New Year Resolutions: Are you setting yourself up to fail?

This week, Jack Driver, shares his thoughts on New Year’s Resolutions and setting goals. He reflects on goals he set last year and how he managed to achieve these.

Statistically, 80% of New Year resolutions fail by February and just 8% of people manage to achieve them. The problem is setting up the first of January to be the symbolism of starting something new and that resolutions tend to be fairly generic and hard to measure. If you fail, your goal will remain abandoned until the next year. It need not be like this. You could start again tomorrow.

If you remove the symbolism of the New Year resolution, essentially, it is just setting goals for yourself, and you can do that at any time of the year. Pick Monday, or the 1st of the month for example. Personally I like to use my birthday (which is today) to set myself goals for the coming year.

On my last birthday, I decided to get a new job, enter a race, read a book per month, and visit a new country. I managed to achieve three of these goals. The reading a book a month was probably a little ambitious, but I did manage one every two months, so I am not going to beat myself up about it. Of the three I did achieve, the one I am most proud of was entering a race.

However, I could not decide which race to enter. I had spent the year sporadically going out for runs, or road cycling, without any schedule or consistency. I felt even more determined when a friend of mine completed the Trans America Bike Race, a 4000 mile bike race across America. I knew anything that ambitious was out of my reach but after reading the September SMART goals article, I decided I had to take the leap. Pick a race.

A 100-mile cycling sportive taking place at the end of September had kept popping up on my social media. With only six weeks to go, and already having what I considered a decent base level of fitness, I decided to enter it. I wrote myself out a training plan and mostly stuck to it, only missing one training session I had set out to do. The actual ride went fairly well, taking me 8 hours, 16 minutes and 46 seconds to get over the finish line, including food breaks. Afterwards, I realised two things. That I could have done with a couple weeks more training but I can really push myself to achieve something when I have a set target to aim for.

Now that I have approached another birthday, I am choosing a fresh set of goals to aim for.


Travel to two new countries (I’m thinking Sweden and I’m open to suggestions for the second)
Read a book per month (this one I’m actually setting out to do, and I’ve read one this year already)
Enter two endurance races (one will be running, one will be cycling)

If you have failed your resolutions already, why not use the first of the month, or Monday, or today to set a new goal? Don’t wait for another New Year’s to get yourself where you want to be.


Thank you so much for sharing this post with us, Jack. If you want to share your thoughts on New Year’s Resolutions with us and tips to stay motivated to set and achieve goals, then you can use #fit150 on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.