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Making New Year’s Resolutions That Stick: Expert Advice

Making New Year’s Resolutions That Stick: Expert Advice

Happy New Year made of sparkles firework at night

New Year’s Resolutions are a great way to reflect on your life and make changes for the better. But let’s be honest… sticking to them can be tough.

In this blog, we’ll dive into resolutions and offer expert advice on how to make them stick. We show you how to make well-defined goals and why we make resolutions in the first place.

Then we’ll provide a step-by-step guide on how to formulate effective resolutions and identify areas for improvement. Plus provide you with strategies to keep you on track.

Then we’ll give you some great ideas for resolutions you can adopt yourself in 2024, and how to make those resolutions actually happen this time around.

Understanding the Importance of New Year’s Resolutions

Starting the year with new routines sets the tone for the months ahead. Goal setting and resolutions are catalysts for personal growth, helping break bad habits and cultivate healthier ones. 

However, most people give up on their resolutions within a few days. A more reasonable approach is to consider it a lifestyle change and set small steps for January, then enhance them for February.

Rather than making sweeping changes, focus on one thing you can maintain for one month. For example, give up soda or alcohol. Once you succeed, move on to ditch other unhealthy foods or habits.

New Year’s Resolutions: A Catalyst for Change

Setting new goals is key to positive growth and personal development. January marks time for a fresh start, an opportunity to establish new routines and commit to self-improvement. 

But it’s important to know your “why” to stay committed. Your “why” could be avoiding a hereditary disease or being there for your children.

Step-by-Step Guide to Formulating Effective Resolutions

  1. Identify Areas for Improvement. The first step is to identify areas in your life that need growth.
  2. Set Realistic and Achievable Goals. Setting realistic and achievable goals is an important aspect of the resolution setting process. Ask yourself, Is this goal realistic? For example, if you make $50,000 a year and you have $20,000 in credit card debt, it may not be realistic to pay off all your credit cards in 2024, as well as contributing to your company’s 401k plan — unless your plan also includes getting a side hustle to generate more income.
  3. Develop a Detailed Action Plan. January is the perfect time to invest in charting your new course. But don’t just say, “I’ll exercise more,” and leave it at that. You need to define the when, where, and how of your plan. Answering the question, “Why?” may be the most important of all. There’s a whole book on that topic, called, “Start with Why.” It’s primarily about leadership, but it’s just as relevant to your New Year’s resolutions.
smart goal setting hand drawn on blackboard

Make SMART Goals for 2024

The SMART method helps you effectively approach reaching your goals personally and in business.

Applying SMART as a grid is helpful for creating specifically measured, clearly defined targets you’d like to reach. SMART goals help you avoid failure and measure progress more precisely. 

The SMART acronym stands for:

  • Specific: Increase your success chances by making sure goals are well-defined. That means being clear about your who, what, where, when, and why.
  • Measurable: Create standards for evaluating progress made towards your goals. What are the measurable indicators of success?
  • Achievable: To ensure the goals are attainable and achievable, decide whether you possess the necessary skills and resources required to accomplish them.
  • Relevant: Ensure that your goals are in line with your overall personal or business objectives.
  • Time-based: Create a sense of urgency by using deadlines to reach your goals.

Top New Year’s Resolution Categories

New goals in January provide an excellent way to kickstart the year. Here are key strategic areas you might make resolutions in.

Health and Fitness Goals

You may prioritize health and fitness goals as part of your New Year’s resolutions.

This could include revising your dietary choices, possibly to one of the diets discussed in our December blogposts. Or quitting smoking. Or developing a plan to get 8,000 or 10,000 steps in every day. 

It could even be as simple as setting a timer to move around for 10 minutes every hour.

Pay Off Debt!

Financial and Spending Goals

The new year is a great time to set new financial goals for the year, such as getting out of debt, or paying “X” amount down on your debt, or contributing to your 401k account, or stashing a certain amount of money away to buy a house.

How much will your financial situation improve during 2024? Reverse engineer that now, and decide what to do each month to meet your goal.

Career and Professional Development Goals

January is also an excellent time to set career goals for the new year. Acquiring new skills or certifications is a terrific resolution. 

Network to expand your professional opportunities. Consider mentorship or coaching for career advancement. Identify opportunities for leadership development within your field.

Social and Relationship Goals

Fostering deeper connections with friends and family members is an excellent way to make 2024 a stellar year. Schedule regular quality time with loved ones to strengthen relationships. 

Social relationships make life better and aid longevity. Volunteering for community or church service in January helps you give back and connect with others.

New year 2024 or start straight concept.word 2024 written on the asphalt road and athlete woman runner stretching leg preparing for new year at sunset.Concept of challenge or career path and change.

Make Your Resolutions Actually Happen This Year

Embracing new goals is an excellent way to start the year, but staying motivated and carrying through is necessary for real change. 

Setting SMART goals will help you achieve them. Ask the “why?” question, as well as where and how. 

Willpower relies on a big “why” and a concrete detailed plan. Tools such as habit-tracking apps can help you monitor your progress.

How to Deal With Procrastination

Take immediate action on your resolutions, based on your “big why” and your plan details. Make appointments with yourself to do what’s required to work your plan.

Write Your Goals

Writing your goals leads to a much higher success rate in achieving them. Create a vision board to visually represent your goals for the year.

Start With Baby Steps

Start with small achievable goals and build on small successes… much the same way that Dave Ramsey encourages baby steps on your journey to financial freedom.

