How To Ensure Your New Year's Resolutions Don't Fail This Year

While it's not uncommon for people to make New Year's resolutions, it's far rarer for them to give up before they even begin. According to research cited by Inc, about 80% of people fail to reach their New Year's resolutions, and the cut-off is often around February. This would seem to suggest that the resolution-making process itself is relatively pointless ... but is that true?

As The Economic Times reports, 16% of people are actually able to follow through with their resolutions, indicating that not everyone fails. That being said, there may be several reasons why some people succeed while others wave goodbye to their resolutions within two months. Psychotherapist Jonathan Alpert told Insider that a lack of specificity is a common problem. "It's easier to drop out or walk away when you set goals or resolutions that are vague," Alpert explained to Insider. "When it's really detailed and specific, it's harder to walk away from it."

Many people also succumb to peer pressure when creating their New Year's resolutions. Although that group mentality may initially seem like a good plan, it can ultimately set you up for failure, according to Alpert. "So often, people seem to be influenced by their friends, their family, what they see in society," Alpert told Insider. "I think it's important for people to set goals that are for themselves and unique to themselves." Here is how you can ensure your New Year's resolutions don't fall by the wayside.

Hold yourself accountable for your goals

If you are serious about sticking to your New Year's resolutions, you'll need to find a way to hold yourself accountable until you achieve your goals. Forbes notes that many people often don't have the structure in place to help them make significant changes. One tactic that can help is to seek outside help from an accountability partner. This person should not only have faith in your ability to accomplish your goal but provide you with honest feedback on your approach.

While on the hunt for an accountability partner, Forbes recommends looking elsewhere before turning to a friend. Although this might be your first instinct, your accountability coach needs to be willing to call you out when you're taking steps backward — a friend who is doubling as an accountability partner may end up in an awkward position.

As you look for someone to fill the job, make sure they are also willing to create a game plan with you and block off time to assess your progress. Your partner should be honest with you every step of the way. If you feel that your arrangement is not working at any point, don't hesitate to part ways to find something that is a better fit for you — remember, these are New Year's resolutions that you developed for yourself!

Be prepared to face your fears

As Forbes notes, many New Year's resolutions are never realized because people are afraid of seeing them come true. There can be many reasons for this, ranging from the belief that we simply don't deserve to achieve our goals to the simple fear of outshining others. Understanding and identifying these barriers can help you on your journey to achieving your resolutions.

There are other tips you can try along the way to make it easier to tackle your fears. The National Health Service recommends taking breaks when you need to if you become overwhelmed by roadblocks, even if it's just for 15 minutes. Keep in mind that the goal also isn't to be perfect — setbacks are inevitable, but this doesn't mean you have to give up. If you find that your fears are becoming overwhelming, don't hesitate to reach out to a friend, family member, or even a mental health professional for assistance. There are several options available to you, such as therapy, if you struggle at any point on your journey.

If you or someone you know needs help with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

Stay positive about your resolutions

Whether your goal is to lose a few pounds before beach weather arrives or simply organize your closet, Insider recommends staying positive — but this doesn't just mean having an optimistic attitude. Much of it can come down to the language you use, according to psychotherapist Jonathan Alpert. "So much of how we talk to ourselves impacts our actions and our behavior," Alpert told the publication. "We need to feed ourselves positive self-talk. Instead of telling ourselves 'Don't eat junk food,' we should be telling us the behavior we desire, like 'Eat carrots and peanut butter as a healthy snack.'"

Using negative words in your self-talk, such as "won't" and "don't," can ultimately demotivate you at the end of the day. If you're already worried about not being able to achieve your goals, negative language can set you back even further. However, using positive language doesn't come naturally to everyone. Healthline recommends some tips, including practicing daily. Adopting some positive affirmations, surrounding yourself with positive people, and finding time to inject a little humor into your everyday life can also be beneficial.

Just don't forget to check in with your feelings — a so-called bad day or bad situation can be a big downer. However, you don't need to let it tank all of your efforts. When you feel those negative feelings developing, take a moment to stop and reassess how you can reframe the situation.

Identify why your past New Year's resolutions failed

Although you might have had the best of intentions when you set past New Year's resolutions, you may cringe looking back on them today — but why? WebMD notes that taking the time to reflect on why you didn't follow through on your resolutions in the past can give you a better shot at achieving your goals in the future. "We often set lofty goals for the future without honestly assessing why we've struggled in the past," trauma specialist Britt Frank told WebMD. "Without examining where we are resistant to change ... the cycle of resolve, relapse, repeat continues year after year. Breaking behavioral cycles requires a rigorous commitment to honesty at all costs." By understanding what's held you back in the past, you can take more productive steps in the future.

Clinical psychologist Sabrina Romanoff tells WebMD that it can help to create a plan that consists of both short- and long-term goals. "Creating an action plan which links the long-term goal with near-term achievable and realistic goals will ensure success," Romanoff told the source. As you achieve the short-term goals, you'll also be able to sustain your level of motivation to reach your long-term goals, per Deakin University. Having short-term goals can help you avoid falling into the dreaded pitfall known as procrastination as well.

Narrow down your list of New Year's resolutions

As soon as the hype begins to build around New Year's and resolution-setting, you'll likely develop a long list of things you want to accomplish within the coming months. However, CBS News notes that this often leads to an overwhelming feeling that can spell disaster. Narrowing down the list of goals you want to achieve — even settling on a single resolution — can increase your odds of success. "Think to yourself, 'If I knew that this was going to be my final year on earth, how would I really want to spend that time?'" Dr. Stephen Graef, a sports psychologist at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, told CBS News.

Another tip you can try is to think about which resolutions would serve you best if you were to accomplish them. "Am I going to spend three months learning salsa dancing? Or if there's an opportunity in the future to do a lot more public speaking, maybe someone would rather spend those three months on that because they know it's going to have the most transcendent impact on not only their career but their comfort level in other social settings, as well," Dr. Graef said.

Being able to cross off just one New Year's resolution on your list is an accomplishment in itself. Keeping this in mind can fuel your motivation and ensure that you don't fall into the pitfalls of failing to reach your resolutions.