Superior Alternatives to Old-School New Year’s Resolutions

Let’s begin by stating the obvious. If you make New Year’s resolutions, you have an 8% chance of success which means a 92% likelihood of failure. Oh, well. At least you’re in good company. 92% of business startups fail within the first three years, and 92% of drugs never reach the market because they fail in human trials even after they have succeeded in animal trials. Still, this is cold consolation. When you invest energy and hope in a dream of renewal, the death of that dream can leave you feeling wrung out and defeated. It’s no wonder that 38% of Americans vow to never, ever make New Year’s resolutions.

Why Your New Year’s Resolutions are Destined to Fail

It’s not you. Really, it isn’t. The problem is in the structuring of the resolution. Consider the top three resolutions of 2015:

  1. Lose weight.
  2. Get organized.
  3. Spend less and save more.

Most New Year’s resolutions are like these three.cartoon have you made a new year resolution yes don't They are: too big, poorly conceived, and focused on fixing something you don’t like about yourself. They are also often completely dedicated to result rather than process, and it takes too long to get to that result–usually an entire year.

If you make a resolution as a way to motivate yourself to make a change, chances are good you will have caved before the end of the first week. Only 64% of people manage to last more than a month. Less than half make it through six months.

Don’t Throw Out the Baby with the Bathwater

Despite the depressing statistics, there is something magical about the blank slate of a new year. For me, at least, there’s hope and energy, a sense of possibility, that makes me want to view myself as a statistical anomaly, one of the chosen 8% of success stories. The great news is that I can be, and so can you. We simply need to do things a bit differently than we have in the past.

Your Three-Pronged Approach to Better Resolutions


To avoid defaulting to the tired old resolutions of years past, you will need some time free of distractions and responsibilities. The process of deciding what you really want in 2017 cannot be rushed, nor should it be. This is your opportunity to imagine your new year into existence. Give your future the time and attention it deserves.

If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.

Henry Ford

I take a full day, sometimes more, for this work and I find that ideal. However, if that isn’t possible or isn’t your style, bits of time over several days also works.


Don’t worry. You don’t need to be deeply introspective. You just need to make a few momentous decisions like:

  • Do I want to set goals alone, or will I have more fun with a friend?
  • What’s my goal-setting beverage of choice? My snack?
  • Do I want music or silence? If music, what’s going to help me feel both mellow and inspired?

In the ebook, you will find suggestions that will help you select a goal-setting approach to match your personal preferences.

A Process that Works

The five step process in the FREE ebook works for goals and intentions of all kinds, and whether they are written at New Year’s or any other day of the year.

5 Steps to Setting and Achieving Your Goals

  1. Close the Books–Summarize what you learned from the year
  2. Open Up–Ensure that the goals and intentions you’re going for are ones that really matter to you
  3. Personalize the Science–Understand the difference between goals and intentions, and decide which is right for you
  4. Choose Your Strategy–Select the goal-setting or intention-setting strategy that works for you
  5. Embed and Sustain–Keep your goals or intentions front and center

Cover of e-Book, How to be one of the successful 8%.


How to Be One of the Successful 8%

A simple 5 step process for setting and achieving your goals

A short, comprehensive guide, complete with cartoons

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Do you embrace January as an opportunity for a bit of a life reboot, or is it just another month on the calendar? Let us know where you stand. And when you read the ebook, please come on back and tell us what you think in the comments section below. 




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  1. Excellent article once again, Karen! Maybe this is why New Year’s Resolutions have never really worked for me. You are right, I just end up feeling defeated and worthless on following through with things.

    Could 2017 be a start of something new for me? I will have to go through the steps you described and find out. Thanks for leaving the breadcrumbs for me to follow in order to find my way when it comes to New Year Resolutions.

    I will let you know how it goes. 🙂

    1. I do love the start of something new. I love the feeling of limitless possibility. Of course I detest that defeated, worthless feeling that you describe when the goals fall apart.
      I do hope that the ebook helps you. We’ll look forward to hearing what you think after you’ve read it.
      Best wishes for an awesome New Year, Susan.

      1. Thanks, Karen, I wish the same thing for you an awesome, happy, healthy New Year.

        Between now and midnight on December 31st I will be going over the ebook and following each of the five steps in order to properly frame my goals/intentions for 2017.

        Here’s wishing us both luck in finally creating the New Year goals/intentions. 🙂

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