I love new beginnings and always take the opportunity to set goals in January. Over the years I’ve found some really helpful techniques that help me make effective new years resolutions – in short, new years resolutions that work. Here are my top tips.
How To Make New Years Resolutions That Work
Before I go any further, I want to stress that there is no requirement to make new years resolutions. You may prefer to think in terms of aspirations, or you may decide you would rather just let yourself ease into the new year. There is absolutely nothing wrong with either of those. Do not be pressured into doing something just because it feels like everyone else is. Some years I do not make resolutions at all. However if making new years resolutions supports you and helps make you feel happier and healthier, here are some tips that might help.
Be Kind To Yourself
“I have eaten too much and I need to lose weight” isn’t going to encourage or support your goals, nor is “This house is a mess and I need to de-clutter.” Not only is it unkind to yourself, it is not effective.
Use positive language when setting your new years resolutions – Try “I resolve to make healthy choices about the food I eat so that I look and feel better” or resolve to “make positive choices about the things I keep in my home, making sure that everything is either beautiful, useful or sentimental.”
It’s always good to be optimistic but when it comes to effective new years resolutions, it is more important to be realistic. You need to think about what you are more likely to achieve. Sometimes it is better to break resolutions down into smaller chunks, resolving to do a bit at a time. Then when you do reach your interim goals, you get that wonderful sense of accomplishment that spurs you on to keep moving forward.
Break your New Years Resolutions Down Into Manageable Chunks
Instead of looking at your goals in one big chunk, divide them down into steps with time specific goals.
Instead of resolving to lose twenty pounds, resolve to lose ten pounds in six months, a much more achievable goal. The sense of accomplishment you get from that achievement will help spur you on to lose the remaining ten. Want to de-clutter your home? Resolve to declutter and deep clean one room per month.
Have a Plan
You are on the right track if you know what you want to achieve, but how is that going to happen? For your new years resolutions to work you need a plan. So, for example, to lose those ten pounds in six months, you may resolve to visit a nutritionist and/or join a gym. While the goal is important, you need to have a clear plan for the steps that will actually get you there.
Focus on Your New Years Resolutions with a Word and/or Theme for the Year
Author Gretchen Rubin recommends choosing a one word theme for the New Year to help keep you focused and on track with your new years resolutions. I have been doing this since 2013, when I chose Atmosphere of Growth, and it has definitely works for me. In 2014, I went for a phrase “Abundance, Trust and Fun”. I revisited the latter in 2022, when my word was ‘Fun’, and my theme was Playful.
In 2023, my word was Elevate. I accomplished this by elevating our surroundings with our renovation, elevating my skills by taking some courses and learning new things and elevating my wardrobe with some carefully-thought-out, sustainable investment purchases. This year, (2024), my words are Enrich and Savour. I want to enrich my experiences, my environment, my work, and my interactions with others. I also want to really take time to savour all the little moments and things as well as the big ones.
A Small Setback Does Not Have To Mean The End
Do not let a small setback with your new years resolutions derail you from what you want to achieve. If you resolved to go for a walk three times a week and you only manage twice one week, you do not have to throw in the towel.
Two ways I manage this kind of kind disappointment is to either draw a line under it and start fresh, or look at it in a different way. So, if you resolved to do something three times a week, why not re-frame it in terms of the whole year. Just multiply 3 by 52 weeks – which comes to 156 – and then re-resolve to go for a walk 156 in the space of the year. You now have time to catch up!
If your new years resolutions include eating more healthily and you find yourself eating junk food, allow yourself to draw a line and start fresh.
We are often quick to condemn ourselves when we fall short of our goals and dreams. Be sure to grant yourself the grace and flexibility you give to others. It’s okay to adjust your new years resolutions throughout the year or let them evolve and grow, just as you do! A set back needn’t be a failure; properly framed it can be a force to help keep you moving forward.
Celebrate Your Achievements
When you do achieve something you have resolved to do, really commend yourself. You may want to celebrate with a healthy treat or experience. For example, you could have a massage or facial, have a day out or visit somewhere you have been meaning to go.
If the process resonates with you, making effective new years resolutions can be an uplifting and exciting way to start a new year. However whether you make them or not, I wish you a healthy, happy and prosperous 2024!
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