.2009. 09:11

Help needed to fullfill New Years Resolution? My New Years resolution for this year is to get as much sex as possible, previously (for medical reasons) I haven't had a great deal, which seems really unfair so I want to catch up a bit.

So, without actually paying professionals for sex, does anyone have any suggestions as to the best way to fulfil this resolution?
Please don't judge me on this, I just feel I might start to get a little unhinged if I don't do something about this.

Also, I am prepared to let my standards slip quite a bit if it at least means I can do it.

James B

Admin 21.01.2009. 09:11

Ok...So this made me laugh! :) a lot! Yeah just go out n socialise, go the pub and clubbing! .. x


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