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Why 92% of New Year’s Resolutions Fail (and How To Set One That Won’t)

I’m tired of New Year’s Resolutions, aren’t you?

I’ve made plenty of them. Care to guess how many I’ve stuck with? And (let’s be honest) I know I’m not alone.

Last year, I said, “Enough!”—and it resonated with women around the world. This year, I want to help other women do the same. That’s why I’m starting the Resolution Revolution, and I want you to join me! Read on for all the details…

The time for a revolution is now!

Every year, millions of women around the world look back, take stock and count up all the ways they feel they’ve failed, didn’t measure up, didn’t do enough. They look toward the fresh start of a new year with renewed hope that this will finally be their year. They’ll finally do better. They’ll finally be better. They’ll finally be enough. They’ll finally be happy… if they just lose 20 pounds, if they just make that career change, if they just get that degree or certificate, if they just get rid of their debt. If, if, if…

The Resolution Revolution aims to change the way we think about and set New Year’s Resolutions for ourselves. I want to inspire women around the world to approach making changes from a positive place, instead of repeating that old cycle year after year.

Fact: only about 8 percent of people who make New Year’s Resolutions actually keep them and realize their goal.

If you’re one of the other 92%, it’s easy to feel like you’ve failed, it’s just too hard, and if you can’t achieve [insert your goal here] when your motivation is at an all-time high, then you begin to believe that you’re never going to be able to.

So… should I not make resolutions?

Making a New Year’s resolution isn’t a bad thing. In fact, if you want to make a change, making a New Year’s resolution has been shown to result in better success than not making a resolution about the desired change.1 However, according to psychologist and Girls Gone Strong expert, Dr. Lisa Lewis, “People often use the resolution as a motivator, and this effect can wear off pretty quickly.” She adds that just using the resolution itself as motivation can lead to making pretty big—and often unrealistic—goals that can “set you up for failure and abandonment of the goal altogether.”

The Problem With the Typical Resolutions

If you’ve had a hard time sticking with resolutions in the past, chances are that the problem is the resolution itself.

“Setting a big ambitious goal gives a false sense of confidence,” says Dr. Lewis.2 “Then, once the person starts working on the goal and can’t make progress, its feels like a big failure, and they give up entirely.”

A Simple Shift For Big Results

What if one simple shift could flip your resolution around and significantly increase the likelihood that you’ll stick with it? Would you want to know what that shift is? (Of course!)

It’s changing your resolution from an outcome-based resolution to an action-based resolution.

When most of us set a resolution for ourselves, we think of what we want the ultimate outcome to be. We want to make more money, have a better relationship, or finally lose the last 20 pounds. Most of these outcome-based resolutions emerge from the negative self-talk so pervasive in our everyday lives—and that is why, more often than not, they are bound take us nowhere.

The thing is that the outcomes of these resolutions are determined by a number of factors, including environmental and physiological factors. Factors that are often outside of our control. We are short-changing ourselves with this approach.

Let’s take losing 20 pounds as an example. Here are some factors that may affect that outcome:


  • You get slammed at work
  • You move to a new city
  • Your kids keep getting sick
  • Your spouse loses their job
  • Your income is reduced


  • You’re getting older
  • You don’t sleep well
  • You’re having hormones issues
  • You’re dealing with food sensitivities
  • You get sick or suffer an injury

If you’re slammed at work or your kids keep getting sick, it may affect how much time you can spend working out or preparing healthy food. If your spouse loses their job or you experience a loss of income, it may affect whether you can keep your gym membership or you may have to get a second job.

If you’re not sleeping well or you’re having hormone issues, your body may not respond to diet and exercise the way it used to or the way you expect it to. If you are sick or injured, you may not be able to work out with the intensity that you’d like, or in some cases you may not be able to work out at all.

You get the picture.

You can’t make your body do what you want it to do. However, you can control what you do.

It is much more empowering and effective to approach a change for the better from a positive place, and set action-based resolutions, allowing you to work on the things that you can control.

If you’re ready to jump into the new year with a positive, action-based resolution, join the revolution!

The Resolution Revolution

To join the revolution, download our FREE Resolution Revolution Action Kit, which includes:

  • The Resolution Revolution Jumpstart, a step-by-step checklist for how to take part in the Revolution.
  • The Resolution Revolution Success Guide: 5 Keys to Making Resolutions You’ll Stick With, outlining the recipe for structuring action-based goals and timelines that you can truly achieve.
  • 4 Bonus Tips For Lasting Success will help you get the best out of the journey and nail those goals.
  • The Resolution Revolution Pledge. You’ll use it to let others know what you’re doing and invite them to join the revolution.

Even better? When you join the Resolution Revolution (#RR2017) you’ll be eligible to win some HUGE prizes including:

  • A copy of MWG Platinum Edition — $199 value each (3 winners)
  • $500 Strongest You Coaching Scholarship (2 winners)
  • GGS Apparel — $50 value each (5 winners)

Here’s what you need to do to enter the giveaway:

  1. Go to this page and enter your email to receive your FREE Resolution Revolution Action Kit
  2. Fill out the official Resolution Revolution Pledge (included in the Action Kit).
  3. Make sure you’ve liked or followed Girls Gone Strong on your favorite social media platform (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest).
  4. Starting January 1st, post a photo or video of yourself on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest with your Resolution Revolution Pledge Card and the hashtag #RR2017. On this post, tell us why participating in the RR is important to you and why you chose your goal. Important: You must use #RR2017 on your posts to be eligible for the prizes!
  5. Tag three of your friends and invite them to participate.

We will be drawing winners twice a week, so the sooner you participate, the more chances you have to win!


  1. Norcross, J. C., Mrykalo, M. S. & Blagys, M. D. (2002), Auld lang Syne: Success predictors, change processes, and self-reported outcomes of New Year’s resolvers and nonresolvers. J. Clin. Psychol., 58: 397–405. doi:10.1002/jclp.1151
  2. Polivy, J., & Herman, C. (2000). The False-Hope Syndrome: Unfulfilled Expectations of Self-Change. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 9(4), 128-131.


About The Author: Molly Galbraith

Molly Galbraith, CSCS is co-founder and owner of Girls Gone Strong, a global movement that aims to empower women to embrace all that's possible for their lives and for their bodies through body-positive, evidence-based, nutrition, training, and self-care information. She is also the author of The Modern Woman's Guide to Strength Training. As a former figure competitor who dabbled in powerlifting, Molly understands the more extreme side of training and nutrition, and after years of personal struggle with her own body image and self-worth, Molly is committed to helping women embrace their bodies and fall in love with themselves, and teaching other coaches and trainers how to better understand, connect with, and serve their women clients. Learn more about Molly on her website and connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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