How to Make and Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

How to Make & Keep Your New Year's Resolutions

It’s that time of year again. The turning of the calendar is upon us and another year is almost here. Soon, it will be 2016. Time to make those New Year’s resolutions, right? Well, unless you go about it the right way, you are going to be one of the many people who fail at their resolutions year after year. I know I was; until I sat down and really thought about what was possible for me and my lifestyle and how to go about making sure I achieved my resolutions.

Let me share my thoughts. The two keys to making and keeping your New Year’s resolutions are that they have to be something you really, really want and they have to be realistic.

Pick something you truly want

Whether you want to quit a bad habit or start a good habit, your resolution has to be something you want a great deal. The two biggest resolutions people make are quitting smoking and losing weight. You are not going to get anywhere on them if you don’t want them with the passion of a thousand suns. Middling want is not going to cut it. You are going to lose steam and motivation and just peter-out sooner rather than later. If you are quitting smoking or losing weight just because other people say you should or, intellectually, you know you should, you are not going to have the drive to achieve them. Nobody is going to put their all into a goal they only have lackluster desire for. The more you want something, the more of a chance you are going to maintain the drive to achieve it. So, pick a resolution you really want, not one you just think you should or because everyone else is doing it.

Be realistic

Everybody thinks they have to shoot for the moon when making a resolution. Very few people actually land on the moon when they do this and those who fall short get discouraged. Pick a resolution you know you have a good chance of achieving with a little extra hard work and determination. You are not going to go from smoking a pack a day to not smoking at all at the snap of the fingers. Nor are you going to lose 20 pounds in a week. It’s not going to happen and you shouldn’t beat yourself up because of it. To reach a big goal, it’s best to break it up into easier, more manageable, smaller goals.

Create Small Goals to Reach Your Big Goal

It’s perfectly okay to make small goals that act as a stepping stone to a larger goal. It would be more realistic to shoot for one less cigarette a day or one pound a week. When you reach a small goal and get to check it off, it bolsters your enthusiasm and helps you keep going toward your next small goal until you’ve reached completion. You do not have an endless amount of willpower and draining yourself too quickly will leave you without motivation and enthusiasm to continue.

Breaking up your big resolutions into smaller goals are easier to handle and each success will bolster your resolve to continue. Using weight loss as an example; perhaps your weekly goal could be taking the stairs at work instead of the elevator, eat one more veggie serving a day, or remembering to get up from your desk more often. Not everyone is going to have the time or the resources to go to the gym and, honestly, I don’t think a gym membership is necessary. Small exercise equipment can be included in any sized space and is fairly cheap. Dumbbells, resistant bands, and even a little pedal bike are all useful in exercising at home.

You could also kill two birds with one stone and clean. You’d be surprised how much of a sweat you work up with some vigorous cleaning. Breaking your goals down into small, manageable steps makes them not only more approachable but also easier to complete. Don’t overwhelm yourself. You are not going to get anything accomplished if you pile too much on your plate at once. Small, steady steps are more likely to get accomplished than giant leaps.

Write It All Down

I’m a very visual person. My apartment is full of little notebooks and post-it notes with all sorts of scribbles and lists. I write everything down and so should you. I don’t care if you have the memory of an elephant. Write it down. Not only will you get a little thrill when you check off each mini goal as you reach them, you will have a visual reminder of what you are trying to accomplish and where you are on the road to goal achievement. Write down your small goals and review them as much as you can. Break down each step to your big goal and you’ll have more success.


I’m horrible at asking for help. Even on small stuff. But if you are making a big life change, then seeking support from friends, family, and even strangers will increase your likelihood of accomplishing your goal. There are groups for all sorts of things. Check out Meet Up and see if there is a group near you. Or set one up! If you’re not willing to put on pants and actually go out to meet people, then join some online forums and groups. Talking with people who are making the same changes or going through the same hardships can be incredibly helpful and can help you get over any little bumps along the way. Seek out a cheerleading squad and start working toward your resolution.

People forget that changing yourself takes time and effort and is bloody hard. It’s really slow going to reach your goals and you have to be patient and determined to get anywhere. It is popularly said that it takes 21 days to form a new habit.  The more you keep at something, the easier it will become over time. Nothing is going to happen instantaneously. In regards to keeping your New Year’s resolutions, you want to be the tortoise instead of the hare.

Happy New Year!

Thank you for reading!

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About Patricia @ Lady with Books

I'm a 34 year old female. Brown hair. Blue eyes. I spend a great deal of my time surfing the internet and blogging. I enjoy cooking. I make a mean sautéed vegetable dish. I write. I read.

Posted on December 30, 2015, in helpful/useful and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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