How to make, and keep, New Year’s resolutions

As 2019 comes to a close, the opportunity to ring in the New Year with a fresh perspective and open mind is right around the corner. There are so many different ways to make, and keep resolutions, but here are a few tips to make sure the goals you make on New Year’s aren’t just empty promises.


One of the most well-known goal setting techniques is to make SMART goals. Coined by  American philosopher, Elbert Hubbard, SMART is an acronym that helps you ensure the goals you make are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. 



Setting goals that are too broad or vague is an instant recipe for failure. Without clear boundaries to determine what your resolution is, it is hard to measure progress and easier to become discouraged. Rather than making a resolution to “lose weight,” try designating a specific number of pounds you want to lose or a goal weight you want to reach. Striving to lose 10 pounds in three months, for example, is a much more streamlined goal than simply losing weight.



Another important aspect to consider when making a resolution is how you plan to measure your success. Without visible success, many individuals will lose motivation as the year progresses and often choose to abandon their resolutions altogether. Some goals are easy to measure while others require a bit more creative thinking. If you are having trouble finding a method that works for you, try looking for an app to help. With the amounts of advancing technology available at our fingertips, there’s bound to be an app that can help you measure and track your goal.



This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t set big goals, but when it comes to sticking to a resolution, it is important to consider how attainable a goal is. Even if you do have a larger goal in mind, breaking down your plan of action into manageable steps can help make the idea of working on your goal less overwhelming and more achievable. It is always easier to work towards a finish line you can see than it is towards a goal that seems too far out of reach.



One of the most important questions to ask yourself when making a New Year’s resolution is why. Why is this a goal you want to achieve and why would achieving it will better your life? Without drive and motivation behind your decision to work towards a goal, the likelihood that you’ll give it up is significantly higher. 



Just like the goal itself, the timeline you give yourself to complete a goal needs to be realistic. While it is unwise to set a timeline that imposes too much stress on your daily life, it is also not advised to set a resolution deadline too far in the future that it seems pointless to work towards it now. 


According to Business Insider, over 80% of people who make New Year’s resolutions fail by February, but that doesn’t mean yours has to. By following these steps to help you think through your resolution, you are moving one step in the direction of a healthier, happier, better version of yourself in 2020.

Photo: R. Hennessy

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