A few weeks into the new year, you’re still loving your fabulous new workout gear, sticking to an earlier bedtime, and cutting back on your booze intake. New Year’s resolutions? So far, so good. What happens, though, in February and March? If you tend to fall off the goals wagon two to three months after January 1, you’re not alone. A recent survey of over 2,000 Americans revealed — among other things — 23 percent of participants say two to three months is the *longest* they’ve ever maintained a resolution. See? We’re all in this together!

curvy woman working out

Here are a few of the other interesting findings from the survey. It feels good to know that for so many of us, resolutions can be just as frustrating as they are inspiring.

The Goals

  • The vast majority of New Year’s resolutions are related to health, fitness, and weight loss. Of the survey’s participants, 71 percent said they’d resolved to eat healthier, 65 percent had committed to more exercise, and 54 percent wanted to see a change on the scale. Budgeting was also a priority, but much less so — just 32 percent of respondents said they wanted to save more in 2017.
  • While women were more likely than men to make health and wellness goals, men were more likely to pledge to drink less alcohol (20 percent of men v. 11 percent of women) and find another job in the new year (19 percent of men v. 14 percent of women).
  • Millennials were more likely to resolve to learn a new skill or hobby or to read more in 2017, as compared to Generation X-ers and Baby Boomers, but diet and exercise was still the focus for the 18-35 set.
African American woman slicing vegetables

The Obstacles

  • The resolutions that most often fail? Healthier eating, more regular exercise, and weight loss. There’s a sad irony to the fact that the resolutions we are most likely to set are also most likely to be unsuccessful, no?
  • 58 percent of respondents said they failed to maintain their resolutions because of “not enough willpower.” The second most common answer was “lack of a plan” (44 percent), followed by “time management” (32 percent).
  • The highest percentage of Americans who failed to stick with a resolution live in the Midwest. If these are the same people who said they wanted to make a better effort to get outside and get active, this statistic makes total sense — Midwestern winters are no joke!

Since the results show that health- and fitness-related resolutions are most likely to both be made and forgotten, we reached out to Joselynne Boschen, lifestyle and fitness expert at health app Lifesum, for advice on how to stick with our goals beyond the critical two-to-three month point. Keep reading for Boschen’s top six suggestions.

Thoughtful woman writing in journal


1. Write your goal down. You’re more likely to stay motivated to reach health goals when you take the time to spell them out specifically. What’s that you say — you already did write down your resolutions in December or January? If you’re struggling to maintain that resolution, maybe it’s time to leave a reminder for yourself in a place where you’ll see it more often. Consider sticking a Post-it note to your mirror or setting a daily alarm on your phone.

2. Consider your schedule. If you’re struggling to make time for meal prep or working out, sit down with your planner and think about how you can be more deliberate with your time. Now that you’re settling into the new year and are back in the groove at work, maybe it’ll be easier to make your health a priority.

3. Use the buddy system. “The people around you will directly affect your results,” Boschen says. “Be it someone that’s dieting and working out with you or someone that’ll ask you to be honest about the progress you are making, having another person invested in your journey really helps.” Fitness-tracking apps are a good option too, but Boschen discourages you from turning to any technology that focuses solely on calorie intake (phew!).

Active women stretching on beach

4. Build in mini-rewards. Your new and improved health regimen is definitely helping you save money — those ice cream runs and happy hours add up, after all. Once or twice a month, figure out how much cash your (successful) resolutions are helping you put away, and use those funds to get yourself a massage, manicure, or even a new workout outfit. Did we mention we love this idea?

5. Keep your goals reasonable. We’re all strong ladies, so if insufficient willpower is the number-one reason that most of us quit on our New Year’s resolutions, maybe we should consider whether we’re setting attainable goals for ourselves in the first place. “If you’ve made a goal for the right reasons, you’ll be proud to work toward it,” Boschen says. “Deprivation leads to hiccups or failures, so don’t cut out everything you love to meet a difficult target.”

6. Make the calendar work for you. When it comes to meeting any health or fitness goal, Boschen says it’s important to set deadlines. Consider breaking your New Year’s resolution down into smaller pieces and assigning a shorter-term date to each. Your bigger picture goal will feel more within reach, and you’ll be less likely to give up!

Why do you lose motivation to stick to your New Year’s resolutions? Tweet us @BritandCo!

(Photos via Getty)