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If you’re one of those rare people who actually achieve your New Year’s resolution each year, congratulations. Seriously, you are rare indeed. According to U.S. News & World Report, the failure rate for New Year’s resolutions is said to be about 80 percent, and most lose their resolve by mid-February.

Why do people fail to stick to New Year’s resolutions?

There’s no single reason that most people fail to stick to their New Year’s resolutions. It’s a combination of factors and life just getting in the way. First, we set resolutions based on something an external force (society, friends, whatever) is telling us to change, rather than something we want to change. Second, we set ambiguous goals without clearly defined markers of success. And third, we are simply unrealistic in our aims. So stay positive, but realistic. Don’t confuse your optimism with actual achievement.

As for self-forgiveness, what it really comes down to is this: Be comfortable with the fact that you will probably have slip-ups, and just move on when it happens. Wake up the next morning and keep trying to improve.

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