The Secret to New Year Success: Set Goals, Not Resolutions

How many times have you made a New Year resolution and kept up with it the entire year?

How many times have you made a New Year resolution and given up on it by mid-February?

Too many times to count? Me too!

This is why I think you shouldn’t make New Year resolutions.

Now, I don’t mean you shouldn’t set goals for yourself to work towards improving your life. I just want you to do it in a way that actually works.

So here are 5 reasons making New Year resolutions don’t work, and 5 ways you can set goals you’ll be able to stick to.

5 reasons you don’t stick to your New Year resolutions

  1. It’s too much pressure. The entire world is making resolutions on the same day and you don’t want to be the only person who fails.
  2. You try to do too much. You try to go from not working out at all, to going to the gym 4 times a week.
  3. You try to be perfect. If you make a resolution to do something every day or 3 days a week, the first time you miss a day, or only do it 2 times a week, you give up because you “failed”.
  4. They aren’t your goals. A lot of people make the same resolutions everyone else makes, “lose weight”, “go to the gym more”, “eat healthier”, etc. Those goals seem like the type of resolution you “should" be making. But if you don’t take the time to think about if that’s something that’s really important to you, then you’ll never stick to it.
  5. It’s too vague. What does "get in shape" even mean? Does it mean exercise more? Eat healthier? Lose weight? If you don’t know exactly what you want to do, you won’t do it.

5 ways to set manageable goals and stick to them

  1. Accept that you won’t do this perfectly. Knowing and accepting this at the beginning will allow you to start again once you realize you’ve stopped working on your goal.
  2. Figure out what’s really important to you. Are your relationships with friends and family most important right now? Or maybe you want to focus on your health. Or is your career a priority at this time in your life? Figure out which area of your life is most important to you at this stage of your life and make goals in that area.
  3. Make your goal specific. Instead of “Exercise more”, make a goal to “Run 2 miles 3x/week”.
  4. Start small. If you don’t exercise at all right now, make a goal to “Run 1 mile once a week”. You can make a plan to increase the frequency and distance if you want, but make sure you increase very slowly so that it stays manageable. I mean, even if the whole year you only ran 1 mile a week, but you did it every single week - how awesome is that?!
  5. Check on your progress occasionally. Set a calendar reminder to check back in on your goal or goals either monthly, quarterly, or halfway through the year. If you’ve fallen off track it can be a reminder to get back on, or you can reevaluate and set new goals if you realize your priorities have changed.

What goal or goals are you setting for 2017? Did you rework any of your goals after reading this? Please share in the comments below.