4 Reasons New Year’s Resolutions Fail And How to Make Sure Yours Don’t

January 2, 2018

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resolutionsEvery year goals to lose weight and get in shape top the lists of New Year’s resolutions. And while these certainly are excellent and achievable goals, research shows that two weeks into the new year, most people will have already abandoned them.


It’s time to get to the bottom of why so many resolutions fail. Make this the year you avoid disappointment, and say goodbye to those extra pounds once and for all.

Watch Out for Wishful Thinking: Psychologists say many people are ready to make resolutions, but they aren’t ready to take the steps necessary to turn those dreams into reality. I call this the “wishful thinking” approach. If you can’t answer in detail exactly how you plan to lose weight starting Jan. 1, chances are you won’t.

It takes more than desire to achieve lasting weight loss. It takes planning, knowledge, support, action, and dedication. You wouldn’t just buy a plane ticket to a foreign country without planning or researching and hope that it will all work out. Similarly, in order to lose weight and get in shape, you should do your research, plan the journey, and consider hiring an expert guide to show you the way.

Don’t Set Unrealistic Goals: If your resolution is to lose weight effortlessly, it probably won’t happen. Unrealistic goals lead to frustration, and you quickly abandon your weight loss plan because it’s not working.

The solution is to start with small, specific goals, such as to lose 10 pounds within a certain time frame. Quick fixes and fast, non-medical solutions set you up for a yo-yo weight cycle, destroy your metabolism, and often lead to weight gain.

Beware of Out of Reach Expectations: Some people believe shedding a few pounds will solve all of life’s problems. While losing weight will certainly improve your quality of life and can lead to happiness, it’s important to recognize that it doesn’t fix everything.

Avoid this trap by acknowledging what losing weight will and won’t do for you. If you want to get a promotion, find your soul mate, reduce your stress level, or have an organized home, losing weight alone is not the solution. These are worthy and achievable goals that can happen in tandem with weight loss but will require their own plan of attack.

Avoid the All-or-Nothing Approach: All-or-nothing thinking is a recipe for failure. Some people feel if they aren’t on track 100 percent of the time, they might as well abandon their goals completely.

My patients are often surprised when I tell them they should expect to fail at times. A setback doesn’t mean you can’t reach your goal. In fact, it only means that you are human. The best thing to do when you slip up is to figure out what went wrong, how you can take steps to avoid the same pitfall in the future, and get right back on track.


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