New Year's Resolutions We Can Keep - Part 1

Written by: Eva Kovač, Univ. graduate of Psychology

New Year is a great opportunity for a new beginning. It is obvious that we can "start over" whenever we want, but doing it on the first day of the year is even more binding. Or maybe on a birthday. Or a Monday. Maybe at the first day of the month. But how can we prevent ourselves from losing our will? We can efficiently use the symbolism of the New Year as a fresh start by realizing why we have not kept our resolutions so far and how to keep them from now on.

‘Loose' New Year's Resolutions Are Ineffective

"I will be fitter next year, I will eat more healthily, I will do more sports, I will be less stressed…" – These are resolutions we usually can't keep. That is why we have to clearly determine, what they mean. What exactly does it mean to eat less, do more sports or be fitter? These resolutions are likely to be left hanging in the air, because they are too "loose". In other words: they are not specific enough.

Resolutions that don't depend only on us are also ineffective. A great example is "I will win the lottery." Resolutions like this one don't make us feel powerful enough, and that is why we do not actively try to achieve them.

Rewrite Ineffective New Year's Resolutions and Keep Them!

So, how do we create our resolutions to achieve them successfully? For starters define short-term goals as steps to the main objective for every resolution. Because New Year's resolutions are really nothing but goals, that were set better or worse. Each achieved goal pushes us toward our objective and each slip warns us to get back on the right track.

Besides that you can follow other instructions:

  • Define your resolutions specifically – don't write: "Be happier," but ask yourselves what would you do if you were happier.
  • You can write down an infinite resolutions-list, but stick to three at a time.
  • Choose measurable resolutions. Don't say: "I will be more active," but: "I will jog at least twice a week."
  • Set realistic New Year's resolutions. Unreachable goals will put you under even bigger stress and empower the feeling of inability. Set realistically achievable goals.
  • Be patient and persistent. Don't let little failures discourage you from achieving the objective.
  • Make resolutions for yourself. Internal motivation is the best form of motivation.
  • Each resolution should also be time bound. When are you going to start? When should you reach your goal? Answers these questions realistically and specifically as well.

But this is not it! There are other "helpers" that can make your resolutions become a reality. Check how to strengthen your commitment to New Year's resolutions and how to put up with the obstacles in the second part of advice about New Year's resolutions we can keep.