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How to make new resolutions that stick

As 2016 draws to a closer and 2017 comes closer (or has already arrived by the time you read this!), millions of people around the world invariably try (and mostly fail) at sticking to their new year resolutions. Most people blame themselves for a lack of will power for failing to stick to their new year resolutions but that is only half the story.

Truth is, if you have a better strategy for creating and sticking to your resolutions; the better you will be at keeping them. Here are 8 ways for you to make sure those new year resolutions stick.

1. Don’t overreach. It’s great coming up with 10 massive things you want to do for the new year thinking ‘if I can keep 5 of those, it would be good!’. The fact is, your mind is able to focus only on a small amount of things at any single one time. Having a big long list of resolution dilutes your chances of actually achieving any single one of them. Want your resolution to really work? Choose one resolution and stick to it for the year.

2. Small action steps.

Many people fail at their new year resolutions because it necessitates a behavioral change. Changing behavior or breaking old habits, as you may already be aware, is one of the hardest things to do. One way to enact change is to break up your goals into small incremental doable changes.

For instance, if your resolution is to ‘lose 10 kg’; think through the things that you need to actually do to achieve that. This could be, for instance, exercising for 10 minutes in the evening everyday or eating at home at least 1 more time each week.

When your resolutions are broken down this way, it doesn’t feel or seem like an abstract thing but something that has small but clear specific meaning/goals attached to it.

3. Make sure you craft your resolutions property. It is easy saying ‘I want to lose weight’ but what does that actually translate into? Make sure your resolutions are specific, time bound and measurable. Instead of saying I want to lose weight say ‘I want to lose 10 kilos in 12 months and I will track my resolution monthly. This will be achieved by XYZ’.

4. Be held accountable. Get your buddy or your partner to keep you accountable and help you commit to your resolution. They can help motivate you, keep you on track and push you when you meet obstacles.

5. Understand and accept that things don’t go fully to plan.

While you should certainly do your best to stick to your resolutions, don’t beat yourself up if you did not fully meet the resolution or if you fail to stick to the small action steps from time to time. For instance, if you realize that instead of 10 kilos, you shed only 4 kilos. In the grand scheme of things, is that really a bad outcome? Of course not! If anything, it goes to show that your resolution is working!

6. Set reminders.

There are some habits that you consciously and unconsciously do everyday so why not tack on your ‘small action steps’ to your habits? For instance, if your goal is to meditate everyday for 15 minutes everyday, why not stick a post-it note in your bathroom mirror so you can be reminded every-time you brush your teeth at night?

7. Measure it! There is no point in setting a resolution if you’re unable to measure it. Make sure you can track it so that you know what is going right and what is going wrong. This can be as simple as writing down on a notepad the progress you’ve made on a monthly basis or as comprehensive as setting up spreadsheets to track daily progression.

The more obsessed you are about tracking, the more likely you will succeed. For a case a point, see this CNN editorial on how a guy saved over $30,000 in three years by obsessively tracking his budget on a daily basis!

8. Visualize the end goal. Whatever your beliefs are about positive thinking, visualizing the end goal can help you stay on track immensely. On a consistent basis (daily, weekly or monthly), visualize in rich detail how your end goal will look like. How would you feel? What would you be doing when you achieved the goal? Make it as rich and as vivid as possible.

Most importantly, the best advice one can give you is to go out there and start doing – today – what you need to reach your resolution! Have a great 2017 ahead from everyone at!

About the author


Ryan Higgs

Ryan is a regular content contributor to and is interested in personal growth and productivity. He is a web entrepreneur and runs 3 successful online websites.