For most people, New Years marks a clear point for making a lifestyle change that is intended to last a lifetime. Lent on the other hand, for the religious, is a time of temporary self denial or restriction to increase focus. There are several reasons that a greater percentage of people are successful with Lenten fasts than New Years habit changes. Even if you do not celebrate Lent, these ideas may help you be more successful with your own behavior change.
The first reason many are more successful with habit change during Lent (even if it is temporary) is that they are striving to sacrifice for something that has personal meaning to him or her. Religion is one outlet for existential energy for many people. Existential energy is about those things that give your life meaning, becoming a better person, and those things about which you are passionate. When we strive after these things, we often feel more energized and more motivated to meet the goals we have set for ourselves.