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Are New Year's Resolutions Powerful or Pointless?

Are New Year’s Resolutions Powerful or Pointless - Sticking to our New Year’s Resolutions can be extremely stressful and tricky. Here is why having no resolution might increase our resolve.

It is that time of the year again, where we stress ourselves with following through our New Year’s Resolutions.

According to studies, 80% of people are unable to stick to the resolutions made leading us to wonder if we really need them in the first place? [1]

Why Do New Year’s Resolutions Fail?

Most individuals fail to keep their New Year's resolutions for a variety of reasons. It's a mix of issues, as well as life simply interfering. [2]

Resolutions cannot result in long-term change in behaviour because they are not designed in a way that harvests motivation and converts it into action and change.

1. High Expectations

Many individuals approach New Year's resolutions with an all-or-nothing mentality.

They go from zero to one hundred with no consultation with actuality. Aiming to run a marathon, for example, is unreasonable if you live a sedentary lifestyle and have never done strenuous physical activity before. [3]

2. Being Impatient

Research done by the University of Chicago discovered that whether or not people received an instant reward was the best predictor of whether or not they would stick to their long-term goals.

If we don’t see quick results, we tend to give up. [4]

3. Undefined Goals

One of the most common reasons individuals fail to follow their New Year's resolutions is that they are too vague.

Resolving to "exercise more" or "reduce weight," for example, lacks tools to track success and is unlikely to keep you driven throughout the year. [5]

Why is it Better to Not Have Resolutions?

Resolutions can not only add to the pressure to do well, but they can also make individuals feel like failures by attempting to achieve impossible goals.

Constantly worrying about our resolution or the magical ‘end goal’ can lead to mental health issues such as depression, anxiety or an eating disorder. [6]

Resolutions are not only psychologically impossible at times, but they are also too broad and ambiguous to be translated into motivated action. [7]

How to Achieve our Goals?

While a New Year's resolution might be an opportunity to assess areas for development, research suggests that tackling objectives in a less-pressured manner is preferred and can increase our chances of success. [8]

Instead of creating resolutions, focus on healthy goals and setting intentions, and working toward them with a holistic approach.

Here’s how we can still reach our end goal, without setting resolutions:

1. Ease Into It

Instead of introducing a slew of new habits, which may be overwhelming and difficult to keep, begin progressively incorporating them into your regular routine. [9]

For example, If you are a non-reader, instead of planning to finish a novel each week, start with reading a few pages daily.

2. Be Kind to Yourself

When we lay less emphasis on the outcome, we give ourselves more leeway to make errors while still striving for our goals.

Incorporate self-care techniques and positive self-talk.

Instead of thinking “I am a failure for losing track”, tell yourself “It is OKAY to make mistakes and learn from it.”

3. Break It Up

Set goals for shorter time periods. That way, there's an opportunity to tweak the strategy based on what's effective and what isn't.

Instead of planning for the entire year, set goals for a 30-day period, a week, or even a day - whatever is comfortable to you! It won't ensure success, but you don't have to wait until the next calendar year to give it another shot. [10]

When we begin to create short-term goals that feel more manageable and begin to see success, that achievement keeps us motivated, and we are more likely to adhere to them.

The Takeaway

If you fail to keep your resolution, don't beat yourself up over it. When you initially begin your trip toward your resolve, instead of focusing on the large number of steps remaining, look at what you've already accomplished and enjoy each small victory along the way!

If there is one resolution you should make this year, it should be to not be hard on ourselves by creating strict rules and unattainable goals as New Year’s Resolutions.

You may also enjoy "The Ultimate Guide to Sticking to Your New Year's Resolution (2022)"


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About Our Writer

Shahana is an avid pop culture enthusiast with a penchant for all things fashion. Living life with a pinch of sass and a generous dollop of flair, she finds herself collecting crystals and playing with tarot cards. Tell her your date of birth and she’d draw your birthchart for you. A young girl with a million dreams and billion hopes, prepping up for a future in this exciting world.


This editorial section solely expresses the opinion of frankie and is not endorsed nor commissioned by any external party. The list is non-exhaustive. At frankie, we believe that your best provider of medical advice is your doctor. Please consult a doctor before undergoing any treatment or procedure.



1. Norcross, J. C. (2007, January 8). The Resolution Solution: Longitudinal Examination Of New Year's Change Attempts - ScienceDirect. The resolution solution: Longitudinal examination of New Year's change attempts - ScienceDirect.

2. Robson, D. (2022). Are New Year's Resolutions Powerful Or Pointless?. Are New Year's resolutions powerful or pointless? - BBC Worklife.

3. Dai, H. (2015). Put Your Imperfections Behind You: Temporal Landmarks Spur Goal Initiation When They Signal New Beginnings.

4. Porter, J. (2017, March 21). Why You Should Make Time for Self-Reflection (Even If You Hate Doing It). Harvard Business Review.

5. Oscarsson, M., Carlbring, P., Andersson, G., & Rozental, A. (2020, December 9). A Large-scale Experiment On New Year’s Resolutions: Approach-oriented Goals Are More Successful Than Avoidance-oriented Goals. A large-scale experiment on New Year’s resolutions: Approach-oriented goals are more successful than avoidance-oriented goals.

6. Contributor, D. (2017, December 21). Can New Year's Resolutions Trigger Eating Disorders? - Center for Discovery. Center For Discovery.

7. Gourguechon, P. (2019, January 1). Why You Should Ditch Depressing New Year's Resolutions And Do This Instead. Forbes.

8. Morin, A. (2021). 5 Reasons Why Most New Year's Resolutions Don't Stick. Business Insider.

9. M. Dickson , . (2021). Self-Regulatory Goal Motivational Processes In Sustained New Year Resolution Pursuit And Mental Wellbeing.

10. U. (2010). Self-control, And Lack Of Self-control, Is Contagious.

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