How to Keep Your New Year's Resolutions

Closeup showing a hand checking off goals that were accomplished.
Closeup showing a hand checking off goals that were accomplished.

Odds are that if you set a New Year's resolution, you're already starting to struggle to keep it. If you're committed to making lasting change this year, don't fall into the failed resolutions trap. Ensure success by following these three simple steps:

1. Re-evaluate your resolutions now

Most people fail to keep their resolutions because they don't set the right goals from the outset. If your resolution is focused on something negative (such as bad habits or perceived weaknesses) or what you think you should be doing, I have bad news. You're going to become frustrated, quit and end up right back where you started on January 1, 2017.

In order to make lasting change, there must be some passion and true desire to do the work. It's not enough to want the result. You must want the result so badly that you're willing to make it a top priority this year. Most resolutions don't make the grade when you review them in this manner.

If you're just now realizing that you set the wrong resolution and announced it to all of your friends and family on social media, it's okay. Give yourself a break and just change your mind. If you get stuck in the "I've already set my resolution" loop, you're just defeating yourself.

Now is the time to get clear on what you really want so that you can find the drive, passion and motivation to keep going.

2. Easy does it

Most people go overboard and burn out when it comes to resolutions. Instead of gradually easing into their desired outcomes, they try to completely change overnight. That strategy never works.

It's why the gym is like a zoo the first few weeks of January and suddenly there's no longer a line for the treadmill in February. Do not try to work out every single day the first few weeks of January if you've not been to the gym at all in the past year...

Keeping your resolutions is like running a marathon, not a sprint. You have 365 days to reach your goal. Pace yourself and enjoy the process of slow and steady progress.

Instead of trying to tackle everything on day one, start small. If you commit to just a few actions per week that will move you closer to your goal, you'll be far more likely to stay the course than if you over-commit and try to do too much too soon.

3. Schedule time to plan and review

Most people create trackers and elaborate plans with deadlines and milestones for their resolutions. Similar to the prior mistake, they go overboard. It's easy to come up with a detailed plan of action when you're on a holiday break. It's much harder to implement that plan and stick with your strict regimen when life takes over.

That's why it's actually more important to schedule monthly and weekly check-ins than create a specific plan or strategy to reach your goal. If you simply take a few minutes each week (and a few more each month) to evaluate your progress, make adjustments and identify just a few action items to tackle, you'll be certain to meet your goal by the end of the year.

Go ahead and calendar when you will focus on your resolutions each week and make that time non-negotiable. Don't schedule around it. Don't snooze the calendar reminder. Don't let other tasks take priority.

If your resolution truly matters to you, you'll make the time to ensure your success!

Heather Hubbard is the founder of The Language of Joy and creator of Goals Re-Imagined. If you're committed to reaching your goals this year, sign up for her free online workshop for more tips and advice on how to stay focused and motivated all year long.