Why we struggle to stick to New Years' resolutions

As the New Year unfolds, many of us set resolutions with high hopes, only to find them fading into the background as the year progresses. This phenomenon isn’t just limited to personal goals; it mirrors challenges faced in professional change management. Let’s delve into why resolutions often fail and how principles from the change management profession can offer valuable lessons for achieving personal objectives. 

At its core, the struggle to maintain New Year’s resolutions is a change management issue. In the corporate world, companies are always finding strategies to navigate change. We help them understand that successful change is not just about setting goals but also about creating a supportive environment, ensuring consistent communication, and providing the tools and resources necessary for success. 

How can we make this year different?

Setting realistic and specific goals

We’d all love to shoot for the stars, and there’s nothing stopping you from doing that. But is that realistic and achievable in the year you’ve got in front of you? Setting unrealistic and unachievable goals might be exactly where you are going wrong. 

Ever heard of a SMART goal? We’re sure you have in a professional capacity but try adapting this to your personal goals. Goals should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. For instance, instead of vaguely resolving to “exercise more,” set a specific goal like “attend three yoga classes per week for the next three months.” 

Understanding the ‘why’

We are always sharing the importance of understanding the ‘why’ behind any change. Personal resolutions often fail because the reason behind them isn’t compelling or clear enough. Dig deep to find a personal motivation that resonates with you – whether it’s improving health, career progression, or personal growth. 

Creating a supportive environment

Change is the most successful when carried out in supportive environments. Take a moment to consider the environment around you in which you’re trying to invoke change. Is the space enabling you? Are the people around you championing you? This might mean joining support groups, finding a buddy with similar goals, or removing temptations that hinder progress. 

Tracking progress

In professional settings, regular progress reviews are a necessity. Apply this to your resolutions by keeping a journal, using apps, or simply reflecting periodically on your progress. This will not only provide motivation but also help identify and overcome obstacles. You’ll know how often you’ll need to monitor progress from looking at your ‘SMART goal.’ 

Flexibility and adaptability

Be open to adjusting your goals as needed. Life is unpredictable, and what seemed feasible in January might need tweaking by March. That’s absolutely okay and does not mean the original goal cannot be achieved, but the most successful projects are the most dynamic and adaptable ones. 

Seek accountability

When we are left to ourselves to determine success, some of us can either be overly critical of progress or perhaps find reasons to procrastinate. Having somebody or something holding you accountable will keep you focused on your goal, your why, and allow you to realign with your path. 

Celebrating milestones

Just as organisations celebrate milestones in their projects, do the same for your personal goals. Celebrating small victories along the way keeps motivation high and provides a sense of accomplishment. It’s important to enjoy the journey as well as the end destination. 

Learning from failures

If you falter in your new years’ resolutions, don’t view it as a failure but as a learning opportunity. Analyse what went wrong and how you can prevent it in the future.  


To summarise

Above all the 8 points listed it’s important that you are kind to yourself throughout the year. So many things are unpredictable and can pull you from progress, but taking time to realign, balance, check in and ensure its achievable will be proactive steps to success. 

If you would like to learn more about how CITI Limited could help you as partners to plan, deliver and sustain beneficial change, then please feel free to contact us via info@citi.co.uk