Be Specific

Achieving success with New Year’s resolutions requires clear and unambiguous goal-setting. Define your resolution clearly to avoid ambiguity, which will help you stay focused and measure progress. 

If your goals are not specific and measurable there’s a pretty high likelihood you’ll bail on them.

freedom
Man at sunset, warm natural colours, selective focus on head

Celebrate Small Victories

Set small goals on your way to the bigger goals. Want to lose 20 pounds? Why not celebrate each 5-pound increment? 

Pick up a 5-pound bag of flour and you’ll realize how significant every 5 pounds is! View your life as a journey toward greater success.

Set a Timeline

Deadlines give you a sense of urgency and motivation for consistent progress. Time-bound resolutions provide a clear roadmap for your actions, helping you stay on track.

Share Your Goals With Others

Accountability is crucial. Share your objectives with others. It promotes a sense of responsibility and encourages commitment. 

Social support plays a key role in sustaining motivation. So discuss your goals openly to receive valuable insights and fresh perspectives. 

Maybe you’ll find a “resolution buddy” and you’ll both win from the effort. Ancient manuscripts say: “Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.”

Woman breaking down cigarette to pieces. Quit smoking concept

Best New Year’s Resolution Ideas

Looking for some ideas of New Year’s resolutions? Here are a variety of ideas for fostering a positive mindset, developing creativity, stimulating your brain, and improving your health.

  • Start a gratitude journal: Fosters positivity, and enhances mental well-being, contentment, and resilience.
  • Cook something new every week: Broaden your culinary horizons by experimenting with new recipes. This can be an engaging and enriching activity, and improve your health as you can more readily control your ingredients. Many people spontaneously lose weight when they start cooking at home with natural ingredients.
  • Read a book a week… or a book a month: Cultivates mental stimulation, cognitive well-being, and expands your knowledge, vocabulary, critical thinking skills, and a love for literature.
  • Drink less alcohol: Promotes overall physical and mental wellness. Enhances sleep quality, supports weight management, and lowers health risks. Fosters a renewed sense of well-being. And you’ll even save a lot of money, aiding your financial goals. ?
  • Quit smoking: Significantly improves overall health, lung function, and cardiovascular wellness. Fosters a sense of empowerment, independence, and control, leading to a longer, healthier, and more energetic life.
  • Take the stairs: Adds physical activity to your days. Promotes cardiovascular health, overall fitness, and weight management. Strengthens leg muscles, boosts metabolism, and improves fitness without specialized equipment or a set schedule. Great way to promote an active lifestyle.
  • Exercise 150 minutes/week or 10,000 steps/day: Enhances physical health, endurance, and strength… and promotes overall well-being. Improves mood. Supports stress management. Boosts energy and vitality. Another approach is to set a step goal every day, such as 10,000 steps. Or start with 5,000 steps and boost it by 1,000 steps per month till you hit 10,000.
  • Master a new skill: Boosts brain health, cognition, and helps you venture into new social circles. Aids personal growth and enrichment.
  • Eliminate processed foods : Kickstarts wellness and weight management goals. Good opportunity to eliminate processed snacks, foster wellness, and amplify overall well-being.
  • Improve sleep quality: Lowers your risk of accidents, improves mental health, physical health, and longevity.
  • Reduce screen time: Reducing screen time in the evening can enhance sleep. Reducing it any time can promote a more active and sociable life.
Concentrated aged woman in kimono practicing punches in gym during group martial arts workout. Shadow fight, combat sports training concept
  • Move more: Exercise, start a morning walk, or explore different workout routines for more physical activity, improved comfort, and overall well-being.
  • Spend more time with your favorite people: Dedicate more time to be with your favorite people for meaningful social connections that promote mental health and longevity.
  • Shed debt: Establish a “spending freeze.” Or set up a “waiting period” of several days before spending anything over a set amount of money. Promotes a positive financial future.
  • Learn a new language: Broadens your horizons and sharpens your cognitive abilities. Nurtures mental wellness.
  • Pick up a useful job-related skill: Enhances professional development. Helps you embrace change and personal growth. Fosters gratitude for new opportunities in your career and personal lives.
  • Adopt a pet: Enhances mental health through the establishment of new routines and experiences, enriches your life with companionship and joy, and gets you outside walking your pet and moving about.
  • Travel more: Plan a wellness trip, a trip focused on a hobby (i.e., cooking or rock climbing), or a way to expand cultural boundaries.
  • Reduce time on social media: Engage in a new hobby to reduce screen time. Set a daily time limit for social media. Replace social media with a gratitude journal, or with real face-to-face relationships. Unwind with a new book to reduce screen time and relax.
  • Drink more water: Significantly contributes to your overall well-being.
  • Walk a mile (or more) a day: Explore new walking routes, join a walking club, or walk with a buddy to make your walks more social and fun. Track your steps with an app or a watch to stay motivated.
  • Shed some weight by decluttering your living space: Promotes mental health by reducing clutter.

Conclusion

We often start with high hopes but struggle to follow through with New Year resolutions. With the right strategies and mindset, you can make your resolutions actually happen this year. 

Create SMART goals that are well-thought-out. Make an appointment with yourself for success. Get an accountability partner. Celebrate small successes. 

Use these successes as a bridge to your new you!

https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0234097

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1452164622

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6444530

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11920693

https://www.healthline.com/health/how-long-does-it-take-to-form-a-habit

THIS ENTRY WAS POSTED BY ADAM PAYNE

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Making New Year’s Resolutions That Stick: Expert Advice

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