Make Your New Year’s Resolutions Stick

Inevitably, most people close out the calendar year with a steadfast determination to improve themselves and their lives.  New Year’s resolutions aren’t new, the ancient Babylonians are said to have been the first people to make New Year’s resolutions some 4,000 years ago, making promises to their gods at the start of each year in hopes they’d earn good favor in the coming year.  Not to be left out, the Romans began each year by making promises to the god Janus, for whom the month of January is named.

According to, the top 10 most common New Year’s resolutions are:

  1. Exercise more (38 percent)
  2. Lose weight (33 percent)
  3. Eat more healthily (32 percent)
  4. Take a more active approach to health (15 percent)
  5. Learn new skill or hobby (15 percent)
  6. Spend more time on personal wellbeing (12 percent)
  7. Spend more time with family and friends (12 percent)
  8. Drink less alcohol (12 percent)
  9. Stop smoking (9 percent)
  10. Other (1 percent)

At the start of every New Year, many people set new goals but only a few actually go on to achieve these.  According to Philip Clarke, psychology lecturer at the University of Derby Online Learning, the biggest mistake is that many people identify what they want to achieve but do not think about how to do it.  To ensure you create an effective New Year’s resolution plan, below are key questions to ask yourself when making your list and examples:

Is it specific?

Most of us work better when we have a clear goal in mind so being specific can help give you a clear focus on what you need to do.

Bad goal: I want to save more money this year.

Good goal:  I will save $5000 this year.

Can it be measured?

A good goal allows us to measure it and see progress, which helps with staying motivated.

Bad goal:  I want to lose weight.

Good goal:  I will lose 20 lbs. by my son’s wedding.

Is it achievable or attainable?’

This is key – you want a balance of challenge, to keep you motivated, but not too hard as you might lose focus and experience anxiety and stress.

Bad goal:  I want to speak to my parents each week.

Good goal:  I will use the car ride home to call my parents every Wednesday on the phone.

Is it realistic?

Make sure your goal can be achieved realistically in the time frame you are looking to achieve them in.  Setting a timeline for when you want to achieve your goal is important.

Bad goal:  I want to fit into my old jeans.

Good goal:  I am going to get into my old jeans by June 1, 2018.

Is it exciting?

Your goal needs to be exciting so it helps you stay motivated.

Bad goal: I want to save money.

Good goal: I will save money so I can take my family to Disney World on vacation.

Follow these rules when making your New Year’s resolutions and you’ll have better odds of achieving them throughout the year!