How to Make Your New Year’s Resolutions Stick

Have you ever been to a gym the first week in January? I bet you had to wait in line for a cardio machine. But if you went back a few weeks later, the gym was nearly empty. All of the motivated people that were full of sweat and smiles on January 1 were nowhere to be seen. If the truth were to be told, they were probably back at home on the couch with a bag of potato chips.

Why is it that so many people fail to keep their New Year’s resolutions? What is the key to making them stick?

The good news is that there is a strategy that will ensure that New Year’s resolution is here to stay. There is a science to success when it comes to making goals that stick around. After all, a New Year’s resolution is only a fancy word for a goal.

Know Why You Made Your New Year’s Resolutions

We all want to look better. We all want to get rich. But if your New Year’s resolution is to “lose weight” or “get healthier,” you probably are not going to have much luck. I am not trying to be mean, but I want to be honest with you. If you want your resolution to stick, you’ll have to dig a little deeper. You will have to go beyond your superficial desires and connect your resolution to one of your core values.

When your resolution goes all the way down to your core, it compels you to dig deep. It compels you to resist hitting the snooze button when your alarm clock starts buzzing at 5am signaling you to go to the gym. You have to be passionate about your goals. You have to know your “why.”

So, why did you choose your New Year’s resolution? Why do you want to lose the weight? Why do you want to earn more money this year?

Be SMART About Your New Year’s Goals

How are going to achieve a goal of “losing weight?” It is much too general. Where do you start? How much weight do you want to lose? What will you do to lose the weight?

When we set goals, often we overlook the specifics which causes us to fail in the long run. In order to achieve our resolutions, we should set them up in a way that is SMART.

What does SMART mean?

Specific – If your goal is too general, it is much tougher to achieve. It won’t be detailed enough for you to focus your efforts. “Lose weight” is much too general. “Lose 10 pounds” is better.

Measurable – Your goal must be measurable. By quantifying results, you stay on track. How would you measure a goal to “get healthy?” How would you know when you met your goal?

Attainable – Are you both willing and able to work towards your goal? If your goal is to become a millionaire this year, it might not be attainable or realistic.

Relevant – Your goal needs to be relevant to you. This is where your “why” needs to be defined. Your resolution must be important to your life.

Timely – Your goal needs a timeline. Deadlines create a sense of urgency and help push us to action. Don’t just have a goal to lose 10 pounds. Have a goal to lose 10 pounds in the next 2 months.

Write Down Your Goals

People who write down their goals are 70% more likely to achieve them. THAT IS HUGE! It is so huge that you simply cannot afford to skip this important step. Write down your resolution. Keep it somewhere you will see it often. I have mine hanging right on my desk so that I can see it every day.

Check out my FREE Goal Setting Ebook that includes a workbook at the end. This is the perfect place to map out your resolution and write it down. If you want to achieve your goal, you can’t afford not to.

Track Your Progress

How will you know how you are doing if you don’t check in? Decide how you will track your resolution. It doesn’t matter how as long as you are tracking it. You can use a calendar, an app on your phone, or a checklist.

Set pre-established milestones that you can easily follow. For example, if your resolution is to lose ten pounds over 4 months, your milestones could be to lose 2.5 pounds per month. Each month you would check to see if you met your milestone. If you didn’t, you could readjust your approach so that you remain on track for your overall goal of 10 pounds. If you wait until the end, it will be too late to try something different if your original plan didn’t work. You’ll miss your goal.

Expect Setbacks

I wish we could all meet our goals the first time we tried. But the truth is that you may fail from time to time, and that is okay. Your failures do not define your overall success.

Your response to your failures will though.

If your resolution including going to the gym three times a week, what happens if you miss your gym day? You could react in two different ways.

1)      You could say “Well, I guess I failed. Maybe I’ll have better luck next year.”

2)      Or you could say “I missed the gym today, but I’ll take a quick walk after dinner and kick it up a notch tomorrow.”

If you declare your whole year a failure because you mess up once or twice, you are only giving yourself an excuse to put off your goals for another year.

Be prepared for the occasional setback, and decide to bounce back.

Make this year different than any other year. Decide to keep your New Year’s resolution. With a little bit of planning and a lot of dedication, you can do it. The only thing standing in your way is yourself.

Melissa Ricker

Melissa Ricker

Melissa Ricker is a nuclear engineer, an efficiency expert, and a professional writer. She runs a blog ( where she aims to help working mothers balance work and motherhood through productivity tips, time management hacks, and career growth advice. Melissa is a freelance writer for hire. She specializes in online content writing, B2B, digital marketing, career growth, and technical writing. Check out all of her publications at
Melissa Ricker

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