Don't be dissuaded, though. In a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, Norcross compared people who wanted to change their behavior and made a resolution to do so ("I'm going to talk to my mother-in-law, whom I haven't spoken to in five years"—a real resolution) with people who were equally keen to change their behavior yet hadn't put it into resolution form ("I really wish my mother-in-law and I still talked to each other."). After six months, only 4 percent of the non-resolvers had made the change, which makes the 40 percent of successful resolvers look pretty impressive. As Norcross says: If you make the shift from wanting to trying, you're 10 times more likely to succeed.
We've identified some reasons why people might fail—but have also included research-backed strategies for how to make this year's resolutions (finally!) stick.