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Why you can’t keep your new year’s resolutions (and what to do about it)

“Happy New Year!” The ball drops, champagne flows, another year under our belt. Everyone who ate like famished swine vow it’s gonna be different. Those who are broke will be smarter. Singles roll up their sleeves to download dreaded dating apps (cue theme song).

New Years can feel incredibly cliché. Gyms are packed until mid-February then people just… disappear – David Blaine style. We’re human and failure is part of succeeding, but it’s important to face the music and admit when something holds us back, like:

1) You didn’t really want to make that goal.
2) You overwhelmed yourself with too many goals.
3) You expected to fail.

And the list goes on. So how can it be different this time? Like, for reals. Here are some cherry-picked tips from a fellow – dare I say obsessive – goal setter.

How Many and By When?

Get specific. I recently completed an incredible program with Momentum Education that focuses on personal development. One of the biggest things I learned about taking action is that goals should be so specific they sound a little ridiculous.

Example: I want to be healthier.

Ok, first – define healthy. It probably means something different to a competitive athlete than it does to that chick who holds a record for fitting the most cheese balls in her mouth.


Take Two: I will exercise at least 4 times a week for at least 30 minutes per workout. I’ll give up soda and white bread until March 15th, at which time I’ll update this goal.

Mic drop.

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At Least

In the above example I mentioned “at least,” at least twice in one sentence (just did it again – boom!). It’s an important statement because, if you’re anything like me, I’m naturally a “stay up the night before with Starbucks and NoDoze to cram” kinda gal. “At least” opens the door to surpass your goal. It’s not a requirement, but avoids the trap to quit while you’re ahead.


Join forces with someone you trust or a person you’re connecting with for the purpose of accountability. Do not team up with a new friend. When you’re starting a relationship, it’s hard to slap a bear claw out of their hand. After all, you want this new person to like you.

Also be honest if your buddy is lying to themselves. We all have varying degrees of twisted realities from time to time. “Well, I didn’t go to the gym, but I parked in the back of the lot and walked to Krispy Kreme.” Of course, find someone who’s willing to shake some sense into you too. People pleasers stay home.


Life is ever-changing and so are humans. Our wants and needs can change in an instant, so it’s important to let your goals evolve with who you are. This isn’t an invitation to quit something when it get challenging, it’s an opportunity to review goals and feel confident you’re headed in the right direction.

The Power of 100

This book is Ahhh-mazing. After reading tons of material on goal setting, this one resonates for me most. The idea is to create goals in every category of your life (there are 7) and make about 13-15 goals in each one. The fun part is for each category, you set Your Outrageously Ridiculous Goal. It should sound crazy and close to impossible to finish, but you’ll back away from that and set smaller goals to move you toward the big dream. It keeps things active and on track for something you really believe in. Open-ended “busy” work that sounds productive is an easy trap to fall into. It won’t move you forward after the present moment and distracts from the things that matter most. BOOK INFO HERE

All Things Considered

If you’re a new goal setter and really want to create change, start small. Experiment with what works and build from there. Everyone responds to methods differently – the whole idea of setting goals is to live life YOUR way. Collect information, tweak it, and develop your own approach.

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Written by Shelley Dennis

From the farm to the catwalk, Shelley Dennis’ experiences have provided her with the ability to create multifaceted characters with unique points of view.

Shelley grew up in small town Oklahoma, population: 700. She quickly fell in love with theatre and bringing compelling characters to life. As early as elementary school she was writing her own plays. When her third grade class was “good,” the teacher allowed Shelley to grace the class with her performance.

She took a brief time-out when she was scouted by a modeling agency and flown halfway across the world to Milan, where she made a living for two years by being tall and hungry.

Now, as a RECOVERING MODEL (also the name of her webseries) Shelley has rehabilitated herself on the improv stage at Groundlings and UCB, as well as performed standup all over the country. She has written for Disney and toured alongside Wayne Brady, doing both standup and improv.

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