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A psychotherapist sat down with Business Insider to reveal 3 of the major reasons 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail. First, the chosen resolutions are usually too vague, and not specific enough. Secondly, they are typically worded too negatively. Finally, these NY resolutions are usually not really relevant to the individual. So let’s take a look at these reasons, and see how we can improve.

Don’t Be Vague

Choosing a more specific and measurable goal is sure to make it easier to track progress and reach a goal you set. Being vague, as we’ve seen happen with most people, makes it way easier to walk away from your mission. Saying you’ll ‘exercise more’, or ‘lose more weight’ is not specific enough, and will most likely fizzle away by February.

Rather than the vague goal of exercising or losing weight, you may have more success choosing a 5K, or a fitness competition that you’d like to work towards and challenge yourself in. You can also try giving yourself a reasonable amount of weight and a deadline to lose that weight.

Don’t Be Negative

Framing your goal in negative terms does you no favors. Saying you want to ‘stop’ doing something because it’s bad, it’s going to be on your mind. You can set the same goal, but in different terms to give yourself a mental edge.

For instance, if your goal is to stop eating junk food try setting a New Year resolution like: when I’m craving a snack, I’m going to have some peanut butter and veggies, an avocado, or another healthy choice. What you’ve done here is taken the focus off of the negative choices in your past, and more focus and emphasis on the healthy choices you plan to make.

Be Relevant

Some of the most cliche resolutions people set are ‘go on a diet’, ‘go to the gym’, and ‘spend more time with family’. These are all positive concepts, but not always relevant to the person setting out for the goal.

Instead of going on a vague diet, consider shutting out a certain food, or foods, that you know have contributed to unhealthy fats and cholesterol. This won’t shake the foundation of your normal routine, but it will definitely put a dent in your unhealthy choices. I recommend trying to stop using cream in your coffee and/or sugary sodas.

Maybe you’re not meant to go to the gym every day starting at age 43, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start a sustainable and effective fitness routine. If you can manage to exercise for 20-30 minutes, 3 times per week, you are going to see positive results mentally and physically. You can do this at home. No gym needed.

  1. Put on some sneakers
  2. Stretch for 5 minutes
  3. Walk for 5 minutes
  4. Jog for 10 minutes
  5. Cool down with a walk for another 5 minutes.

If you can do that 3 times per week, you will naturally find yourself running for triple that time by April. You can replace the running with a bicycle, or a different exercise. Most importantly, your mental health will immediately be noticeably better.


If spending more time with your family is a goal, don’t be vague. Ask your family if there’s a good time each week for everyone to get together for dinner. If you’re going to miss the designated day one week, make sure to reschedule for the following day; don’t break the structure.

Be specific to you, frame your goal in positive terms, and be relevant to you and your lifestyle.

Happy New Year, and the best of luck with your resolutions. 

Posted by Marc Charles


Marc Charles has worked in Radio since 2005. Marc has been active in media in Detroit, Ohio, Canada, and Florida. When he's not blogging for Money Talk Radio, he covers UFC. Follow Marc on social media @TheLegalManMarc & @TheOctagram.