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How To Create New Year’s Resolutions You’ll Keep

How To Create New Year’s Resolutions You’ll Keep

Year after year, millions of Americans set New Year’s Resolutions, but most of them do not stick. By setting ourselves up for failure, we create traditional goal-oriented resolutions that don’t help us get clear on who we want to be or shine light on how we want to show up for others in our life, our career, and for ourselves. By focusing on the person we want to be at the end of 2017 and achievable weekly steps, we can finally design New Year’s Resolutions with ease and embody them on a daily basis.

I found this out three years ago when I first started setting New Year’s Resolutions. I designed goals for multiple areas of my life including my career, my relationships, and my self-care. Despite my efforts, I quickly learned that goal-oriented resolutions set us up for failure, self-judgement, and frustration. My resolutions became obstacles to my growth and a regular source for my inner critic to feed off of.

Rather than starting at a goal of getting a certain raise at work, for example, successful resolutions come from being clear on who we want to be and how we want to show up in our everyday interactions. Once I got clear on who I wanted to be, I was able to uncover what I truly wanted to create in my life. Here’s how you can start designing New Year’s resolutions that will stick:

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1. Start With How You Want To Feel In 2017

The book The Desire Map, by author and inspirational speaker Danielle La Porte and based on the teachings of Abraham-Hicks, was a game-changer for me. She emphasizes the importance of understanding how you want to feel in your life. By focusing on how I want to feel each year, I get clear on what I really want.

To do this, take out a journal to write, or close your eyes and follow your imagination through meditation. Imagine that December 31, 2017 is going to be your best day of your best year to date. Reflect on the following question:

How do I want to feel on this best day? Energized? Inspired? Thoughtful?

Keep asking yourself the question for some time to connect with the feeling and listen to what you hear yourself say. Write down the first feelings that come up. Looking at your list, circle the ones that feel most true to you.

2. Imagine Who You Would Need To Be

One of the keys to completing resolutions is to understand the kind of person you need to be to follow through. This is more than not procrastinating or keeping good time management, for example. Traditional productivity practices fall short because they merely manage goals rather than bring them to life. In order to follow through on resolutions, we must know the experience of the achievement.

With your mind in December 31, 2017, again through writing in a journal or by closing your eyes in meditation, imagine who would you need to be if you felt these feelings? For example, if you want to feel energized, what qualities would you leave behind in a room if people were asked to describe you? Would you go running several times a week to stoke your energy? Eat differently? Pick up that childhood hobby you dropped 10 years ago? Who would you need to be to feel what you want to feel at the end of 2017? Write down a list of what comes to your mind.

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3. Choose 1-3 Goals To Create This Feeling

By focusing on just 1-3 annual goals, you will set yourself up for success. With goals connected to who you want to be at the end of 2017, you’ll feel motivated to follow through with a clear understanding of how your goals that will help you become the person you want to be. Taking what you wrote down from the first two steps, complete a brain-dump for the goals you would need to fulfill.

Set a timer for 10 minutes and write down every goal that comes to your mind. Take a five minute break and step away from your list. Return and set a timer for 10 minutes again. Ask yourself the question: what 1-3 goals are game-changers and would have the most impact to create the December 31, 2017 I imagined? Circle these goals.

4. Identify Small Steps To Take On A Weekly Basis

To ensure your goals do not become a someday in the future concept, identify small steps you can take now. Limit yourself to the span of the next seven days and then repeat this reflection each week. Small consistent steps build momentum for huge change. And because your resolutions are now oriented around who you want to be at the end of 2017, you will slowly modify your mindset and behavior.

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Looking at the goals that you circled, consider what 1-3 steps you can do in the next seven days that take less than 30 minutes to complete. It’s important to create realistic, achievable goals. Putting a limit on the number of steps to complete, and the time to complete them will set you up for success. Put the steps you identified in your weekly to-do list/calendar and schedule. Repeat this practice on a weekly basis to build incremental success.

5. Acknowledge Your Success

Our minds are trained to look for problems. While this problem-solving mindset can be helpful under certain circumstances, it often stops us from following through on our goals. This creates a scarcity mindset, as our minds focus on what we have yet to accomplish, or what went wrong in our follow-through.

By acknowledging what you have completed, you gather momentum to keep going. Acknowledgement fuels your ability to keep positive commitments. So take five minutes at the end of each day or week to acknowledge what you have done. What actions did you take? What feelings did you honor? You can reflect on these mentally or write them down.

