New Year's Resolutions: 4 Tips to Make Yours Stick (For Real This Time)

Thursday, January 10, 2019

When it comes to New Year's resolutions, everyone seems to have a different opinion: some swear by them, some swear they'll never work, and some are just indifferent. There are also so many different ways to make resolutions: list out goals for the year, come up with a word of the year to focus on/define your next 365 days, make a game plan, do the "less of/more of" approach. 

So, what do you do?

I always make resolutions for the new year, in some form, on December 31st... and I've tried most of the styles above. Last year I went with the "less of/more of" approach (one of my favorite bloggers actually recently blogged about this method), and I must admit -- it was a really good year. But I'm not sure it's because of my resolutions and how I made them. In fact, I listed things like "more water/less caffeine" and failed miserably, haha. For me, making specific goals is what seems to really motivate me.

Looking back on 2018, I think it was a good year because I decided, day by day, month by month, what I wanted and just kept moving toward it. Were there hard moments? Of course. There was illness, some personal struggles and funks, loss. There was heartbreak and there were tears shed. But those times were always followed by picking myself up and refocusing, "keeping in the sunlight" as Benjamin Franklin once said.

Based on all the ways I've tried to make resolutions and what has/hasn't worked for me, I have a few tips that might help if you're the resolution-making type:

Don't expect perfection: You shouldn't lower the standards of your dreams. I think you should always set the bar high -- that big dream is what will keep you reaching. But the day to day stuff? Things are going to happen. If we expect things to always be smooth sailing, we're going to be let down. And when we feel let down, we're more likely to give up altogether. I know all of this from experience, friends -- my personality loves for things to go according to plan. But I've learned, from motherhood more than anything, that that's simply not real life. So I've intentionally tried to loosen my grip on the idea of perfection, and ultimately, I'm happier because of it!

Just keep moving: I suspect one of the reasons people don't like resolutions is because, once we inevitably don't stick to one (because we're human), we feel like it's a total loss. Not true! The thing is: it's not all or nothing! And the end result isn't going to fall into our lap the day after we start. Whether it be exercising, working toward a financial goal, going after your dream job, being a better friend or mother -- just take little steps every single day, and don't stop moving. There were so many days I didn't necessarily feel like blogging (Is anyone reading? Does anyone care? We all have these thoughts!), but I knew if I stopped, I might never start again. And I love this too much to give up on it.

Personalize your goal: When it comes to resolutions, one size is not fits all. Sure, we can all jot "get healthy" down on a piece of paper and hope it happens, but it's simply not going to if we don't figure out what it will take to make it happen. So: what do you enjoy? Apply whatever the answer to that is to what you want to accomplish. This has been working well for me with working out (like most people, exercising more is on my list of resolutions year after year). First, I stopped trying to figure out the most affordable gym and fretting about the childcare there and bought a $100 treadmill from Facebook marketplace. We put it in the basement and... it sat there. But at the end of the year, we made a little play space in the basement for the kids, and I also discovered a couple of podcasts I really like. So now I can hop on the treadmill for 30 minutes while the kids play next to me, and I put on a podcast episode. By the time the episode is finished, I feel like I've had an inspirational (and much-needed!) adult conversation, and I've squeezed in a workout. Win, win.

Allow room for discovery: When we have our sights so set on a particular handful of goals, we can miss what's happening in the moment. And it might just be that what's happening in the moment is greater than any goal we could have set for ourselves. For instance, in 2018 -- and this sounds kind of silly for some reason, but I'm dead serious -- I discovered a love for cooking. That wasn't on my radar, but because of something that was -- meal planning -- I found out that I really enjoyed finding new recipes, making them, and feeding my little family. There's something therapeutic about the cooking, and the end result is so satisfying. Or maybe I'm just getting old. ;) Either way... I discovered something new about myself and that's pretty fun.

What would you add that's worked for you? I'd love to hear, and would love to know some of your biggest goals, hopes, and dreams for the year ahead. Here's to the best one yet!


  1. I love this friend, especially allowing room for discovery and living in the moment. It’s so hard to anticipate what a year may hold when it’s jusf beginning but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t set goals and try to grow.


CopyRight © | Theme Designed By Hello Manhattan