How to Set a New Year's Resolution You Will Actually Stick To

Date 2018-12-28 Author Allie Wooldridge Category mind

The New Year comes with the promise of a new beginning. And if you are like me, and like most people for that matter, you use the start of the year to make a commitment of some kind to yourself. Then, at some point over the first 30-90 days of the year you find that the excitement and desire to continue with that commitment fades quickly.

There is a way that we can make a New Year’s Resolution and keep it! Not only for the first part of the year, or the entire year, but forever!! My goal in this blog is to walk you through the steps to do just that. Click here to download the worksheet that will walk you through the steps.

“1% improvement each day leads to a 365% improvement over the year”
~ Robin Sharma

Each year as January 1st approaches, I am faced with the same decision; do I make a New Year’s Resolution or not? This decision is difficult because either I inevitably disappoint myself, or, I need to convince myself that I don’t want to make any changes at all.

Over 2018 I learned that progress and habit change take time! So this year I decided to take this wisdom and apply it to setting my New Year’s Resolution. Using what I know and the skills I have developed I will set the resolution and stick with it!

“Your past does not define you, it prepares you.”
~ Anonymous

Engaging in some honest self-reflection about my track record, the truth was revealed. The reason I break promises to myself is because I expect the new action or habit to be immediately and perfectly implemented.

Therefore, the best way for me to build trust in my ability to set and stick with a New Year’s Resolution is to make one, and do it smarter! I will plan to accompany my resolution with gradual and progressive steps. This will allow me to build self-trust and minimize the fear of failing.

Step 1: Choose a Resolution

This sounds easy enough. I know what I want so I’ll make that my resolution. One of my resolutions is to “Eat less processed foods, and Eat more whole foods”. Ok, great, that’s done…

Wait! Is it really? Choosing a New Year’s Resolution is about making my life better in some way. So it’s important to ask myself “Will this make me happier”?

The reason we set goals (resolutions) in the first place is to be happy. The way we get there should make us feel happy, excited, and empowered as well. Ultimately stopping once we reach the goal is proof that it did not meet the “happiness” criteria.

This is explained nicely in the YouTube video “How to Set Goals that will Actually Make you Happy” by Brian Johnson.

I now use this concept in all my goal setting. It releases me from the notion that I need to feel deprived when setting a goal. It gives me permission to take smaller steps. And it taught me to understand that I can allow myself the time I need for change.

This is what makes New Year’s Resolutions so great. I get 365 days to make that change. It can begin on January 1st but I don’t have to reach that goal until Dec 31.

“You don’t have to go fast, you just have to go.”
~ Unknown

Part 2 of choosing my resolution is to know WHY I am doing it. Changing something I do daily will not be easy, but it is much easier if I know the underlying reason (the truth behind wanting the new habit).

Getting curious with myself about the deeper desire for change is very powerful.

In the past, I have used “losing weight” as the reason to eat more whole foods. Now eating more whole food stems from my desire to be a better role model (or role mama as a friend said) for my children.

I feel a much deeper and stronger connection to making and sticking with the change with this reason at the root of the decision. It will be easier to make an aligned decision in tough moments knowing this. And it will serve as a reminder of what I will gain, rather than what I will give up.

Step 2: Make It Actionable

A New Year’s resolution is usually something that I need to start or stop doing. I am talking about my daily habits.

Habits are the little actions that I do automatically every day, my almost involuntary behaviours. They are the patterns and actions I do without thinking, unless I am trying to change them.

Therefore, in order to make my resolution successful, I have to intentionally choose to do something different. In other words, my positive outcome is a by-product of the new action.

“The truth is you don’t break a bad habit; you replace it with a new one.”
~ Denis Waitley

It’s helpful to remember that I have the entire year to reach my goal. I can use the time and structure of the year to my advantage.

For example, the goal (eat more whole foods) can be broken up into mini monthly goals. This way I can focus on changing one part of the habit at a time. I get 30 (or 31) days to master a particular piece and then move to the next, rather than going “cold turkey” and expecting success.

Progressive change removes the pressure and lowers expectations, making the change much more enjoyable (queue the dance music). Of course, if I am doing well I can make bigger or additional changes at any given time.

This way, by the end of the year, I can guarantee my success. I will reach the resolution and have built lifelong habits along the way. After all, the resolution is for the year of 2019, not just for January 1, 2019.

There is no longer a need for me to fear that 30-90 day mark of the New Year or to waver on whether or not to make a resolution. I have a way to keep my excitement and desire for my new commitment. All I have to do is take my resolution and make it meaningful, habit focused, and incrementally actionable.

There is no right or wrong resolution; there is just a better way to go about making one.

“The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away a small stone”.
~ Conficius

I will be sharing my monthly habit change goals on my Instagram account @rockabyebalance. Be sure to take a look there at the start of each month to see how I will be going about incrementally implementing my New Year’s Resolution.

If you haven’t already downloaded the worksheet, do so here. It will help you work through the steps to follow through on your New Year’s Resolution.

Let me know in the comment section below what your New Year’s Resolution is and the little habits you will develop over the year to ensure you get to and stick with your resolution.

“Small daily improvements over time lead to stunning results”
~ Robin Sharma

Happy New Year! May this be your best year yet :)

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog and share your thoughts.

With love and gratitude,


Sharing this post helps me out a ton <3

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with an asterisk (*).

Join the Community

Get tips & tricks for balancing motherhood with living a happy, healthy, and purposeful life.