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Five Reasons New Year’s Resolutions Fail, And What To Do About It!

Written by: Joel Haasenritter, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


A recent study by the University of Scranton found that 92% of goals are never achieved! Take a minute to think about that… This means that only 8% of those who set goals will ever achieve them. That also means that nearly all of the so-called New Year’s resolutions that people all across the world just made will never come to pass. Why? Because if where you want to go in life or what you want to achieve isn’t set around a system to make sure it happens, then frankly, those resolutions are no better than wishlists left to chance.

How many of us have ended the year and taken a glimpse back, realizing that we didn’t even come close to accomplishing what we were so determined to achieve during the first part of the year? Let’s fix that!

Five Reasons Goals Fail

Here are the five most common reasons goals are never achieved and a structure for how to make sure this year is the year you live your life by design, not default.

1. They Are Not Written Down

If a goal is left to your thoughts, then when your mind gets distracted, your goal will fall by the wayside. You move toward what you focus on. Write your goals down and review them daily.

2. They Are Not Properly Written

When you write your goals down in a format that holds you accountable, it becomes a commitment to yourself. It means you have a choice to either be in integrity with yourself or to contradict your stated desires.

3. They Are Not Reviewed Daily

Starve your distractions, feed your focus. Every night before you go to sleep, take out your list of goals for this year and read them over. Moving your life toward the life you want to live should be a consistent daily habit of reviewing those goals, and taking action on them.

4. You Run Into A Blocker

Blockers have the potential to stop you in your tracks and stall your progress. We all have blockers that get in the way of our success. It could be fear, self-sabotage, or even laziness. If you’d like a deep-dive into all seven of the most common blockers and the accelerators to move you past them, see my previous articles here:

5. The Goal Is Someone Else’s Goal

How many times have we heard, “Why are you doing ‘this’ with your life?” or “You really should be doing ‘this’ with your life”? It is easy to take on someone else’s expectations and make that a part of who we choose to become. But is it really the thing that keeps you up at night because you are so excited for the next day? Stay true to who you are and the dreams you have for your life!

How To Set Your Goals In The Modified S.M.A.R.T. Format

In 1981, George Doran pioneered a S.M.A.R.T. format for setting attainable, achievable goals. In the Oola Framework, we modify it slightly, but the concept is the same: Have a system around becoming the person you want to be, toward your purpose. Then, take daily action toward it. By creating a structure around accomplishing your goals, you will have created the path to do so in measurable, meaningful ways.


Be clear about what you want. If you are unable to identify what it is you really want, you’ll never be able to achieve what it is you need to do in order to get there. “I want to be fit” is not tangible enough. I want to walk a mile three times per week is better. Whether it is a fitness goal, a finance goal, or a desire to reconnect with your spouse, make sure you know exactly what it is you are going after, and write it down.


The only way to know that you are truly moving your life forward is to be able to measure your success. The beautiful thing about this is that when you start measuring your wins, your body releases dopamine, the happy hormone! Create wins toward your goal by taking small steps every day, then look back at the end of the week and see your progress.


There are two important areas when it comes to accountability. The first is to stay accountable to yourself. This means having a system to track progress toward your goals. This could be something as simple as placing a checkmark on a calendar every time you go on that walk or by using something like the Oola app. It is a great way to see from a bird’s eye perspective how consistent you have been over time and track your daily steps.

The second is to be accountable to someone else. Having a group of trusted friends around you to both give you a hand up when you are discouraged, and also give you some tough love when you need to stop binge-watching the latest show to go take that walk, is a powerful way to stay consistent along your journey.


Few things are more discouraging than setting a lofty goal only to realize down the road that it is not realistic. Take time to really evaluate what you want to achieve and what it will take to accomplish that. Perhaps it isn’t the goal that is unrealistic, but some of the precursor steps to get there or the time it will take pull it off.


Once you have the previous items accounted for, set target dates that you will get your goals accomplished. Write the goals and target dates on several index cards or sticky notes and place them strategically so you will see them throughout the day. Having your goals in front of you every day can help motivate you to keep pushing forward.

But remember, daily action is what moves your life in the direction you design, not motivation. Even if all you take are little steps, you will still be that much closer to living your dream life!

The only way to consistently move your life forward is to make SMART goal setting a lifestyle. Waiting until the end of the year to think through where you are now, where you want your life to go, and how you are going to get there, will leave you floundering. Instead, make daily action a daily habit. You might just be surprised at what you can achieve!

Do you want a cheat sheet for living an intentional 2022? Click here for a free “Design Your Dream Life” 2022 Planner!

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Joel Haasenritter, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine Joel Haasenritter is a transformation specialist who helps people in their 30's and 40's, struggling in times of transition, to find balance, growth, and purpose, so they can absolutely crush the next chapter of their lives! After nearly 20 years of owning a highly sought after company serving high-profile clients across the southeast, starting and growing multiple businesses, and coaching a development team to bring their invention to market, Joel turned his life's passion toward helping others live at their highest potential. In addition to his one-on-one coaching services, he is a founding Ambassador with Oola Global, which recently launched a revolutionary personal development digital platform in over 40 countries with the sole mission of impacting one billion lives in the next seven years. His interests include exploring the hiking trails of Arizona, studying the art of Gracie Jiujitsu, and spending time with his family.



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