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How to Make Meaningful Resolutions and Stick to Them

ABush Jan 7th, 2013 (updated Nov 5th, 2014)
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A new year brings new goals, and whether you stuck with your resolutions last year, the fact that you're aiming for self-improvement - and have hope that this year will be better - is a good thing. In that spirit, here are six tips to get you on your way to keeping your commitments.

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Tell people about your resolutions
Tell people about your resolutions

By taking your resolution from private to public, you're holding yourself accountable. Dr. Stephanie Sarkis says, "We are more likely to keep resolutions once we've made them public because we want to look consistentSociety values consistency." 

If you're not comfortable with letting others in on your commitments, try writing them down and posting them where you will see them at least once a day.

Source: Psychology Today

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Be specific
Be specific

Avoid making general resolutions, such as "lose weight," or "go to the gym more often." Instead, commit to losing a pound per week until your goal weight, or pledge that you will go to the gym four times a week.

By being more specific, goals feel more achievable.

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Make a meaningful resolution
Make a meaningful resolution

Don't make a resolution for the sake of others. If your goal is not personally important to you, chances are you won't stick to it through the long haul.

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Make a plan of action
Make a plan of action

Many people fail at their resolutions because they fail to act beyond the initial promise to do something, mostly because they don't have an action plan.

If your goal is to lose weight, one plan of action might be to create smaller weight loss goals by month. That way, you can see progress and you'll feel like you're actually accomplishing something. Also, don't forget to reward yourself when you achieve these smaller goals along the way.

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Consider making positive resolutions
Consider making positive resolutions

Instead of making resolutions to kick negative habits, make at least one that you'll actually enjoy meeting. For instance, if you enjoy art, commit to visiting a museum or gallery once a month, or, if you're trying to reduce stress, vow to turn your email off on weekends. 

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Don't give up
Don't give up

Most importantly, if you happen to slip up with one of your resolutions, start again the next day. You'll feel better each time you re-start, no matter how many times you have to do it.