How to fix and stick your new years resolutions

How to fix and stick your New Year’s Resolutions

“New Year’s resolutions are a bit like a marmalade. Sweet and exciting at first, turning bitter very quickly.” 

If you’ve already broken your New Year’s resolutions, don’t feel bad. Most people have. You’re definitely not alone.  

I certainly don’t want to give you an easy way out or make excuses for you, but research suggests that only 9% of people keep their resolutions up. This means that 91% of people dive up at some point. 

Wouldn’t it feel nice to be in the 9%? 

Those people are reaching their goals, changing their lives and making big dreams come true. 

You owe it to yourself to be in that club, and I want it for you, too. 

So where and why does it go wrong? 

Here are 5 mistakes that you might be making with your New Year’s resolutions, which are likely making it difficult, if not impossible, for you to stick with them. Take a look below to see which ones you can relate to and learn how you can fix them.

You set resolutions you don’t really want to do or care about 

When you look at your New Year’s resolutions, hand on heart, which one of them do you really care about? 

Which ones are really yours, and which ones are goals for or by somebody else? 

If you’ve realised that a few fall into the latter category, don’t feel bad. It’s easy to be influenced by what’s valued or validated by others. 

This social pressure can make us act and think in ways that are not really authentic to us. This can affect what kind of New Year’s resolutions we set as well. 

If you’re trying to pursue a goal that you genuinely don’t care about or don’t want, it will be extremely draining and unfulfilling. 

Make no mistake, even goals you really want may (and will) be challenging and hard to pursue. But when you really want something, it’s much easier to justify putting in the work. 

For example, I love running, and I get all jiggy thinking about breaking the 3-hour marathon or running a 100km+ Ultramarathon race. But, I’ll be honest: When I get up on Sundays at 5:30 am to go for a 35km training run, sometimes I do not love it. It’s hard, but I can justify it because I really want to reach my goal. 

If I didn’t, it would be pure misery. 

How to fix this:

Look at your list of New Year’s resolutions and honestly ask yourself: Why do I want to achieve this

  • Keep goals that you really care about and want. 
  • Keep goals that you’re willing to put the work in, even if you don’t love it every day. 
  • Keep goals that you feel like this is who you are meant to be, and completing them is more about becoming your true self rather than what someone else will think. 

Your resolutions freak you out

There is a trend in personal development to set big, audacious and scary goals. I can understand the appeal of it when “success gurus” encourage you to do that because, deep inside, we all fantasise about achieving extraordinary things. 

But, the challenge is that if those auditious goals are TOO big and scary, we struggle to believe that it’s something we could achieve. And no one wants to play a game that is already lost.  

This is exactly what happens with goals we don’t believe we can achieve. 

(I go deep into this in my article “The danger of big goals“).

Let’s say you’re starting your YouTube channel and set a big scary goal of getting 1 million subscribers. You get started, post a few videos and get 9 views on each and 5 subscribers in the first couple of weeks (two of which are your mum and best friend). Your mind will inevitably go: This is impossible. How am I ever going to get to a million subscribers to reach my goal? 

Aaaaand you’ll quit. 

How to fix this:

Set goals that you believe you can actually achieve. Some may argue that such goals are not really stretching your potential. But it’s not like you can set only one goal, right? If you reach your goal, you can set a new one that is more audacious because by then, you’ll have more experience and confidence to aim a little higher.  

Don’t worry if your goals pale in comparison with others. These are your goals. Also, remember, just because someone sets crazy New Year’s resolutions doesn’t mean they will actually achieve them. 

You set too many resolutions

Perhaps I’m the wrong person to talk about this, as for the last decade, I’ve been setting way too many goals (typically 50+). But to be frank, even then, I’m holding myself back because I know that if I set too many, it will overwhelm me, and I’ll be jumping from one to another, not really making progress with any.

The danger with making too many resolutions is that:

1) It’s hard to chase so many things at the same time, and we usually just end up jumping from one thing to another in panic rather than strategically pursuing them. 

2) You’ll quickly feel overwhelmed and get stuck. 

3) Spreading ourselves too thin over too many projects will result in making only a small progress with each, which can be very demotivating. 

Clearly, this is not a recipe for success. 

How to fix this:

Set only so many (or so few) goals that you can focus on and follow. 

Let me tell you, it’s perfectly fine to focus on ONE goal at a time and absolutely crush it rather than having loads and barely making any progress. 

You can set several goals for the year, but maybe they don’t need to be all pursued at the same time. The year is long. What’s the rush? 

Your resolutions require too much time and/or energy

If you’re struggling to stick with your resolutions, not for lack of motivation or drive, but simply because you can’t find the time in the day or they are simply physically impossible, then you may have set an unrealistic expectation for yourself. 

It’s easy to underestimate how much time or energy things take. Maybe it seemed doable at the time (or on paper), but now you’re a few weeks in, and it may seem impossible, whichever way you look at it. 

How to fix this:

Recalibrate your goal. Do you need to lower the bar a bit or push the next milestone a little further? That’s ok. Keep going and accomplish your goals a little later. That’s way better than giving up completely because it is simply impossible at the time. 

Do the best you can, but keep doing. 

Your resolutions are easy to quit

Let me ask you, if you quit your resolution, what would happen? 

Who would know? Would there be any consequence? 

If your answer is – Nope, nothing. I’d just not have the result – then you’re giving yourself a too-easy way out. 

Sometimes, even with the goals we truly want, the going may get tough at times, and your mind will play tricks on you, coming up with reasons why you should not or cannot continue. 

In moments like this, making it difficult for yourself to quit will help you keep going. Whether it’s personal or group accountability, some sort of penalty, or your “reputation” on the line, this stuff works. 

As I mentioned earlier, I don’t particularly love getting up early on Sunday mornings for my long runs. So, I strategically joined a group of runners with whom I ran those runs. It creates group accountability (as they are expecting me) and also puts my reputation on the line (not just as a runner but as someone with discipline and integrity). 

Let me tell you, I’ve always shown up for my Sunday run. 

How to fix this:

Make it hard for you to quit or not follow through. Whether it’s by partnering with someone for the activity OR to hold you accountable for completing it. 

You can be creative with penalties for not following through. 

A number of times, I’ve put £100 into an envelope and told my partner that if I don’t do XYZ, she can keep it. And trust me, she’s keen to collect, so I don’t need to worry she’d let me off the hook. But so far I’ve never lost my £100. 

When the consequence of not following through is more uncomfortable than following through, then we do what needs to be done. 


If you’ve struggled to stick to your New Year’s resolutions, you may have made one or more of those common mistakes. If you have, don’t worry; they are all easy to fix. 

The key is to focus on being as successful as you can with them rather than being perfect. 

If you struggle with self-discipline, check out my Unbreakable Self-Discipline Bootcamp where you learn everything you need to know to master your discipline. 



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