The Small Differences Between Your New Years Resolution Success and Failure

Resolution Failure Syndrome—Solutions, Not Re-solutions


New Year’s resolutions, are a yearly ritual that only 8% Americans find successful according to the University of Scranton, Journal of Clinical Psychology 2014 (found at I call it the RFS, the Resolution Failure Syndrome—a syndrome so common that anyone who actually succeeds at keeping a resolution beyond Valentine’s Day is considered a superstar.

This list covers what we all hope to change, improve and enhance in our lives, yet, year after year, our success rate is generally abysmal and it seems as though making resolutions again is almost pointless. Why do we create a trail of disappointment? You wouldn’t buy a product that fails 92% of the time, so why stick with a strategy, if you even have one, year after year that keeps failing?

Become FIT, A Fundamentally Independent Thinker

Engage in what I call, FIT, or “fundamentally independent thinking.” That means you understand you are completely independent of every event in your life and that nothing “makes” you upset, angry, or depressed but rather what you think about things determines what you feel. Listen to what you are telling yourself about yourself. It will give you a window into whether you’ll be creating solutions this year, or making re-solutions again in 2016.

If you think, “Oh, I’ll never make it, I won’t succeed, I’ll fail like every other year.” Guess what? You’ve programmed yourself to fail. Instead, think, “Of course I’m going to exercise more, eat healthier and save some money this year. I can do it and I will!” You’ve just reprogrammed your computer for victory and success.

Decide How Important Your Resolutions Are

It’ll take some planning and preparation, making public your intentions, and partnering with a great support buddy or two, but isn’t your optimal health worth it? On a scale of 1-10, how important is it for you to exercise more, eat healthier, save some more money and lose some weight? If you are above a 7 or 8, keep going. How confident are you that you can achieve these intentions? Above 6 or 7? Keep going. And how ready are you come January 1, 2015 to execute your very specific plan? Still above a 6 or 7? Great, then you are preparing and ready to go. Wait. You do have a specific plan, right?

If you were you below those numbers, have a chat with yourself, press the delete button on your limiting self-talk, and be sure you aren’t comparing yourself to anyone else.

Make Your Goals, Your Goals

Comparison is a thief that’ll steal your life and happiness right from under your nose, so wear your own shoes and live according to your own plan. Start at your pace, choose only those behaviors that you are in full agreement with, talk about it as much as you can with supportive buddies and enjoy your success. To build your self-confidence, you need to get quick wins., Instead of pressuring yourself to run 5 miles, start with a 15-minute walk on Thursday, January 1st.

Interact with others who are similar to you and your goals. Success is infectious, and this can really turbo-charge your self-confidence.

Be Conscious When You Begin To Drift

Feel yourself pulling away from your intended resolutions? Now may be the time become aware of your thoughts and the origin of your goals.
Ask yourself:,

• What thoughts are getting in your way?
• Is what you are thinking true? What’s the evidence for and against your thoughts?
• What would you tell a friend in the same situation? If you wouldn’t tell them what you’ve been telling yourself, then why are you saying it to yourself?

If a thought makes you feel bad or abandon a healthy lifestyle goal, then why don’t you stop thinking it? Catch, challenge and change any thoughts of inadequacy, predictions of failure and any beliefs that detach you and derail you from your own New Year’s goals.

Measure, Track, Adjust

Be certain your “intentions” (better than just “goals”) are very specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time-bound, enthusiastically set and revisable (yep, that’d be SMARTER intentions). The more detailed the road map, the better. In fact, imagine (not just visualize, but use all of your senses) that it’s already 2016 and note exactly how different your life has changed over the past year.

That’s your game plan for New Years Solutions moving into 2015.

Happy New Year! Wishing you much health, happiness, love, friendship and success in 2015. You deserve it!

Dr. Michael Mantell

Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D. has been providing psychological and coaching services for nearly 5 decades and continues to empower positive change among his global clients to enhance life in every way. He is a highly sought-after healthcare professional coach, an executive and team building consultant, and a longtime specialist in cognitive behavioral coaching.

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