Four out of five New Year’s Resolutions are stopped before February.  Why is it so hard to keep going for things that we were so passionate about in January?  Why do people give up on the things they really want?  What can we do to make sure we can achieve our New Year’s Resolutions? Read this article and find out what you are doing wrong and what you can do to keep your New Year’s Resolutions.

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What are New Year’s Resolutions?

Once every 365 days, one calendar year, we resolve to make a change in our lives for the better.  There is nothing inheritently wrong with this idea.  However, even the actual word “resolution” is not the appropriate way to acknowledge what you really want to do. A resolution is a process of resolving.  Resolving something is to mean there is a dispute or conflict between people.  Usually the person with the New Year’s Resolution is not in conflict about the subject or idea of the change.  They usually know they need to change the behavior.  They understand that the behavior is affecting their lives negatively.  They are ready for change, at least at the time. 


Now, resolving can also mean a firm decision to do something.  This is a good way to look at it.  However, in most cases, the person does not make a firm decision to change the behavior or to do something.  They give themselves “outs.”  Outs will be discussed later on.  Another problem with this definition of resolving, is the person is not firm.  They do not know what exactly they want.  The resolution is more of a wish or a hope that something may happen. 


What we should be doing is setting New Year’s Goals.  Goals are things that we need to happen, just like the common definition of Resolutions, but goals are more specific and are set in a way that we are looking at moving forward in life as opposed to resolving “a dispute or conflict between people.”  In essence, goals are looking at the positive and resolutions look at the negative in the situation.  Being positive does not guarantee you will reach a goal, but being positive can get you a whole lot further than being negative.  However, for the purpose of the rest of this paper, I will use Goals and Resolutions interchangeable because it is part of the common vernacular. 


Mistake in Making New Year’s Resolutions (Goals).

The first mistake people make in setting New Year’s Resolutions is they are only setting NEW YEAR’S resolutions.  Setting a goal every 365 does not set you up for success.  You should have goals going on throughout the year and should be working on at least three goals at all times.  You do not have to be active with it everyday, but that would help.  You should be thinking and progressing toward it at least every week. 

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If you are only setting a goal at the beginning of the year, are you saying you can only make changes one time a year?  No you can make a firm decision to change any day between the New Years. 


The second mistake people make in setting New Year’s Resolutions is they set unrealistic goals.  For instance, saying you are going to have $10,000 in your savings account when you only make $20,000 a year is probably unrealistic.  I am not saying it cannot be done, I am just saying it is most likely unrealistic given your current circumstance.  So do not set your goals too high.  Be realistic.


Another mistake people make during the resolution season is they set goals that are too long term either for the calendar year or in some people’s lifetime.  A common New Year’s Resolution is to lose weight.  A person may determine they want to lose weight this year.  That is a very good goal for a lot of us.  Yep, me too.  A person may say they want to lose 30 pounds this year.  That seems like a realistic goal.  The first couple of weeks they are eating healthy and going to the gym and they lose 5 pounds.  Whoo Hoo!!!!  They are well on their way to losing the weight they want.  The next couple of weeks, life happens, and Murphy’s Law comes into effect and they gain 2 pounds back.  They get discourage and give up like 4 out of 5 people do by February.  If they would have just looked at what they did accomplish that month they would have a different perception.  They lost a total of 3 pounds.  If they would just do this every month, they would have lost 36 pounds in the year.  Their original goal was to lose 30 pounds.  They would have exceeded their goal. 


A better solution to the problem listed above would be instead of resolving to lose 30 pounds; they would have resolved to lose 3 pounds per month.  The success of the first month would have motivated the person to continue to February and possible beyond. 


Another mistake people make with New Year’s Resolutions is they really do not want to do the resolution.  This is probably the biggest downfall of resolutions.  I mentioned before they resolving is a “firm decision” to do something.  A person might say they want to quit smoking on January 1st, and they may really want to quit smoking, but they did not make a “firm decision” to quit smoking. 


People make the New Year’s Resolutions but they keep them to themselves.  I think this is because if they do not reach the goal then they do not look like a failure in doing so.  However, people that really matter will respect you more for going for the gold, instead of just hoping to get a participation certificate or not even trying at all.  Let people know what you are doing.  Related to that is find people with similar goals or just goals at all and support each other.  If this is not possible find a Life Coach, A Personal Development Coach, A Business Coach, or just a Good Friend to hold you accountable and help you keep moving forward. 

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One last mistake people make is they never start.  This is related to the aforementioned mistake they do not have a firm decision.  Some people like to brag about what they are going to do, but when the rubber meets the road, they would rather put the car in park and watch others go on by.  They are thinking, it’s too hard. They find excuses and give themselves “outs.”



What are “Outs?”

Outs are thing we tell ourselves so we can defend a decision to quit or not even start.  Outs, like in baseball, are failures to achieve the goals of making it to at least first base.  In baseball, most outs are made before you get on base.  You can still make an out after you get to first, but it is easier to make an out while at bat.  And when you get to first base it is a lot easier to get to second that it was from home. 


“Outs” in goal setting is things we tell ourselves when we are standing up there waiting for the “pitch.”  The biggest one is “I’m going to try.”  I want you to stop reading for just a moment and “try” to pick up an item within your grasp.  I said “TRY.”  I did not say “PICK” it up.  You cannot “TRY” to pick it up.  You either PICK IT UP, or you DO NOT PICK IT UP.  When you tell yourself you will try this New Year’s Resolution, you are giving yourself and “out.” 


As February approaches and your goal was to quit smoking and you relapsed and smoked 6 cigarettes yesterday, you give yourself and “out” by saying “I failed, I can just go back to smoking now.”  The fact is you went almost the entire month before you smoked a single cigarette.  If you were a regular smoking in December, I bet you smoked more than 6 cigarettes in the entire month of December.  You only smoked 6 cigarettes in the entire month of January but you gave yourself an “out.”


One last thing about “outs,” Babe Ruth, The Sultan of Swat, The Bambino, was arguably the greatest baseball player to ever live.  He had 2873 career hits in 8399 official at bats.  He made 5758 outs in his lifetime.  I know the numbers don’t add up but he batted .342 for his lifetime.  I go these numbers from a baseball website.  That means he made an out about 2 out of every 3 times we walked up to the plate.  He knew he was going to not be successful every time but he went up there with the attitude he was going to get a hit this time.  The moral of this story is to just believe you are going to get it done.  You will make outs but I bet the Bambino never gave himself an “out.”  He would make others get him out.  And then he would get right back up there. 



  • Set goals not resolutions.
  • Don’t give yourself “outs” to not reach your goals.
  • Set smaller goals that reach the larger goals
  • Make a firm decision to do it
  • Make the goal reasonable
  • Tell others about your goals
  • Find someone to help hold you accountable.
  • Don’t give up too soon
  • Lastly, and the most important, START.


Every day is a new day; make New Day Resolutions if you have to. It does not take going out and buying a new calendar with the New Year on it to set goals and achieve them. Whether your goals is to lose weight, have more money, or get a formal education, You can achieve more and lead the Level 10 Life, if you will just START and don’t give up.  Let me know what you think. 


Make today and everyday a great day.  Lead the Level 10 Life.