How to Make Better New Year’s Resolutions

How to Make Better New Year’s Resolutions

Make your goals fun; even if you don’t reach them, it will be worth the journey.

My friends think I’m pretty cynical. Maybe it’s because I say things like “I hate all holidays” and “Dump him.” But there's one day of the year, I’m the most optimistic of them all: New Year’s Eve. Maybe it’s because the movie New Year’s Eve starred Zac Efron. Maybe it’s because I might hate holidays, but I love a good party. Or maybe the end-of-year fervor gets to me and makes me crazy. Who can say?

What I do know is this: I love the feeling of possibility that NYE brings. I love making resolutions and vision boards. I love planning for a brand new, clean slate that's full of people I love and devoid of people I’ve ghosted in years past. But on New Year’s, all my sins are forgiven. And my life can be whatever I can imagine.

But for many people, the pressure and overwhelming expectations on the day make it a downer. Most people hate making resolutions. And of those who do make them, less than 4% keep them. Pretty damning statistics.

Luckily for you, you don't have to be a master of discipline and willpower to keep your resolutions. You just have to make better resolutions. Rather than generic, vague goals that you know you'll never accomplish, I challenge you to make resolutions that make you excited about your life. If you could be anyone, who would you be? What would your life look like? Now, take steps to become that person.

Here’s how (and if you don’t reach your goals after reading this, that’s on you):

Reflect on your year. And your life.

First, do a life audit. Figure out exactly what your life looks like now. We can get so stuck in the motions that we can’t see the forest from the trees. So untangle yourself from the unintentional habits you’re stuck in and the uninspired choices you’ve made and take a long, hard look at yourself.

You don’t need to be harsh. Just honest. What do you like? What are you grateful for? Then, get into what you can improve. You want to split your life into main categories:

  • Physical Health
  • Mental Health
  • Career
  • Personal Life/Hobbies
  • Relationships
  • Finances
  • Self
  • Community

Define each of these areas according to what they mean to you, then evaluate them. Take out your journal and get deep about where you are. Then, picture what each of these pillars looks like when you’re at your best. Use this to inspire your goals.

Get creative

Most people make the same New Year's goals. Lose weight. Save money. Blah, blah, blah. But don’t just ask yourself who you think you should be. Really hone in on who you want to be. Do you want to lose weight, or do other people think you should? Do you like going to the gym, or do you feel guilty because someone on Instagram can’t stop flexing their Equinox subscription?

You won’t feel motivated to stick to a resolution you don’t care about. So dig deep into what you truly value and get creative. Make a resolution that only makes sense to you. One of mine this year was “More Nonsense.” I won’t be explaining that further. And you don’t have to explain yourself either.

Make your new year's goals achievable and trackable

One of my favorite Instagram follows is Grace Beverley of The Productivity Method. She recently said in a podcast, “You cannot achieve success unless you define success.” Wise words. No wonder she’s a self-made Gen Z millionaire.

SMART goals are archaic and boring at this point. But there is some merit to the framework. To simplify it, consider this: How can you measure this goal? How will you define your success?

For example, don’t just vow to “eat out less.” Instead, look at your budget and say, “I'm not spending more than $50 a week on takeout.” Even if you don’t track this on a spreadsheet, you can look through your order history and see if you’ve stuck to your goal. You know how to define success. It’s up to you to get there.

Gamify your New Year's goals

Life’s more fun when you stop taking everything so seriously. No one’s going to punish you for not reaching your goals. You know that already, it’s why you’re not too stressed about not reaching them. But what if you could feel more rewarded for reaching them? Gamify your life with incremental rewards like trackers, checklists, or even gold stars for a dopamine hit. Or invite your friends to be accountability buddies. Make your goals fun; even if you don’t reach them, it will have been worth the journey.

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