Do New Year’s Resolutions Really Work?

Healthy Lifestyle

Dr Gina Cleo

The turn of a new year can be a time for reflecting on the year we’ve just had (and what a year that was!) and setting goals and resolutions for the year ahead.  

When it comes to New Year's Resolutions, it can be tempting to want a whole life overhaul – we want to lose weight, get fit, save more money, be better parents, better partners, better friends, travel more, start a new hobby, meditate, start a gratitude journal etc. 

But research shows that the bigger the goals we set for ourselves, the less time we commit to that goal because we get overwhelmed. We also know that trying to work towards big goals or having too many goals, is not only harder to achieve, but they’re also harder to maintain when compared with setting smaller goals.   

We can sometimes have this misconception that the beginning of the year turns over this new superpower of feeling motivated and being a better version of ourselves … but motivation isn’t a magic fairy that arrives in January, so if your NY Resolutions don’t fit in with your lifestyle the way it is now, then they’re not likely to be sustained for very long. 

This is one of the reasons that up to 92% of NY Resolutions fail by the end of February. So, to be in the 8% that do achieve their NY goals, here are three ways to rethink resolutions.  

Focus on the process, not the outcome 

Focus on the actions that will help you become healthier, fitter, happier, not just the end result. So instead of saying 'I want to run 5 km', say, 'I will consistently go running three days a week'. 

If you consistently run 3 days a week, you will eventually run 5 km.  

The Power of Three 

Did you know, our brains are only capable of making up to three changes at once! Any more than three changes can cause overwhelm and when we feel overwhelmed, we become vulnerable to procrastinating and eventually give up all together. 

This year commit to just three tiny habit changes that are realistic and sustainable. You'll be amazed at how much you achieve.  

Stay accountable 

Once you’ve selected the goals you want to achieve in 2023, having accountability and tracking your progress is key to achieving those goals. Simply sharing your goals and chatting about your progress with family and close friends, can help keep you motivated and on track. You can also use a Habit Tracker to track your progress.  

Dr Gina Cleo

Please note: Dr Gina's blog is general advice only. For further information on this topic, please consult your healthcare professional.

Add a Comment

  1. Enter your comments


Your details