5 Reasons 92% of People Fail At Their New Year’s Resolutions (And Why You Won’t)

It would be great to crush your New Year’s resolutions for once, wouldn’t it?

I mean you try, but why does it seem so difficult to actually make progress in life? I get that.

I think we all have a few resolutions that make it on the list every year, only to be abandoned, forgotten and resurrected again.

Or maybe you’ve just given up. I know more than a few people who have.

While statistics can be a little less than reliable when it comes to resolutions, one study shows as few as 8% of people accomplish their resolutions.

And yet resolutions pull achievers back in, because people who make resolutions are as much as 10x more likely to achieve their goals than people who don’t.

Last year, I made a crazy list of 29 New Year’s resolutions on everything from my prayer life, to our marriage, to how I lead, to our financial goals.

My wife Toni and I were reviewing them the other day. I think to both of our surprise…I actually hit most of them. There were some where I said “I don’t think I accomplished that,” to which she responded, “From where I sit, you did.”

There’s still room for improvement of course (like losing 10 pounds!!!), but overall it was encouraging.

I’ve noticed in the last few years that my success rate (while not perfect…nobody’s perfect, or at least I’m not) has gone up remarkably as I’ve challenged some of the behaviours and thinking that went into previous failure. Some of my goals were related to my prayer life and my walk with God, and it was a thrill to be able to see improvement in those areas too.

If you want to know what 2017 will be like, just look at 2016. Next year will be exactly what this year was like unless you decide it won’t be.

This Sunday, January 8th at Connexus Barrie and Sunday, January 15 at Connexus Orillia, we kick off a brand new series called “Get Your Life Back.” It’s a highly practical series that shares biblical principles on how to get time, energy and priorities working in your favour. You’re invited, and we hope you’ll bring your friends. It’s an incredible series to bring friends to!

But in the meantime, why the high failure rate on resolutions?

Here are 5 reasons.

Next year will be exactly what this year was like, unless you decide it won't be. Click To Tweet

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1. Their resolutions are essentially intentions

The problem I had early on in making resolutions is that my resolutions were intentions. They were things I wanted to do, but I actually had no plan on how to accomplish them.

What’s lacking for many people is a strategy.

Your strategy, not your intention, determines your success. Many people intend to spend more time with their family, to be less scattered at work, to manage their time better, to ensure their top priories get accomplished, but they haven’t found a strategy to get them to that place. (That’s what the Get Your Life Back series is, by the way—a comprehensive strategy.)

When you look at your resolutions, ask yourself: what’s my strategy?

No strategy = almost guaranteed failure.

Strategy trumps intention every time.

Strategy trumps intention every time. Click To Tweet

2. Their priorities keep being hijacked

So you’ve got great intentions, and maybe you even develop a strategy. Good job.

But then life happens. Your phone starts buzzing. People knock on your door or hover over your cubicle. Or your kids start screaming.

Everybody just needs five minutes of your time, but by the end of the day you realize that various people took all your time. And you’re way further behind than you were at 8 a.m.

Tell me if this isn’t true: No one ever asks you to accomplish your priorities. They only ask you to accomplish theirs.

If you’re a preacher, nobody emails or texts you to ask you to write a killer message. Nobody cancel’s their meeting with you and says “Just thought you should have more prep time.”

If you’re working on a key project, how many times does anyone knock on your door and say “Hey, I want to give you three hours of breathing room to get it done. Let’s reschedule our weekly?” Or when does someone every knock and your door and say “I’ll take the kids. You go to the gym and then spend some time alone with God.” Yep…never.

You need to be the champion of your priorities. Nobody else will be.

No one ever asks you to accomplish your priorities. They only ask you to accomplish theirs. Click To Tweet

3. They added, but never subtracted

Often when you want to do better, you add things to your ever more complex life. And when you do that, you sabotage your success.

Let’s be honest, adding to your life is easier than subtracting, until you hit the wall of overwhelm. Not only do you get completely overwhelmed, but you also diminish the value of everything you’re trying to do.

As Craig Groeschel recently put it, if everything’s important, nothing’s important. If everything’s a priority, nothing’s a priority.

If everything's a priority, nothing's a priority. Click To Tweet

Leaders who reach their goals are better at subtraction than addition. They subtract more things from their life than they add.

Do you?

After all, you’re probably only truly great at one or two things. Focus more of your time on those, and cut things that are average to good.

Subtraction is often more powerful than addition when it comes to accomplishment.

Leaders who reach their goals subtract more things from their life than they add. Click To Tweet

4. They didn’t address their patterns

This one’s huge.

If you study your every day life, it really consists of repeated patterns. You likely do the same thing every morning as soon as you get up.

You follow the same routine most days at work, and your weeks and seasons have a rhythm to them.

Even if you say, no, my life is random chaos, wonderful. You have a pattern of random chaos.

The question is are your patterns helping you or hurting you?

If you have unrealized goals and dreams, your patterns are hurting you, not helping you. Because if your patterns supported your dreams, you would have accomplished them.

Leaders with unrealized dreams discover their patterns are probably hurting, not helping them. Click To Tweet

5. They left their calendar out of the equation

Open your calendar.

Do you see your goals scheduled right into the rhythm of your every day?

Probably not.

An amazing thing happens when you decide to schedule your dreams daily: they happen.

How to Make 2017 Radically Different

The Get Your Life Back series is all about making 2017 different. You’ve got dreams. God has even better dreams for you. But often what stands between you and all that is the thud of daily life.

If you get time, energy and priorities working in their favour, it impacts everything.

You become a better spouse.

A better parent.

A better neighbour.

A better friend.

You become a better worker or leader.

A closer follower of Jesus.

The impact ripples across your entire life.

The messages in Get Your Life Back will be highly practical, but we’ve also put time and energy into a very practical small group guide that can help you figure out how to apply all of this directly to your life and your situation.

What Kills Your Resolve?

What reasons have you seen that sabotage your New Year’s resolutions?

Scroll down and leave a comment!

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1 Comment

  1. Doris says, January 4, 2017 at 9:04 pm

    Or when does someone every (ever) knock and (at) your door and say…

    Just thought I’d let you know so you can correct those places in the blog.

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