Why New Year Resolutions To Declutter Can Fall Short

gold ornaments and red pieces of ribbon surround a calendar showing Jan 1

Do you start thinking of all the great New Year’s resolutions you are going to make before the last day of the year or do you wait until January 1st? 

I vowed many moons ago never to make any New Year resolutions. Why? Because it made me feel so bad when I did not follow through with my specific goals, which I never did, after the first few feeble attempts.

Better strategies are in place now for me to make changes any time of year. More on this later, first, I will mention why New Year resolutions do not often succeed in the long run. 

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Many people sign up for gym memberships, sign up for weight loss programs, and make resolutions, year after year after year.

As an aside, according to the National Institutes of Health, obesity and overweight together are the second leading cause of preventable death in the United States. So it is not a surprise this is a popular new year resolution folks make.

I won’t quote statistics because The National Institutes of Health confirms there have not been a lot of written studies on the topic of “Do New Year resolutions work?” so the figures online regarding people sticking with New Year’s resolutions are not reliable. 

One of the core reasons New Year’s resolutions fail is because a lot of people make these declarations as a tradition, not because change is needed in their lives. A commitment is often lacking when a resolution is made as nothing more than a January tradition.

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Unsuccessful resolutions

Another reason for failed resolutions, even with the best intentions, is that folks do not set up an accountability structure or a support system. Having a support system in place helps you hold yourself accountable. Plus, who doesn’t need a cheerleader now and again?

Making a contingency plan for the times obstacles pop up is another reason resolutions may not work. You can be sure obstacles will happen regularly so haveing a back up plan is necessary.

Another core reason New Year resolutions don’t work is that people don’t set themselves up for wins. There is more to making change than a declaration. 

I have described to you why New Year’s resolutions often do not work. The obvious next discussion then is how to make decluttering my life a resolution that will work.

Successful decluttering plans

You may be making a New Year resolution to declutter for all the right reasons and you may not. It is my experience when walking people through the decluttering process getting rid of stuff is not all that meets the eye.

Decluttering physical objects is often a desire to make a fresh start or add something new to your life. You have likely heard the expression “out with the old, in with the new”.

There have been times in my life without any forethought I will empty the contents of a closet and declutter all the things. This seemed to happen right before something new and positive was about to come into my life. I can’t explain this, although I believe my subconscious knows better than I do what is going on much of the time.

Because I detest wasting precious time I try to figure out the most efficient way to get to where I want to go before I start. When I make a plan to make a significant change I put a fair amount of thought into this, for the sole purpose of having a desire to get this right the first time, whatever this at the time means to me.

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Clarity of vision?

‘What do I want’ is a good question to ask when considering making changes. My go-to tool to gain clarity around anything is an old-fashioned pen and a cheap spiral notebook. I keep both handy and use them daily. and ask myself questions and keep writing until I am satisfied with my answers.

I take that information and formulate a plan- including a timeline. The only thing left needed to achieve the results I am aiming for is consistency and vigilance to follow through making these changes ever-lasting.

Questions to ponder

A good starting point to behavior change, whether big changes or small goals, which is what a decluttering resolution is, is to put some thought into questions such as the following. Making a a decluttering resolution is after all a goal to change old habits and make action plans to get rid of stuff and maintain a decluttered lifestyle. 

If I wasn’t afraid what would I do?
Why am I discontent?
Who do I want to become? Describe

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How did I let possessions become so important to me?
What will my success look like to me?

How to make sure to win your decluttering resolutions!

Realistic Goals

The majority of people are overly ambitious and set unrealistic goals that will set them up for failure. It’s important to set achievable and measurable objectives to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Greater success will come when a plan to implement small steps is made.

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A clear and concise plan 

Many people make resolutions without a clear plan on how to achieve them. Without a roadmap, it’s easy to get lost or discouraged along the way.


Resolutions often fail when there’s no clear and concise action plan on how to implement the desired changes. Break down your goals into smaller, actionable steps including a time frame. Scheduling your time as one does any important appointment is the best way to achieve success.

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Sometimes, resolutions are made on a whim without a strong internal motivation. If you lack a deep, personal reason for making a change, you’re less likely to stay committed.

Check out my new free Shift Into Action course I made for all my cluttered friends!


Change takes time and can be hard work, and some people expect immediate results. When quick progress doesn’t occur, they may become frustrated and abandon their resolutions.

Track Progress

Without monitoring your progress, it’s challenging to stay motivated. Regularly assess and celebrate your achievements, no matter how small. Celebrating wins is an important thing!

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Contingency plan

Everyday life can get in the way of our best-laid plans and one of the main reasons people do not follow through is the lack of a backup plan when obstacles get in the way.

Life is unpredictable, and unforeseen challenges may arise. Being unable to adapt to changing circumstances can hinder progress. Recognize that setbacks are normal and part of the learning process.

Ignore naysayers

If your social circle or home environment doesn’t support your resolutions, it can be challenging to maintain them. Surround yourself with people who encourage and understand your goals. For support and much more join our free, private, and safe Facebook group Declutterbuzz.

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Sharing your New Year’s goals with others or having an accountability partner can help keep you on track. Without external support, it’s easier to let resolutions slide. I always find a friend to be the right accountability partner to confide in when I need to hold myself accountable.

Baby steps!

Trying to tackle too many goals at once can be too much. Focus on one resolution at a time to increase the likelihood of success. Let the changes become second nature before introducing more change.

Be good to yourself!

Perfectionism and self-criticism can undermine your efforts. Understand that setbacks are normal, and be kind to yourself when things don’t go as planned. In other words, when you fall, get right back up, brush yourself off, and continue on.

To increase the chances of success, it’s important to approach resolutions with a realistic mindset, thoughtful planning, and a commitment to sustainable change.


Your best strategy for sustained action to carry out your New Year’s resolutions needs to include a long-term goal including a maintenance plan. Otherwise your good intentions and hard work you have put in will probably not have much staying power.

two post it notes. 1 reads change your habits. the other reads change your life.


It is safe to say New Year’s resolutions are about changing habits. If one of your new goals this new year is to declutter your life I applaud you because you will be amazed to see what changes in your behavior will manifest for you in the coming year!

To read all decluttering check out Declutterbuzz.com

Happy New Year!

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Marj Bates is a life long ridiculously organized declutter-er and artist. Less is more are words Marj lives by in everything she does except collecting dogs. “Dogs are like potato chips! Can’t have just one.” says Marj. Marj wonders if growing up with a fanatically clean Jewish mom means her decluttering and organizational skills are in her blood.

For more Declutter Buzz & Freebies check out our safe and private Decluttering community on our Facebook page. We are a safe and private space of like minded folks tackling this all encompassing clutter thing once and for all. No shame allowed! We will have a few laughs too!

To see more articles like this, please like and follow me. Thank you!

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