January 03, 2024

Only 7% of people complete their New Year resolutions. Here’s why it’s so damn hard.

For many people, January is the month for New Year’s resolutions. However, research has found only 7% of people actually complete them. So, why is it that so few people actually complete their resolutions?

We sat down with Bec McWilliam, a holistic psychologist based in the Gold Coast, to get to the bottom of why New Year resolutions can be so hard to complete and why we need to change our focus to ‘feeling good’ in 2024.

Why is it so hard for people to complete their New Year resolutions?

Every year people seem to always ask the same question: What is your new year’s resolution? In theory, this question comes from a good place, however making and maintaining a new year’s resolution can cause stress and guilt if not followed through. The difficulty people face in completing their New Year’s resolutions can be attributed to various factors.

Mostly, many of us set overly ambitious goals without considering our current habits, resources, and capacities. Unrealistic expectations can lead to frustration and a sense of failure, making it challenging to sustain the effort required for long-term change.

What happens to our self-esteem when we fail to achieve our unrealistic resolutions?

Setting unrealistic resolutions and struggling to achieve them can have significant implications for our self-esteem and mental health, such as stress, guilt, demotivation and self-blame – where we attribute the failure to personal flaws rather than recognising the unrealistic nature of the goals. 

People often compare themselves to others, especially in the age of social media. Seeing others apparently succeed in their resolutions may exacerbate feelings of inadequacy and intensify the negative impact on self-esteem. It’s essential to recognise that everyone’s journey is unique, and comparisons may not accurately reflect the reality of others’ experiences.

So, how can we avoid this?

Instead of setting vague resolutions such as “exercise more”, we can benefit from setting realistic, specific goals, habit stacking and building habits gradually, creating a supportive environment, and addressing psychological and physical factors that may hinder progress.

Developing a growth mindset, where challenges (like Kic’s Feel Good Challenge) are viewed as opportunities for learning and growth, can also contribute to long-term success. It is also important to note that you don’t have to wait for the new year to start! 

Why is it so important that we focus on feeling good in 2024, rather than looking a certain way?

Focusing on feeling good rather than solely on looking a certain way has several psychological benefits. What I mean by “feeling good” is a more balanced and healthier relationship to self.

Shifting your focus from unrealistic resolutions to feeling good, can lead to increased self esteem, more authentic self-expression, and helps you to adopt a more positive mindset.

So, this year, we’re saying ‘no’ to unrealistic resolutions, instead making 2024 the year we focus on feeling good. Want to join us? 

Bec McWilliam