How to ensure your new year’s resolutions will be a success

Hi all! Welcome back. First of all, I wish you a happy, healthy and fulfilling 2021.

Let’s talk new year’s resolutions, shall we? Maybe you’ve already been setting resolutions for the past few years (and possibly choosing the same ones each year, without much success), or you’ve never been a huge fan but decided to give it a go this time.

Personally, I’m not too much into the new year’s resolution thing in particular, but I do believe in setting goals for a determined amount of time and keeping yourself accountable.

However, I do usually decide on a few goals for the year. In order to help you – and myself – keep up with your resolutions, I’ll be sharing some tips on how to set and achieve your goals this year as well as some examples of my own resolutions.

Tip 1: Choose a goal that is realistic

By Tim Mossholder (unsplash.com)

This one is quite obvious. You need to choose a goal that you can actually, realistically achieve.

If you set your goals too high, for instance working out every single day, or eating only nutrient dense, ‘healthy’ foods, you’re bound to fail, because it is not sustainable.

Same goes for goals for which a year’s time is simply not enough.

One of my goals this year, is to control my sugar (and alcohol) intake. Alcohol is not much of a problem for me: I don’t drink regularly. However, in December during the holidays (and my birthday!) I tend to drink a bit more often than usual. In order to prevent it from becoming a habit, I’ll drink only once a month (or less) for the rest of the year.

So, start small with something that is sustainable for you. For this reason, I’m personally more of a monthly resolution type of person as opposed to new year’s resolutions. You can adjust your goals for the month each time based on the progress you made, and ensure your goals are still fitting you and your situation.

Sugar on the other hand is more challenging for me. I get addicted to sugar quite easily. So, this year I’ll try my best not to get any sugary treats throughout the week. In the weekend, I treat myself on something fresh and delicious, like something from a local bakery or home-baked (instead of sponsoring the big supermarkets and their – usually less tasty and unfulfilling – packaged stuff.

As you can see, I don’t completely eliminate sugar or alcohol from my diet. I still have moments where I can enjoy these things, I’ll probably even enjoy them more, because I’ll be more mindful about them.

Keep in mind that resolutions are – and should be – different for everyone. If working out once a week is challenging for you, go for that. If losing kg seems too intimidating, try to start with 1. You don’t have to match other people’s resolutions because you think they’re better or more impressive. Maybe for you it’s a big achievement to have only 1 treat a day, or drink only once a week. This is about you and your chance for success.

Also, don’t be afraid to adapt your goals when they don’t fit you or your circumstances anymore. If gyms close down due to a pandemic, it’s not realistic anymore to go to the gym every week. If you’ve lost your job, you won’t be saving as much as you had wanted to (or at all). This doesn’t mean you should be giving up! Just adapt your resolutions to something that is sustainable.

Tip 2: Make your resolution as concrete as possible

By Estée Janssens (unsplash.com)

Another tip is to formulate your resolutions as concretely as possible. Instead of ‘eating healthier’, ‘losing weight’, etc., go for something that is much more specific, so that it is easier to measure and hold yourself accountable. It also becomes less intimidating that way.

For example, I want to eat more beans and fish. Instead of setting this as my goal, which is hard to track and easy to forget about, I’ve decided I want to start eating both beans and fish at least once a week.

Now, I just have to track the goal weekly. On top of that, it will become a habit, which is important for sustainable progress.

So, instead of ‘eating healthier’ or ‘losing weight’, set more concrete goals, preferably based on behaviour instead of results. For instance: getting X amount of protein each day, drinking X amount of water, working out X times per week. Or, going for a walk everyday or drinking a cup of green tea daily.

Tip 3: Divide long term goals in steps, and set sub goals on the shorter term

By Nathan Dumlao (unsplash.com)

Like I already mentioned, I’m more of a fan of short term (like monthly) goals compared to, or in addition to longer term goals.

Referring back to the last two tips, short term (sub) goals makes it easier to adapt term in order to ensure sustainability, and also easier to make them more concrete.

At the same time, short term goals are clearer (easier to grasp) and allow for more success experiences that motivate you to keep going.


I hope this helps! If you have any questions – or tips of your own – please share!

And what are some of your resolutions?

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