How to Keep New Year’s Resolutions: Why People Tend to Fail

Studies show that 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by mid-February. Psychiatrists say a common reason people fail at resolutions is simply their mentality.

GREENSBORO, NC — Planning to save money by spending less this year or setting a goal to lose weight by working out every day are just a few of the most common New Year’s resolutions that people take every year. Unfortunately, many people don’t stick to them. Studies show that 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by mid-February.

Andrew Farah, MD is a psychiatrist at Novant Health. He said one of the most common reasons people don’t stick to resolutions is their mentality.

“I feel bad about myself. Therefore, I’m going to change XYZ,” Farah said. “You mean, ‘I want to get better; I want to feel better. The mistake a lot of people make is that it comes from a negative space and then from a positive space. We know a little self-criticism is motivating, but a lot of it will weaken you. People are more likely to accomplish things with a positive rather than critical state of mind.

Farah said these are some of the best ways to stick with a resolution:

  • Write down your resolution
  • Tell someone you trust
  • Set realistic expectations
  • Create a schedule
  • Measure your progress
  • Schedule time

“I can’t tell you how many people tell me they want to accomplish something, but they just haven’t changed their lifestyle enough to take the time to do it,” Farah said. “Sometimes you just have to stop what you’re doing and go to the gym. Stop what you’re doing and write this chapter. Whatever your goal.

Farah said it’s normal to make adjustments to a resolution as life changes and the year progresses.

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