Why Personal Change Initiatives Fail


We all fail, at times, to successfully make a personal change in our respective lives.


Sometimes we learn from these failures; other times we do not.


Perhaps the most obvious example of failed personal change initiatives takes place during the annual New Year’s Resolution ritual.


Despite an abundance of motivation and sense of purpose assigned to these, the fact is that the large majority of New Year’s Resolutions are abandoned within the first 90 days of each year.


Why is this so?


There are many reasons for this, but the main ones we believe that contribute the most to any personal change effort failing to achieve the desired outcome are:

  • People do not make them top of mind — every day.

  • Too many initiatives are attempted simultaneously. (This is particularly true at the start of the year when the typical New Year’s Resolutions list reaches double-digit figures.)

  • No prioritization.

  • People are not willing to say “no” to distractions and other initiatives.

  • No action plans. (Just wishful thinking that change will somehow magically happen.)

  • We do not make them into a daily habit.

  • We do not allow others to hold us accountable (preferring to keep our change initiatives private to ourselves).

  • Goals are not quantifiable.

  • Do not track our progress or keep journals.



According to some scientific research, it takes on average 66 days for a new behavior to become a new habit. That’s a little over two months!


No wonder so many people give up and abandon their personal change initiatives before reaching success. They typically quit too early in the process, often because they underestimate the time required to fully inculcate and instill a new behavior or a new change into their daily routines.


Don’t let this happen to you. Use the above list as a guideline to help ensure that you do not let these typical hurdles become hardened obstacles that prevent you from successfully achieving your personal change initiatives.


For advice on how to overcome these hurdles, see our 7 Key Success Factors for Implementing Personal Change.