Beating the Odds: How to Successfully Keep Your New Year's Resolution


As we embark upon the new year many of us are making ambitious plans to improve our lives and set new goals for ourselves. These intentions, also known as New Year's resolutions, often start off strong but tend to fizzle out as time goes on. Despite our best efforts, it can be challenging to stick to our resolutions and make lasting changes. However, with the right mindset and approach, it is possible to beat the odds and successfully keep your New Year's resolution. In this article, we will discuss some practical tips and strategies to help you stay on track and achieve your goals for the new year.

Create a Realistic and Specific Resolution 

create specific goals

Ensuring your New Year's resolution is both specific and realistic is key to staying on track. Consider the difference between a broad, vague aspiration and a well-defined, achievable goal. For instance, rather than committing to "improve metabolic health," pinpoint what that means for you. Perhaps it's stabilizing blood sugar levels, integrating more veggies into your meals, or staying hydrated? When we make these goals even more specific we may set out to achieve keeping blood sugar below 130 mg/dL, adding one serving of veggies to every meal, or drinking 10 glasses of water each day. Tailoring your resolution to your personal circumstances and desires gives it a tangible form, a shape you can visualize and work towards. This specificity not only simplifies planning but also facilitates an accurate measurement of your success, as you'd have clear benchmarks to hit. Remember, a target that can be seen is much easier to hit. So, get detailed with your resolution and aim for something within your reach!

Break Down Your Resolution Into Manageable Steps 

how to get fit

Sometimes, the enormity of our New Year's resolution can feel like staring up at a mountain peak from the base camp. It's high, it's distant, it's intimidating. But remember, every mountain is conquered not in one giant leap, but step by careful step. Similarly, your resolution is your personal mountain, and it's essential to break it down into smaller, feasible tasks.

Let's say, for example, your resolution is to run a marathon. A 26.2-mile race may seem overwhelming at first. However, instead of focusing on the full distance, begin with smaller, less intimidating goals. Commit to running a few times a week initially. Once you're comfortable with that, gradually start increasing your distance, one mile at a time.

This method of breaking down your goals can be applied to any resolution. If you're aiming to write a book, start with a paragraph, then a page, then a chapter. If your goal is to eat healthier, start by trading one of your go-to processed foods for a high-protein snack each day.

Each little accomplishment along the path towards your larger goal will fuel your determination. It will make the task seem less daunting and give you a sense of achievement. So, break down your resolution into manageable bites, and relish the satisfaction that comes with each small triumph on the path to your grand New Year's victory.

Schedule Time to Work on Your Resolution 

setting goals

When it comes to sticking to your New Year's resolution, time management is your secret weapon. Treat your resolution like a crucial meeting or an appointment that cannot be postponed. Rather than hoping to find time, deliberately carve out specific slots in your daily schedule to focus on your resolution. If your resolution is to exercise more, block out a consistent workout time each day. If you're looking to cook more nutritious meals, designate time to meal prep for the week. Making these activities a non-negotiable part of your everyday routine will help convert them into habits. In essence, it's about giving your resolution the priority it deserves on your daily agenda. So, grab your calendar, and start penciling in some dedicated resolution time (or add an alert on your phone)! Remember, you're not just finding time; you're making time.

Enlist the Support of Friends and Family 

workout buddy

Harnessing the power of your personal support system can be a game-changer in accomplishing your New Year's resolution. Make your resolution a shared journey by looping in your loved ones about your plans and aspirations. They can serve as your motivators, your accountability partners, or even as fellow resolution buddy if they share similar goals. Just imagine the fun of going for a morning run with your best friend, or the satisfaction of cooking a healthy meal with your partner. The camaraderie will not only make the process more enjoyable but can also foster a sense of shared responsibility and commitment, making your resolution less of a solo struggle and more of a group triumph. So, open up, share your New Year's game plan with your friends and family, and gear up for a supportive and successful resolution journey!

Regularly Reflect on Your Progress 

reflect on your progress

Stepping back and assessing your journey is an essential part of achieving your New Year's resolution. Making it a point to analyze your progress every week can be beneficial in many ways. It can help you identify what strategies are working well for you and which ones might need some tweaking. It's an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the small victories and milestones you've reached, and these celebrations can give you a much-needed morale boost! Remember, no step forward, no matter how small, is insignificant.

Reflecting on your progress is not just about keeping a tab on your achievements, though. It's also about understanding and acknowledging the hurdles you've encountered. Perhaps there were specific roadblocks that slowed you down, or certain strategies that didn't pan out as expected? Use these insights to recalibrate your game plan and devise more effective strategies moving forward.

So, why not set aside some time every week to reflect? Make a date with yourself - perhaps a delicious GOOD IDEA with your favorite snack at your side. Go through your journey thus far, pat yourself on the back for the strides you've made, understand the missteps, and strategize for the path ahead. Remember, this is your journey, and every step forward is worth celebrating. Keep the reflection going, and let it guide you to a successful New Year's resolution!

Cultivate a Positive Mindset 

positive mindset

The power of positivity can be your ultimate game-changer in the journey towards fulfilling your New Year's resolution. This journey is, in fact, a test of perseverance and a positive mindset can act as your trusty shield against any discouraging thoughts or setbacks that may emerge along the way. A simple shift in perspective can transform challenges into opportunities, allowing you to see every stumble as a chance to learn and grow. Revel in the little victories - be it a healthier meal choice, lowering your blood pressure by a few points, or a further mile run - each one of these small wins is a testament to your progress and dedication. They deserve to be recognized and celebrated. Remember, a positive mind cultivates positive actions. It's also crucial to remind yourself why you embarked on this journey. Revisiting your initial motivation can be a potent reminder of your commitment and can help to keep your spirits high even when the going gets tough. So, with every step on this path, strive to keep your head held high, your perspective positive, and your motivation unwavering.

Embrace Setbacks and Learn From Them 

new year's resolution

Along the path to fulfilling your New Year's resolution, it's important to remember that setbacks are a natural part of the journey. Far from being a signal of defeat, they're valuable learning opportunities, providing insights that can help you refine your strategy and grow. It's like navigating a winding road. Each twist and turn might slow your pace, but they also make the journey more meaningful, allowing you to learn, adapt, and ultimately become stronger.

So, if you stumble, don't be disheartened. Instead, use these instances as a chance to reassess your approach. Maybe there's a better way to tackle a particular task, or perhaps a certain strategy needs tweaking? Whatever the case, don't let setbacks stop you in your tracks. Instead, see them as stepping stones leading you closer to your goal.

Remember, even the most successful individuals have faced setbacks. It's how they've embraced these challenges and used them to fuel their progress. The next time you encounter a setback, take a deep breath, learn from it, and keep pushing forward. After all, the journey towards your New Year's resolution is about progress, not perfection.


Author: Dr. Colleen Gulick