New Year’s Resolutions are Hard to Live Up To

Dr. Nydia Nunez-Estrada, family medicine physician at Eskenazi Health, offers guidance on setting and maintaining New Year's resolutions. 

Every year at this time many of us consider whether or not to establish any New Year’s resolutions in an effort to improve our lives.

For those who set new goals at the beginning of each year, they do so with the firm belief that through sheer will and dedication they will be successful and their lives will be better for it. They’ll walk away triumphant with an enormous sense of accomplishment.

However, for most eager and well-meaning New Year’s resolutions enthusiasts, more often than not what they set out to do soon fizzles out and becomes nothing more than a fool’s errand.

According to U.S. News & World Report, the failure rate for New Year’s resolutions is approximately 80 percent, and most individuals give up on the task by mid-February.

Although the odds are stacked against success when it comes to New Year’s resolutions, there are many popular ones that, depending on one’s circumstances, are worth working towards.

Some of the most popular resolutions are to exercise more, quit smoking, save money/spend less, learn a new skill or hobby, read more, get organized, live life to the fullest, spend more time with family and friends, or travel more.

Once you establish a resolution, the key is to create a plan that will help you reach your newfound goal and that should begin by mentally preparing yourself for change. At the end of one year and the beginning of another, it’s the ideal time to take a look at last year’s accomplishments. Take the time to review what you set out to do in the previous year and be honest with yourself about where you made or did not make progress.

You’ll want to do all you can to stay upbeat about your new resolution. That positive association combined with last year’s accomplishments will remind you of the good feelings you’ve experienced when you take on a challenge and succeed. Try not to make changes too quickly or too drastically. Build on smaller changes and allow a little room for error.

Never burden yourself with too many resolutions at a time. Make sure that the goals you set for yourself are all manageable and be realistic about them. Setting up too many goals is unmanageable and will only lead to frustration and failure.

Choose a goal or goals that you know are attainable, yet challenging, and give yourself an adequate time-frame in which to achieve a goal. Don’t look at a deadline to achieve a goal simply as something that instills urgency, but as a date when you can celebrate your success.

If you’re serious about achieving your resolution, you need to review your progress regularly. At a minimum, this should be monthly, but the more frequent the better. Although it may seem a little overboard to think about your resolution every single day, it is those incremental steps that lead to positive changes over the course of a single year. Attention to detail works towards achieving your desired results.

Know and accept the fact that you’re human and setbacks will happen along the way, but as long as they’re addressed in the right manner, they will not impact the overall big picture goal you set for yourself. Once a mistake is made, own it and move on to the next thing. The key is to avoid a defeatist attitude at all costs.

If you have concerns or questions about your health, the health of someone in your family or are in need of a primary care physician for yourself or someone else, please call 317-880-7666 or visit

Dr. Nydia Nunez-Estrada
Family Medicine Physician at Eskenazi Health

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