New Year’s Resolutions Don’t Work

by Self-Care Tips

How to Avoid Feeling BURNT OUT Around the Holidays

This blog is going to either feel really cathartic and relatable to some or is going to really disappoint some people. I am hopeful by the end you will hear me out. Let’s dive into WHY NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS DO NOT WORK!!

You know what I am talking about – you go to the gym on Jan 1 and 8000000 people are there compared to Dec 31… you see all the people meal prepping and bullet journaling on Instagram. You are like what the heck – why is everyone doing this NOW I have been a loyal bullet journaler for years! Well… you are not alone in feeling this way. 

For starters, did you know that according to google: Less than 8% of people actually stick to their resolutions each year, according to some estimates, yet millions of Americans continue to set goals with high hopes of a better year ahead.


Why do we keep doing it?

The new year truly feels like a fresh start. If you had a rough year or did not meet some goals, the new year logistically just FEELS better as a starting point. It can be difficult to start something new (in our brains) because it feels like we cannot rationally make a change in 1 month versus 12 months. 

We also are hopeful beings who want to change… despite some of our resistances. We know that we want big things, and we are drawn in my all the marketing, black friday deals, etc. 

It feels much more likely to stick if we set a goal like a new years resolution. It is SO LEGIT, right?

We create all our planners and journals and trackers for 2022 in December to prep – so it feels like the right time to goal set. 

What goes wrong?


1) Not everyone is driven by rules and guidelines.


There is a great book out there called the Four Tendencies, which talks about how we are driven to succeed (through external accountability, internal accountability, or neither). One of the least common tendencies is the UPHOLDER – which draws all its strength from internal accountability. Most of us are Obligers – drawn to external accountability. That means your internal goals will wither QUICK without systems in place to make them happen.


2) Goal-setting takes time.


Goal-setting and habit formation takes at least 21 days to start but really about 2 months to get comfortable. Most people give up on resolutions in a couple weeks.

3) We set too high of expectation for ourselves


We all will fail them. With the hope comes the unrealisticness of it all – we tend to set a million goals at once and then cannot do any of them well. To really change a habit, you need to be directing your efforts to one specific thing at a time.  

4) We set goals for others, not ourselves.


New Year’s is ripe with guilt trips. You SHOULD BE skinnier. You SHOULD BE fitter. You SHOULD BE richer. The problem with shoulds and any other goal for someone else is that the only goals we actually stick to are ones that come from our own intrinsic desires. Why is it that you can stick to something you enjoy more than something that feels like a chore?  BECAUSE we like to do it! AND you can like to do your goals too!

For example, for 2022, my goals are to take more days off work, try new things more often, and ditch my phone more often. These goals are created out of a desire for me to be more present AND ditch my fear of failure. Four years ago, my goals were to be 135 pounds by July, and to lift x weights, and to run this fast, and to learn how to braid my hair, and to cook more healthy foods…. All of which I did not do. Why? Because I did not really want to learn how to braid. I did not WANT to workout like that. We need to get better at finding sustainable, fun habits NOT goals for other people. 

5) We don’t address the bigger issues lurking beneath the surface.


This is the most crucial one – we usually set goals because we feel bad about ourselves because we spent the holidays with family and everyone said we needed a new job. The guilt-induced habits are the problem – yet – are you addressing your boundary issues? Are you addressing your need to people please? If you do not get in touch with your inner demons, they will keep coming out and sabotaging you. We use the New Year as a crutch to lie to ourselves that we will do better without really addressing the core problems and needs. That’s why we literally will push it off until Jan 1 when we could start Dec 30 because we don’t ACTUALLY want to do it. We just feel like we have to because we are covering up for something deeper. 

How to do it better?

1) Check-in on what motivates you most. Take the four tendencies quiz, and learn more about you. Journal about what has worked and what has not for you. Use this to better set goals that align to you.

2) When the going get tough, keep going but make it fun. So, if day 18 of meditation feels like a shit show… choose a music meditation that day and do it for 2 minutes not 8. Flexibility and consistency show success more than rigidity. 

3) Start small. Pick a goal in each arena (which all conveniently start with F): Finances/Work, Fitness (Mental), Fitness (Physical), Friends, Family, Fun/Personal. Write those goals down. You now have only 6 goals, 1 in each important area of your life. It makes it spicy so you don’t get bored, hits on all the important areas, and gets you lasered in on ONE CHANGE AT A TIME. Once you hit a goal, then focus on a new one. You can create more than one goal at a time in each area, but only focus on one at a time. So, I recommend just starting with setting one in the beginning.

4) Read books on goal setting like Atomic Habits or the One Thing. If you really struggle to meet goals, these books can help you with breaking down habits, making them specific.

5) Hire a coach or support system. If you struggle to know what is beneath the surface and always self-sabotage, get support. You may be surprised that you are holding yourself back because you don’t feel good enough. WHO KNOWS. 

6) Make it fun. This is the most important one. It has been proven that we stick to the things we enjoy most/the things that provide the most benefits. It is no mystery that we stick to Netflix and not our meditation habits. So, how can you make it enjoyable? How can you make yourself like it? Tips: Find what feels good and lean in. Most people feel like a goal has to be painful to be worth it. If you want to work out more, join a dance class NOT a boot camp class if you don’t really like working out. (yes – some people LIKE athletics; some do not). If you want to get better at meditating, find a really funny and inspirational teacher and do their live workshops DON’T silently meditate. If you want to eat healthier, buy a cookbook that includes all the foods you love DO NOT go on a Whole30 diet and cleanse and eat only juice. 


7) Start it before New Year’s if you are serious about it. If you tell yourself that you will do it upon the new year, it is not that important to you. Setting arbitrary rules like the new year is the type of rigidity that traps you not helps you. 

And with that – that is all I have on New Year’s – I hope this helps.

And I wanted to end with a call to action: Go out and do something you want to do NOW.

What is it? 

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Burnout Coach Kat Kiseli

Hi, I’m Kat

I’m on a Mission to Help High Achievers Find Happiness & Balance


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