Why Your New Year’s Resolutions Will Fail – and How to Avoid It

Are you excited for the upcoming new year?

I’m sure you are! The beginning of the year is a special moment…your hopes are at their highest level. You want to live your best year ever.

This also means you already wrote (or are thinking to write) your new year’s resolutions.


…you need to know something very important.
It may be a little too harsh, but…your new year’s resolutions will likely fail.

Let me show you why.

Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

Stanford University’s professor Baba Shiv conducted a very interesting experiment that will make you think.

In his study, he took 165 students and divided them in two groups: one group had to memorize a 2-digit number, the other one had to memorize a 7-digit number.

After memorizing the number, each student had to go to another room. But on their way to this room, they were offered a snack: they could choose between a chocolate cake or a bowl of fruit salad.

You’ll be surprised to know that those students who memorized the 7-digit number were almost twice as likely to take the chocolate cake.

What does it mean?

If you use your mind energies for something, you will have less willpower. Or to put it in another way: your brain energies are limited – and so it’s your willpower.

Think about it: what are you doing by choosing your new year’s resolutions?

You’re basically asking your brain for a huge amount of willpower to carry different disciplines. The more resolutions you choose, the more willpower you will need…and the more likely you will interrupt your resolutions before reaching your goals.

Now, it should be obvious what’s the secret to stick to your new year’s resolutions…

What To Do To Stick With Your New Year’s Resolutions

Given that the more resolutions you have, the more likely you are to fail…the less resolutions you have, the more likely you are to succeed.

Which means that by having just one new year’s resolution you have the highest chances of success.

Now, you probably are wondering “if I can choose just one resolution, which one should I pick?”

Of course, pick the most important one. The most important for you. It’s the resolution that will have the highest positive impact on your life.

But you don’t have to stop there! In fact, there’s something very useful that I want to share with you.

How to Accomplish ALL of Your New Year’s Resolutions

Your willpower is taxed by the adoption of new behaviours…but you don’t really use it for certain old behaviours.

Think of all the things that you do in your day: how many of these things take a good amount of willpower?
Not many.

The reason is that many of the things that you do during your day are habits.
Habits are magical 🙂

Habits consume almost no brain energies.

So, if you transform one of your resolutions into a habit, you are free to had a new resolution in your schedule. The way to do that is by sticking with one of your resolutions for about 21 continuous days (this is the average time that a new behaviour takes to become a habit…so know that this number may be a little different for you).

After that time, your resolution will be a habit and you’ll be free to start practicing a new resolution.

The good old “one at a time”.
That’s the secret to accomplish your resolutions – and so your best year ever.

Want a Shortcut?

Do you want a shortcut?

Maybe you’re wondering “what if I carry two of my new year’s resolutions at a time, instead of one? I can double my results!”

No, it doesn’t work like that. There’s no shortcut. It isn’t just what you read up to now in this article…it’s also practical experience.

Look, I’ve coached hundreds of people and I’ve seen a common pattern: no matter how smart/tough/determined you think you are, trying to establish more than one habit at a time is a surefire recipe for failure.

It isn’t because you are not enough, it’s because life can be tricky: suppose that you have a hard day at work/university/family and this will consume a lot of your brain energies. You may still find some energy to keep one resolution…but if you have two resolutions you’ll lose both of them.

Now, think on how likely it is to have just ONE tough day in 21 days…it’s very likely! Which means that the most of the time, you’ll end up breaking your habit-forming cycle.

And once you break it, you have to start from scratch…and 21 more days to go.

Does this sound like a good plan?

No way. Stick with one resolution at a time and you’ll end up in a very good situation.


Now, if all of this sounds good, I encourage you to start by implementing a good habit: reading a life-changing book, for just 10 minutes a day. It helped me transform my life and can do the same for you.

You can come visit me for some great books to start with.


Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

6 Responses to Why Your New Year’s Resolutions Will Fail – and How to Avoid It

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