How to Make (And Keep) New Year's Resolutions

January 1, 2022
4 mins

Are you planning to make New Year Resolutions this year? Plenty of people do — and plenty of people fail to achieve theirs as the months go on. January is the time to set who you want to be this year.

Here’s an article that will guide you through setting reasonable and achievable goals that you can fulfil successfully.

Pick the right resolution

Nearly everyone makes resolutions at the start of the New Year - and it is easy to fall into a trap of setting meaningless goals just for the sake of societal approval. 

The majority of resolutions fail because the goals individuals set themselves do not represent their actual desires and goals, are too vague or are set without a clear plan on how to achieve them. 

As Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, professor of Business Psychology at University College London (UCL) and the author of Confidence states, “we all have predispositions, character traits, and habits that we have built over many years. Most of our New Year’s resolutions and goals involve breaking these patterns, which is very difficult to do and requires a lot of work.”

Dream big - of course! But remember, to break those big dreams into smaller tasks that you can accomplish along the way — otherwise you might end up discouraged very quickly! Rome wasn’t built in a day and your New Year’s resolutions won’t materialise overnight!

Scientists recommend setting 2-3 goals within a 12 month time frame. Otherwise you will end up overwhelmed and lose motivation quicker. It is also difficult for us to envision goals and make plans that last longer than 12 months. 

Make sure your resolutions are relevant to you. Pick something for the right reasons — not out of hatred, remorse or heat of the moment. Focus on your personal or professional development — a good starting point would be ‘what could I do to make myself a better person?’ Or a better employee? Maybe you want to focus on your fitness goals? 

Photo by Moritz Knöringer.

Create a plan 

Entrepreneur and author of Atomic Habits James Clear states that simply setting a goal is the road to being unhappy. “You’re essentially saying, ‘I’m not good enough yet, but I will be when I reach my goal.’ The problem with this mindset is that you’re teaching yourself to always put off happiness and success until the next milestone is achieved.”

Instead, you should focus on the process — not the end result. If your resolution is to find a new job — job hunting can be daunting and you might get discouraged quickly if you don’t get the desired result straight away. To make it more manageable, you should establish a routine or a weekly plan that you will stick to and that will get you closer to getting a new job. For example, you can set the goal to send two CV’s a week, or attend one networking event a month. You can read more about the successful job search routine in our article HERE. 

Remember that changes and goals can be achieved incrementally. You should reward yourself for every little milestone that gets you closer to fulfilling your New Year’s resolution. For example, if you’re training to run a marathon, set the first goal to 5 miles and then book a nice massage as a reward. 

Photo by Brett Jordan.

Keep getting back on track

It is very easy to give up after you’ve not been consistent. But you need to remember to always try and look at the bright side and be thankful for the time you have managed to spend towards your goals. 

For example, if your plan was to attend yoga classes 3 days a week but recently you’ve only managed to go once a week, it is still better than nothing! It still gets you out of the house, and helps you with your mental and physical health! Celebrate small successes and cherish the process. 

Look at what you’ve achieved towards your resolution so far instead of focusing on how much you’ve got to go on. If you’re applying for a job and you’ve passed the online application and psychometric tests, you should be proud of yourself instead of focusing on 2-3 more stages in the recruitment process. Of course, you need to prepare yourself thoroughly for each stage - but be thankful and appreciative of your own achievements as you go on. 

Photo by the blowup.

Find a community to support you 

That doesn’t mean you need to shout about your New Year’s resolutions from the rooftop — but letting a person or two know that you’re trying to achieve a certain goal will hold you more accountable! 

Of course, if you read our articles regularly you should know by now how important the community around us is. If you’re new here, you can read about the benefits HERE. 

There’s plenty of people setting themselves similar goals at the start of the year — so go and join those communities! 

If your goals revolve around professional development, finding a new job, changing careers or fighting burnout, you can join the Wojo community through our iOS app you can download here. 

And if you miss your goal — that doesn’t mean you failed. And there’s nothing wrong with starting afresh! A resolution doesn’t need to be tied to the New Year and if you have a goal, you can work towards it at any point! Instead of beating yourself up for not succeeding, make a list of things you’ve learnt from each attempt and treat it like a life lesson. 

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