8 Steps for Making (and Keeping) Successful New Year's Resolutions

As the calendar turns over to 2017 it is time for the annual ritual of New Year’s Resolutions.


It is a ritual that reportedly began with the ancient Babylonians, who made promises to their gods in order to curry favors and start the New Year off right. Of course, back then a new year began in March with the first full moon following the vernal equinox. Things have change somewhat since then, but not the intrinsic human nature to think of starting a new calendar year with a fresh start and a fresh set of personal objectives. 


However, while New Year’s Resolutions may be an annual ritual for many, it is not a very successful practice. Research shows that the large majority of New Year’s Resolutions are abandoned within the first 90 days of the year.


To help you keep your own personal New Year’s Resolutions going past the end of March, here are 8 steps for making (and keeping) successful resolutions:

1.   Understand the WHY behind each of your goals and desires. This takes a bit of time and reflection, but it is crucial that you internalize why a goal is significant and important to you. If you don’t, it’s too easy to toss the resolution aside when you hit obstacles and hurdles.


2.   Visualize the outcome and your results. What will success look like? How will you feel when your goal is accomplished? Who will you tell? How will they react? Focus on your feelings, for positive feelings are powerful motivators and you can call upon these if you lose momentum or hit some temporary setback.


3.   Create specific details for each goal on your list:

      a) write out the purpose of the goal (i.e. feeling better about yourself may be the purpose for losing weight).

      b) write down how you will make this goal a priority throughout the coming year, or until it is accomplished.

      c) list the Key Action Steps you need to take (with specific deadlines if appropriate).

      d) list all the available resources to help you achieve the goal

      e) create a list of additional resources you may need (this may include people, knowledge, tools, funds, or even time).

      f) make a list of reference links to information, tools, data, and motivational quotes you may need to call upon.


4.   Use our Personal Change Action Plan template to create a 30-60-90 day action plan for each goal. It’s free. It’s easy to use. You can modify it to suit your needs if you want. No more excuses. Go to our Personal Change Action Plan, copy it, and use it.


5.   Prepare yourself mentally and emotionally for the journey to success. Most likely the road will not be smooth and even. There will be bumps, hurdles, and obstacles along the way. How will you overcome these? What are your personal sources of motivation? Need some help in this area? Our book Project You: Words of Wisdom is free in the Amazon Kindle store (Dec 30, 2016 – Jan 3, 2017). In it you will find a wide range of motivational quotations on all aspects of life. It is also available in paperback for just $6.45. Get your copy now by clicking this link: Project You: Words of Wisdom


6.   Make a commitment to yourself — a PROMISE to yourself —that you will maintain resilience and perseverance until your goal is accomplished.


7.   As you progress toward your goal, focus on accomplishments, not gaps. Hence, if your goal is to lose 15 pounds, and by the end of February you are down five pounds, focus on this accomplishment, not the 10 more pounds left to go.


8.   Celebrate achievements and milestones along the way. Lost that first five pounds? Good, now go celebrate. Reward yourself. Even with a slice or two of pizza if you want (but not the whole pizza!).


Here are two other articles to help you achieve your 2017 New Year’s Resolutions: 

Why Personal Change Often Fails

7 Key Success Factors for Implementing Personal Change 


We wish you continued success in 2017.