The 5 Secret Reasons your Resolutions Fail

The 5 Secret Reasons your Resolutions Fail

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Your intentions are rock solid, but that doesn’t mean your resolutions will be. Here are five secret reasons your resolutions fail and ways to overcome.


How many times have you made a resolution just to abandon it weeks, days, even hours later? If none, it’s only because you’ve never made a resolution. Life changes are hard to achieve and don’t happen overnight — resolution or not. It’s great that January inspires us to bring our best, but wouldn’t it be even better if our inspiration lasted more than a week?


Before you can effectively make life changes, it helps to know how you may be holding yourself back. Here are five secret reasons you sabotage your resolutions and how to change it up:

  1. You made your resolution too rigid.
    Did you read last week’s journal? In 3 Easy Steps to Rethink Resolutions and Make Them Last, I explain how, as adults, we naturally avoid authority and being told what to do. If you are too strict with your resolutions, they can subconsciously become a nagging authority figure. Instead, you have to make peace with imperfect resolutions and doing your best. Forgive slipups and get back on the horse when it occurs to you. Take things slowly by adding one change at a time — five resolutions at once isn’t realistic for most.
  2. You thought it was a change you “should” make.
    There are many motivations for making changes but the most effective are those that come from the heart. We’ll call them “pure motivations.” They aren’t influenced by society, outdated lessons from your childhood, or strictly material desires. If you find yourself throwing in the towel early on a resolution with no apparent reason why, you may want to ask yourself if YOU, deep down, really want the change to occur. If not, why not? What are you scared of?
  3. The resolution is pushed on you by someone else.
    Similar to #2, if you choose a resolution because your significant other, friend, boss or parent wants you to, it may not stick. Maybe your wife wants you to lose weight, for example. She’s been working out more and wants you to feel great, too. So, you agree. But every time you hit the gym, you instantly feel resentful toward her. You’d rather be doing something else. Right out the gate, you associate the resolution with negativity and your shame/frustration/resentment drives a rift between you and your wife. Lose lose.
    If you decide for yourself that you want to adopt her suggested resolution and are motivated by your own desires, you’ll have a much more positive experience. If you realize you don’t want to adopt your wife’s suggested resolution, don’t.
  4. You realize your chosen resolution is not really the ticket to success.
    This reason is actually positive. Yes, you may give up on your resolution, but ending something that doesn’t serve you is not failure — it’s self knowledge. If you’ve spent 100 hours on a treadmill without results, it’s probably time to switch up your resolution. Instead of working out more, how about looking into your eating habits?
  5. Someone sabotaged you and you’re not able to face it.
    Maybe you are truly motivated to make the change but loved ones aren’t supportive. If someone belittles your efforts, makes fun of your desires or encourages you to “cheat” on your resolutions, it’s possible they are sabotaging you — likely unintentionally. But don’t give up!
    That person’s inability to support you is his or her own issue, and it’s time to have a difficult conversation, make your needs known and ask for support. Often people give up on their resolutions to avoid conflict, but when that happens, it’s no longer sabotage by another — it becomes self-sabotage. Have the conversation and keep going!

As we look toward a new year and a new you, we at Team Dabney wish you the best of success. If you’re ready to make life changes but aren’t sure where to start — and you don’t want to give up — we can help. Contact us for a free consultation today.


To your emotional health,
Dr. Dabney

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