3 Things You Need To Do if You’re Already Failing at Your New Year’s Resolutions

According to Forbes, research indicates that 80% of people ditch their resolutions by February. There are several things we can do with that information. The Forbes article suggests an approach that ditches a to-do list and embracing a to-don’t list. Not necessarily a bad plan but, in my honest opinion, it’s not a robust enough strategy when there are substantial projects and goals you actually want to achieve!

So what are you supposed to do when February comes along and you’ve made little to no progress on your goals and you’re already tired or jaded about the whole stinkin’ plan? What do you do when you have no momentum and don’t feel the least bit inspired but you still want to make this year count? In this post, I’m going to share 3 things you need to do if you’re already failing at your new year’s resolutions and you want to do something about it!

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1. Give Yourself Grace

First of all, failure to do or not do something doesn’t mean that you are a failure. There are a lot of variables that go into completing a task or project. If, for whatever reason, there is a change in those variable, whether it was by choice or out of your control, it can impact your ability to do what you set out to do. That seems obvious but it’s important to remember. Sometimes we kick ourselves because we were unable to do something specific but maybe the reasons are legitimate –

  • lack of, or change in energy
  • change in schedule
  • change in finances
  • lack of, or change in opportunity
  • change in relationships
  • change in priorities
  • change in emotional or mental well-being
  • etc.

When change impedes your ability to complete a task, don’t kick yourself, give yourself grace. I’d be willing to bet that 90% of the time you can go back to the drawing board and try again without too much of a problem. Obviously, there are exceptions but they are few and most of the time, you can make up for what might not have happened. So take a deep breath and acknowledge whatever might have caused you lose track or momentum. Ask yourself questions like the following –

  • Am I dealing with emotional stress like disappointment, anxiety, fear, or frustration?
  • Am I dealing with any financial, relational, or physical stressors or crises?
  • Have the resources I originally counted on become more difficult obtain or use?

Asking these kinds of questions will help you to look at your uncompleted tasks through the correct lenses. When you can see why something might not have worked, you’ll be gentler with yourself and not treat yourself like a failure. Because you’re not. I promise.

This leads me to the next step.

2. Evaluate

Now that you’re looking at your resolutions through the proper lenses, let’s evaluate them. I’m going to use some of my own goals as an example for this step (if you want to see my full list of resolutions and goals, you can check them out here).

  1. Lose 25 pounds
  2. Read the whole Bible in a year
  3. Start an address book
  4. Read 100 books

When you’ve completely lost steam on your goals, you need to go back to your list and evaluate

  1. why you chose them
  2. whether or not they’re still relevant

If your goals no longer motivate you to action, then you need to re-acquaint yourself with your why.

  • Why did you choose them in the first place?
  • Why were they important to you?
  • What would happen if you succeeded at your goals?
  • What would happen if you failed?

Evaluate your goals and decide whether or not you should keep them or adjust them. And there’s nothing wrong with feeling either overwhelmed or even underwhelmed by your goals and projects. Either of those feelings can be useful indicators as to whether or not you need to hold onto something. There’s nothing wrong with changing something that isn’t working or may not be worth pursuing. Don’t be afraid to remove something from your list if you need to.

Once you get through evaluating your list, you can move on to the next step.

3. Prioritize

When you know why you want to do something, you’ll be more motivated to make it a priority in your everyday plans. Now that you’ve evaluated your goals, you need to figure out how you’re going to prioritize them. Can you break each goal down into smaller tasks that you can schedule into your planner? I use my PowerSheets for this kind of task breakdown. When you can break big goals and projects down into smaller, bite-sized tasks, they don’t seem as unwieldy or intimidating.

So let’s take another look at the goals I listed above –

  1. Lose 25 pounds
  2. Read the whole Bible in a year
  3. Start an address book
  4. Read 100 books

SIMPLE ROUTINES

Both reading goals can easily be scheduled into the bookends of my day – the morning and evening. I can work through my Bible reading plan in the mornings and spend 20-30 minutes reading through my TBR in the evening before bed. Easy, peasy, lemon squeasy!

Simple projects

In order to start an address book, I need an address book, right? Okay, that’s step one. I can write ‘buy address book’ on my to do list for the week or month. That means I’m looking them up on Amazon, checking my local bookstore or office supplies store if I have time while running errands. After I acquire the address book, I need to start gathering contact information for family and friends. Maybe I need to plan 30 minute blocks into my schedule for the next few weeks to work on that. Or maybe I can dedicate an entire afternoon one weekend this month or next to the project. All of that is doable! And because this project is not urgent, the priority level is a little lower than some of the other goals on my list. If I need to move this around in my schedule because something else was more important, I can. No harm, no foul. It’s something I’d like to get done in the next few months but I can be flexible on it if necessary.

Complex Projects

The 25 pounds is a little more complex. It requires working out, potential changes to my diet, meal planning and prepping, committing to changes my schedule, etc.. This is also going to require coordinating with my husband on things like budget, time, and other resources. How do his wellness goals relate to mine? What can we do together and what are we doing separately? Complex projects like this take patience and honesty. Patience to create a plan and honesty to recognize when you may need to make changes. You’re not going to get it perfect right away. Be okay with failing and trying again. Be okay with making little by little progress over time. A step or two forward is always better than not doing anything at all!


If you’re already feeling defeated, give these three steps a try and give your goals another shot. If you thought they were worth setting in the first place, then don’t give up on them now! I hope these tips help you as you push through your goals and resolutions! What are some things that have helped you stay on track with goals in the past? I’d love to read your ideas in the comments!


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2 Comments

  1. I accumulated my address book, one address at a time. Every time I interacted with someone, I wrote their information down. This way I never got overwhelmed with the volume or by trying to find a window of time to work on it. … When it came time to make my entries look more professional, I used a word processor so the next time I needed to update, it was easy peasy to make a few revisions and print everything out. Sending lots of love 💖 from sunny 🌞 Arizona 🌵😷.

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