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More by this author

Marci Moberg

Mindfulness and Transformation Expert

How to Love Yourself More How To Create New Year’s Resolutions You’ll Keep

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Last Updated on December 2, 2019

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

Plato knew that the body and mind are intimately linked. And in the late 1800s, the Mayo brothers, famous physicians, estimated that over half of all hospital beds are filled with people suffering from frustration, anxiety, worry and despair. Causes of worry are everywhere, in our relationships and our jobs, so it’s key we find ways to take charge of the stress.

In his classic book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie offers tools to ditch excessive worrying that help you make a worry-free environment for your private and professional life.

These are the top 10 tips to grab worry by the horns and wrestle it to the ground:

1. Make Your Decision and Never Look Back

Have you ever made a decision in life only to second-guess it afterwards? Of course you have! It’s hard not to wonder whether you’ve done the right thing and whether there might still be time to take another path.

But keep this in mind: you’ve already made your decision, so act decisively on it and dismiss all your anxiety about it.

Don’t stop to hesitate, to reconsider, or to retrace your steps. Once you’ve chosen a course of action, stick to it and never waver.

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2. Live for Today, Package Things up in “Day-Tight Compartments”

You know that feeling: tossing, turning and worrying over something that happened or something that might, well into the wee hours. To avoid this pointless worrying, you need “day-tight compartments”. Much as a ship has different watertight compartments, your own “day-tight” ones are a way to limit your attention to the present day.

The rule is simple: whatever happened in the past or might happen in the future must not intrude upon today. Everything else has to wait its turn for tomorrow’s box or stay stuck in the past.

3. Embrace the Worst-Case Scenario and Strategize to Offset It

If you’re worried about something, ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Could you lose your job? Be jailed? Get killed?

Whatever the “worst” might be, it’s probably not so world-ending. You could probably even bounce back from it!

If, for example, you lose your job, you could always find another. Once you accept the worst-case scenario and get thinking about contingency plans, you’ll feel calmer.

4. Put a Lid on Your Worrying

Sometimes we stress endlessly about negative experiences when just walking away from them would serve us far better.

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To make squashing that worry easier, try this strategy, straight from stock traders: it’s called the “stop-loss” order, where shares are bought at a certain price, and then their price development is observed. If things go badly and the share price hits a certain point, they are sold off immediately. This stops the loss from increasing further.

In the same manner, you can put a stop-loss order on things that cause you stress and grief.

5. Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Happiness, That Is

We can’t directly influence how we feel, but we can nudge ourselves to change through how we think and act.

If you’re feeling sad or low, slap a big grin on your face and whistle a chipper tune. You’ll find it impossible to be blue when acting cheerful. But you don’t necessarily need to act outwardly happy; you can simply think happier thoughts instead.

Marcus Aurelius summed it up aptly:

“Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

6. Give for the Joy of Giving

When we perform acts of kindness, we often do so with the expectation of gratitude. But harboring such expectations will probably leave you disappointed.

One person well aware of this fact was the lawyer Samuel Leibowitz. Over the course of his career, Leibowitz saved 78 people from going to the electric chair. Guess how many thanked him? None.

So stop expecting gratitude when you’re kind to someone. Instead, take joy from the act yourself.

7. Dump Envy – Enjoy Being Uniquely You

Your genes are completely unique. Even if someone had the same parents as you, the likelihood of someone identical to you being born is just one in 300,000 billion.

Despite this amazing fact, many of us long to be someone else, thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But living your life this way is pointless. Embrace your uniqueness and get comfortable with who you really are: How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

8. Haters Will Hate — It Just Means You’re Doing It Right

When you’re criticized, it often means you’re accomplishing something noteworthy. In fact, let’s take it a step further and consider this: the more you’re criticized, the more influential and important a person you likely are.

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So the next time somebody talks you down, don’t let it get to you. Take it as a compliment!

9. Chill Out! Learn to Rest Before You Get Tired

Scientists agree that emotions are the most common cause of fatigue. And it works the other way around, too: fatigue produces more worries and negative emotions.

It should be clear, therefore, that you’ve got to relax regularly before you feel tired. Otherwise, worries and fatigue will accumulate on top of each other.

It’s impossible to worry when you are relaxed, and regular rest helps you maintain your ability to work effectively.

10. Get Organized and Enjoy Your Work

There are few greater sources of misery in life than having to work, day in, day out, in a job you despise. It would make sense then that you shouldn’t pick a job you hate, or even just dislike doing.

But say you already have a job. How can you make it more enjoyable and worry-free? One way is to stay organized: a desk full of unanswered mails and memos is sure to breed worries.

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Better yet, rethink about the job you’re doing: What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

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Featured photo credit: Tyler Nix via unsplash.com

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