Why It's So Hard to Keep New Year's Resolutions (and What You Can Do to Stay Motivated)

Nadasaki/iStock via Getty Images
Nadasaki/iStock via Getty Images / Nadasaki/iStock via Getty Images

New Year's resolutions can be either discouraging or life-affirming, depending on how you approach them. For some, it's tempting to glean satisfaction from setting (and accomplishing) easy or nebulous goals. But as SciShow Psych's latest video explains below, psychologists find that we're actually more likely to commit to resolutions when they're very specific—say, "I'm going to lose 20 pounds by May 30"—instead of simply deciding to drop a few pants sizes. This way, we can track our progress, which in turn allows us to stay motivated.

And surprisingly, we're more likely to stick to plans that challenge us than ones that don't. Set your sights high, but within reason. And while it's easy to beat yourself up over a missed gym date or a lapsed deadline, don't feel bad about minor setbacks or stumbles along the way, or they could ultimately prevent you from reaching the finish line.

Watch SciShow Psych's video below for more science-backed info on making and keeping New Year's resolutions, and check out our list of tips here for additional inspiration.