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Goal Getting

9 Tips For Making a New Year’s Resolution and Keeping It

Written by Annabel Candy
Annabel is the founder of Get In the Hot Spot, a blog that helps women in aged 40+ be more adventurous and feel fabulous.
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Are you keen to reinvent yourself this year? Or at least use the new year as a long overdue excuse to get rid of bad habits or pick up new ones?

Yes, it’s that time of year again to learn how to keep new year resolution. It’s the time of year when we feel as if we have to turn over a new leaf and have a fresh start. The time when we misguidedly imagine that the arrival of a new year will magically provide the catalyst, motivation and persistence we need to reinvent ourselves.

Traditionally, New Year’s Day is styled as the ideal time to kick start a new phase in your life and the time when you must make your all important new year’s resolution.

Unfortunately, the beginning of the year is also one of the worst times to make a major change in your habits because it’s often a relatively stressful time, right in the middle of the party and vacation season. This is why over 80% of New Year’s Resolutions Fail. [1]

Don’t set yourself up for failure this year by vowing to make huge changes that will be hard to keep. Instead follow these seven steps for successfully making a new year’s resolution you can stick to for the long term.

1. Pick One Thing

If you want to change your life or your lifestyle don’t try to change the whole thing at once. It won’t work. Instead pick one area of your life to change to begin with.


The trick in how to make new year resolution is to make it something concrete so you know exactly what change you’re planning to make.

If you’re successful with the first change you can go ahead and make another change after a month or so. By making small changes one after the other, you still have the chance to be a whole new you at the end of the year and it’s a much more realistic way of doing it.

To put this into perspective, 50% of people want to improve their fitness as a New Year’s Resolution. [2] However, don’t pick a New Year’s resolution that’s bound to fail either, like running a marathon if you’re 40lbs overweight and get out of breath walking upstairs.

If that’s the case, resolve to making new year’s resolutions that will motivate you to walk every day. Maybe this can aid you in losing weight.

When you’ve got that habit down pat you can graduate to running in short bursts, constant running by March or April and a marathon at the end of the year. What’s the one habit you most want to change?

2. Plan Ahead

Making new year’s resolutions is no walk in the park. Learning how to keep new year’s resolutions is even harder.


To ensure success, do not wait until the last minute. You need to research the change you’re making and plan ahead so you have the resources available when you need them.

Here are a few things you should do to prepare and get all the systems in place ready to make your change.

Read up on it – Go to the library and get books on the subject. Whether it’s quitting smoking, taking up running or yoga or becoming vegan there are books to help you prepare for it. Or use the Internet.

If you do enough research and make time for your resolutions, you will be looking forward to making the change.

Plan for success – Get everything ready so things will run smoothly. If you’re taking up running make sure you have the trainers, clothes, hat, glasses, or ipod loaded with energetic sounds at the ready.

You can even enlist someone to partner with you. According to research from the University of Georgia, self control can be contagious so teaming up with a friend or colleague can influence your choices. ((Sciencedaily: Self-control, and Lack of Self-control, Is Contagious))


There can be no excuses. This is one of the reasons why resolutions fail.

3. Anticipate Problems

Reaching your goal will not be easy. There will be problems so make a list of what they’ll be. If you think about it, you’ll be able to anticipate problems at certain times of the day, with specific people or in special situations.

Once you’ve identified the times that will probably be hard work out ways to cope with them when they inevitably crop up. If you keep this tip in mind, you can learn how to keep new year’s resolutions.

4. Pick a Start Date

You don’t have to make these changes on New Year’s Day. That’s the conventional wisdom, but if you truly want to make changes then pick a day when you know you’ll be well-rested, enthusiastic and surrounded by positive people. I’ll be waiting until my kids go back to school in February.

Sometimes picking a date doesn’t work. It’s better to wait until your whole mind and body are fully ready to take on the challenge. You’ll know when it is when the perfect time comes.

Similar to picking a start date, it is also recommended to establish a timeline towards your goals.

Give yourself ample time to achieve your new year’s resolution by making smaller milestones along the way. By ticking off these small wins, your progress will be more evident.

For example, if you want to eat healthier, you can set up “vegan days” twice a week during January and February. Then, you can gradually increase it as the months go by.


5. Track Your Progress

There’s nothing more motivating than seeing how far you’ve come. If you want to give yourself extra reassurance that you are heading in the right direction, track your progress. Thanks to technology, this has become easy to do.

For instance, you can use an app to check off the days where you have worked towards your goal. If you want to take the extra mile, you can also create a spreadsheet that will make visualizing your progress easier.

When you see that you’ve come far and all the sacrifices you made were worthwhile, you will be more motivated to stay on track. Reviewing all the effort you have made is also a great strategy for days when you feel that your motivation is dwindling.

6. Remember Your Past Failures

One of the best tricks you will learn in how to make a new year resolution is to take a look at your previous failures. This way, you won’t make those mistakes again.

If you continuously make the same mistakes year after year, your self-esteem will be drastically affected.

If you want to set new year resolutions you’ve failed to keep in the past, evaluate your lapses. What strategies did you make that caused you to slip out of it? Were there things that motivated you to work harder in achieving your goal?

As much as you can, be flexible. There is nothing wrong with altering your resolution to make it more realistic. Who knows, you may see better results if you change your approach.


7. Go for It

On the big day go for it 100%. When learning how to make new year resolution, make a commitment and write it down on a card.

You just need one short phrase you can carry in your wallet. Or keep it in your car, by your bed and on your bathroom mirror too for an extra dose of positive reinforcement.

Your commitment card will say something like:

  • I enjoy a clean, smoke-free life.
  • I stay calm and in control even under times of stress.
  • I’m committed to learning how to run my own business.
  • I meditate daily.

8. Accept Failure

Whether you have small or big goals, failure is normal. If you do fail and sneak a cigarette, miss a walk or shout at the kids one morning, don’t hate yourself for it.

There’s nothing wrong with occasional slips. Make a note of the triggers and bad habits that caused this set back and vow to learn a lesson from them.

If you know that alcohol makes you crave cigarettes and oversleep the next day cut back on it. If you know the morning rush before school makes you shout then get up earlier or prepare things the night before to make it easier on you.


Perseverance is the key to success. Set goals, try again, keep trying and you will succeed.

9. Plan Your Rewards

Small rewards are great encouragement to keep you going during the hardest first days so make sure to master this step in how to make new year resolution.

After that you can probably reward yourself once a week with a magazine, a long-distance call to supportive friends and family, a siesta, a trip to the movies or whatever makes you tick.

Later you can change the rewards to monthly and then at the end of the year you can pick an anniversary reward. Something that you’ll look forward to. You deserve it and you’ll have earned it.

Whatever your plans and set goals are for this year, I’d do wish you luck with them but remember, it’s your life and you make your own luck.

Decide what you want to do this year, plan how to get it and go for it. I’ll definitely be cheering you on.

Final Thoughts

Every person has struggled to make new year’s resolutions and maintain them. So if you have had a bad track record in keeping your resolutions in the past, do not beat yourself up too much. There is still hope. What sets success and failure apart is year long term commitment.

Now that you know how to make new year resolution, you are one step closer to achieving your goals.

Are you planning to make a New Year’s resolution? What is it and is it something you’ve tried to do before or something new? Why not pick one from this list: 50 New Year’s Resolution Ideas And How To Achieve Each Of Them


Featured photo credit: Ian Schneider via unsplash.com


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