Goal-planning 101: How to make your New Year’s resolutions stick


The start of a new year means a fresh chance to set goals to be healthy, wealthy and wise. Who doesn’t want to better their life, right? But if you’re like most people, your New Year’s resolutions go by the wayside as soon as the stringent dieting, brutal workouts, ambitious money-saving and brain-enrichment activities leave you exhausted and feeling like a failure.

Goal-planning is essential in making that list of New Year’s resolutions, yet how you set your goals is key in making your resolutions stick. Here are the top five tips to help you make and keep your New Year’s resolutions.

1. Make sure you really want to reach your goals

It’s easy to make a list of New Year’s resolutions just because that is what everyone else is doing, but it is important that you’re setting goals that you are truly motivated to reach. For example, don’t set a goal to eat better if you know you’re not really committed to changing your diet. So, as you’re making your list, consider only the goals that you’ll reach for with all of your heart.

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2. Break up your goals

Instead of striving to keep all of your resolutions at the same time or putting all of your energy into striving for the pinnacle of your goals, consider tackling them one step at a time. Dr. Nita Landry, OB/GYN and cohost of The Doctors, recommends breaking your goals into smaller achievable objectives. “Break down your New Year’s resolutions into quarterly goals,” she suggests. “If you have a big goal, breaking it down might make it seem more attainable and you will be less likely to give up.” Forget the “go big or go home” approach.

3. Share and reach your goals with others

Don’t keep your New Year’s resolutions to yourself and don’t try to keep them by yourself. According to the American Psychological Association, talking to family and friends about your goals can help you keep them. Find people with similar goals or join a support group of people with whom you can share your “struggles and successes”. Having others involved in your goal-related activities can help keep you accountable.

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4. Create a vision board

Instead of just posting a list of New Year’s resolutions on your refrigerator, select a goal and envision what that goal means specifically for your life. Dr. Landry’s tip? “Make a vision board that reflects your goal.” Vision boards are a visual tool that you create with drawings, photos, words, phrases and other items that help you clarify your resolutions and keep you focused on them. Your vision board is a motivational tool that is unique to you. Dr. Landy adds, “Make sure you place it somewhere you’ll see it every day!” Daily motivation will help make your New Year’s resolutions stick.

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5. Commit and don’t quit

While you’re striving toward your goals, you’ll inevitably experience setbacks and, perhaps, even want to crush your vision board or crumple up your list of New Year’s resolutions. Don’t let a setback derail your motivation to reach your goals. You’ve committed to them, they are important to you, and setbacks can be valuable learning experiences. Don’t quit. Commit, recommit and let setbacks be part of the success story of you making your resolutions stick.