Making New Year’s Resolutions That Stick

The Vision

Hope.  Promise.  New beginnings.  The New Year is a time when many of us take stock of our lives and, with renewed vision for ourselves, want to turn over a new leaf.  A New Year’s resolution is often a logical place to start.

The Reality

The reality is, however, that many of us choose resolutions which are doomed to fail.  Why?  It all starts with good intentions.

Some traps:

  • Being idealistic, not realistic
  • Having resolutions with a vast, epic-like scope
  • Trying to accomplish resolutions alone
  • Failing to have practical measures in place which would support the resolution
  • Choosing multiple resolutions
  • Having vague resolutions

“I will go for a run seven days a week, every week, rain or shine, snow or hail.  Nothing will get in my way.”

“Despite my sweet tooth, I’m determined not to eat any sugar whatsoever for the rest of the year.  No exceptions.”

A New Vision – Tips to Help You Succeed:

  • Make your resolutions SMART


Try Avoid

Describe clearly

“I will eat fruit today if I feel the urge for something sweet” “I’m committed to eating healthy.”

Make it quantifiable

“I am going to go to the gym for one hour twice a week on my way home from work.” “I will get in shape.”

A goal within your reach

“I will start by sorting through 2 piles of paper on my desk” “I will have a clutter-free home.”

Know your limits

“I will walk around the block for 20 minutes on sunny days only.” “I will push myself to run every day even though I hate it.”

Break it down

“Today I will resist the urge to smoke by chewing gum and phoning Pam for support” “I will never smoke another day in my life.”
  • Find Support–Having a buddy strengthens motivation and follow-through.
  • Be True to Yourself—Choose a resolution that reflects who you are–not who you feel you should be.
  • Choose One—Keep focused in one direction; you have more energy for accomplishing your resolution.
  • Baby Steps—It’s fine to have a larger resolution–say for example, quitting smoking– providing you break it down into mini steps and goals along the way.  Overarching, vast resolutions can be a set-up for failure.  Smaller goals are easier to achieve and provide us with a sense of accomplishment and encouragement to keep on the path.
  • Avoid Naysayers—Stay clear of people who don’t support your resolution. This can undermine your confidence. When you surround yourself with support, your chances of succeeding are enhanced.
  • Invest—Without breaking your budget, invest in things which help you to succeed with your resolution.  If it’s to go running, ensure you have proper running shoes.  If you want to be a “rain or shine” walker, have weatherproof clothing.
  • Write it Down—Jotting down a brief record of your participation each time, even just a few words, can increase the likelihood you will continue.
  • Celebrate Milestones—Recognize your progress each time you achieve a milestone along the way. Celebrate in a special way.
  • Change Your Thinking—Often, it’s our thoughts which defeat us.  Replace negative thinking with realistic thoughts.  “I’m no good at yoga” can become “I tried something new and I’m glad I’m stepping out of my comfort zone.”
  • Respect Your Lifestyle—Choose a resolution which you can integrate in your daily routine.  This maximizes your ability to follow through.
  • Get Back on the Horse—When we “slip” we can try again at the next opportunity. Many times people sabotage themselves by writing themselves or their resolution off at the first sign of trouble.  Persevering in the face of adversity strengthens our resolve.