The Science of Sticking to Your New Year’s Resolution.

Happy New Year!

According to a study by Richard Wiseman, a psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire, only 22% of us have managed to keep our New Year’s resolutions. In other studies, I’ve seen that number as low was 8%. Whether it’s hitting the gym, changing our diet or kicking bad habits, when it comes to New Year’s resolutions, our success rate is alarming low.

But Wiseman’s team doesn’t stop there and asks the all-important question, “Why?” Why are so many people unable to keep their resolutions?

For the 78% of people that didn’t stick to their resolutions, the study found common themes. These individuals:

  • Focused on the downside of not achieving their goals,
  • Suppressed cravings,
  • Adopted a role model,
  • Or relied on willpower alone.

The individuals that stuck to their resolutions, on the other hand, tended to:

  • Break their large goals into small steps and create small changes that, over time, added up,
  • Celebrate their milestones,
  • Share their goals with friends (for additional accountability),
  • Focus on the benefits of success (i.e., how their resolution would improve the quality of their life),
  • Keep a diary of their progress.

Following the above strategies increases the probability of success to a whopping 50% – and it speaks to the necessity of creating a do-able, realistic plan and the importance of internal motivation, rewards and external accountability.

Of course, if you don’t stick to your resolution, I wouldn’t view it as failure. Doing so, as Wiseman notes, “is often psychologically harmful because it can rob people of a sense of self control.” Instead, it’s wiser to view our missteps are learning experiences. If you try to build muscle, for example, and don’t – well, then you know you need to use a different approach. After all, failure isn’t falling down – it’s staying down.

Here’s to a happy and healthy 2012!

About Davey Wavey

Davey Wavey is a certified personal trainer and YouTube sensation with more than 250 million video views. For Davey's fitness tips and secrets, sign up for his free monthly newsletter - or download any of his affordable and effective workout programs.


  1. Christopher says:

    Davey you always have really good pictures at the start of your blogs..haha I love them 🙂

  2. Ditto!!!!!!!!!!

  3. I’ll take both, thank you!

  4. My New Year’s resolution? To be in a tub with two sexy men O.o It looks like SO much fun!

  5. i love the picture of you at the top of the blog Mr Serious XD

  6. Cool tips. I have been thinking of my new years resolution, and the 30 it’s I want to loose was a daunting task, but breaking it up into smaller goals should do the trick…. Thanx

  7. 伟人经常犯错误,经常要摔倒,但虫子不会。因为。它们做的事情就是挖洞和爬行。