Psychology of New Year’s Resolutions – How to Keep Your Resolutions

Psychology of New Years Resolutions

New Years is typically a season for new opportunities and a fresh start. So it totally makes sense that many of us want to set goals and resolutions to kick off the new year.

Motivation in the early parts of January is usually pretty high, yet just a few weeks into the month, many of us are wondering if we can really accomplish these goals. The struggle to hold ourselves accountable and sustain our motivation is real despite our best intentions.

So if you think you are the only one struggling with your New Year’s Resolutions, you are not alone! In fact, according to US News and World Report (2020), nearly 80% of all resolutions fall through by February.

Eek! This is not hopeful news for those of us wanting to make a real change.

So Why Do Nearly 80% of Resolutions Fail?

To start, our goals often lack a few important qualities:

First, Resolutions are not specific enough

For example, we might set a basic resolution to limit our screen time. Instead, we should plan to be specific with our resolution by setting a timer for 2 hours before bedtime to put away all devices.

Second, Resolutions are unrealistic

For example, not eating out during the week. Especially, when you have averaged eating out for lunch and dinner 3x a week the year before. Setting a more realistic goal to cook meals at home 3x a week might be more realistic. 

How to Set Attainable Goals

Many of us have motivation to make the necessary changes in our lives. A lack of energy is often not the problem. The real problem is that we lack a plan and a system to implement these resolutions.

So let’s get started. First, it is crucial to really dig deep before setting resolutions by asking questions like:

  • “How will I develop motivation?”
  • “What are the steps needed to achieve my resolutions?”
  • “Is this a resolution attainable?” 

In addition to asking thoughtful questions and setting specific and realistic goals, start by asking yourself is my goal SMART. The acronym SMART can be a helpful action plan to guide you in the direction needed to reach your New Year’s Resolutions.

S – Specific – Goals need to be clear, by asking the “W” questions

  • What do I want to accomplish?
  • Why is this goal important?
  • Who is involved?
  • Where is it located?
  • Which resources or limits are involved?

M – Measurable – It’s important to set measurable goals to help you track your New Year’s Resolutions progress

A – Achievable – “Is this goal realistically attainable?”

R – Relevant – “Is this goal worthwhile?”

T – Time Bound – Holding yourself accountable by setting deadlines can be a great way in achieving New Year’s Resolutions.


Support from others can go a long way in achieving your New Year’s Resolutions! Outside support can hold you accountable, provide you with novel perspectives, and assist in your motivation to achieve your New Year’s Resolutions.

Friends and family can, at times, offer some of the best support and recommendation. In fact, the research shows that the most successful (and happy) individuals are those that readily lean on the support of others to accomplish their goals.

In addition to family and friends, an outside expert perspective can also be a huge asset. At Biltmore Psychology and Counseling, our therapists offer life coaching therapy with the goal of providing  individuals with insight into what motivates them, what gets in the way of their success, and how to enhance their strengths.

Here are a few of the top goals for life coaching therapy:

  • Increased motivation and passion in one’s life
  • Increased insight into motivational blocks
  • Professional and personal goal achievement
  • For additional information, Learn more about Life Coach Counseling

Whether you are looking to make a substantial life change or just tune up a small area of your life, having a plan, support and the right people in place is key to success. Just don’t give up and don’t let the small or large setbacks keep you from living the life you know you can achieve. You are worth it and we are here to help!

We’re Here to Help

Contact Biltmore Psychology and Counseling


Haughey, D. (2014, December 13). A BRIEF HISTORY OF SMART GOALS. Retrieved from

Luciani, J. (2015, December 29). Why 80 Percent of New Year’s Resolutions Fail. Retrieved from

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