What to do about abandoned new year’s resolutions


According to a US survey commissioned by Crispy Green of 2000 adults the average respondent will have given up on their resolutions by February 1st, and 68% said they usually don’t even last that long.

The survey undertaken by OnePoll also found that one in seven respondents never really believe they will follow through on their resolutions in the first place.

So, what is stopping so many people from improving themselves? The top reason given by respondents was a lack of discipline (52%), followed by packed schedules (43%). Other popular responses included social pressure (40%), familial pressure (39%), and negative influence from a partner (35%).

It’s clear that the majority of respondents don’t end up seeing through their plans to completion.  It’s often not for lack of effort. In all, 41% of respondents said they usually try to announce their resolutions to other people in an attempt to be held accountable, and 37% often try and recruit a friend to work on their resolutions together.

In light of this research I thought that now was a good time to review what has happened to our new year’s resolutions. Have you kept to your new year’s resolutions? Sadly most of us haven’t, and many of us have given up trying. But why is this? Are you going to wait months before you try again? Many people give up if they fail once. You are putting unreasonable pressure on yourself if you do this.

In one of the British Heart Foundation publications I came across a lovely phrase:

“A lapse is not a collapse”.

In other words, because you’ve failed once, it doesn’t mean you’ve failed completely. Sometimes you have to fail several (or even many) times before you succeed.  I used to smoke 40-50 cigarettes a day (yes, unbelievable now). It took me many attempts before I finally managed to do it.

Thomas Edison said:

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

So, have a look back at those abandoned resolutions. Were they worth making in the first place? If they were, then dust them off and try again.

But remember that insanity has been defined as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. So, it may be time to reconnect with your goal, but to try a different strategy to achieve it. Ask yourself what you can learn from your previous failures. What can you do differently this time?  Have a read of this article which offers great advice to help you succeed. Read this blog post about how to give up smoking.