How To Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

It’s that time of year again where people start to think about self improvements and make New Year’s resolutions? Lots of people make them, even though typically these proposed changes don’t last. The failure rate for New Year’s resolutions is actually a whopping 80% – that’s a pretty long shot for success. But maybe people tend to go about it wrong. We have some ideas to help you be more successful.

There are specific barriers to keeping resolutions to keep in mind when you are making them to improve your chances of success. Your resolutions need to be SMART, like your goals. But what does SMART even mean? It’s a mnemonic and each letter stands for a key component of setting realistic objectives.

Here’s what each letter means:


Your resolution should identify exactly what you are looking to do. “Save money” isn’t specific, “Save a dollar a day” is. If your goal is general, if you’re feeling overly optimistic or overly pessimistic, you can have a skewed view as to how well you’re doing with keeping your resolution. When you’re specific, it’s less subjective.


As we talked about before, a specific goal is measurable. You will know if you are keeping your resolution or not. There’s no wondering. You know because you set a resolution you can measure. It might mean that the measure needs to be adjusted based on progress, but what you can measure, you can manage, as they say.


Your resolution needs to be something you can actually do. Don’t set a resolution you can never attain, you will just end up discouraged. This is actually a way a lot of people sabotage themselves by setting unrealistic expectations they can never meet and then not achieving it, reinforcing their belief that change is impossible and allowing them to stay “stuck.”


Ground your resolutions in reality. Losing 80 pounds in a month isn’t a realistic goal. Stick to something that’s actually in reach. Think about all the things you have to change to reach your goal and how likely it is you will actually be willing to do it. Keep in mind motivation doesn’t always last, but small, sustainable habit changes introduced one at a time are more likely to stick.


Set a timeframe around your resolution – maybe even take a phased approach to reaching your goal. Be mindful of how long it will take to achieve and make a plan for a completion date. Leave room for learning and think about if you need to adjust it what an acceptable time frame for a more leisurely pace might be.

If you find you are struggling with making changes in your life, a Wellin5 counsellor can help you talk it out. Whether your resolution is about weight loss, smoking cessation, improving your personal relationships, reaching your career goals, going back to school or getting organized, having someone to keep you accountable to your objectives can make the process easier.

Are you making a New Year’s resolution this year? What resolution will you make and how will you be SMART about it?