Johnathan Thomas, MBA, PhD, D.DIV
Why do most people fail at achieving their New Year’s Resolutions?
There are a variety of reasons why people fail to meet their New Year’s Resolutions. One of the most common reasons is a lack of motivation or trying to work on too many resolutions at once. Once people fail to work at their resolution once, they often lose motivation completely and give up until next year.
A good New Year’s Resolution can be funny, inspiring, challenging, or a recommitment to your core values. If you take the time to really think about your resolution and create a detailed plan to get yourself there, you will have a greater chance of succeeding. In this blog, I cover some of the best New Year’s Resolution ideas you can use to make 2021 your best year.
Exceptional New Year’s Resolutions ideas
The best New Year’s resolutions are ones that resonate with you and encourage you to achieve your goals. Looking at lists of ideas can help you brainstorm and create personalized resolutions. Here are some examples of exceptional New Year’s Resolutions:
- Commit to volunteering
- Declutter and organize your home (or life)
- Read one book a month
- Travel somewhere new
- Stick to a personal budget for 1 year
- Keep a journal or diary
- Join a club or organization
- Commit to a new hobby
- Take up meditation or yoga
- Look for a new job
- Start an exercise routine
- Donate unused belongings
- Make time for self-care
- Learn a new language
- Reconnect with old friends (or family)
- Master a new life skill
- Participate in a cultural event (new to you or not)
7 useful tips to help you keep your New Year’s resolutions
1. Choose the right resolution
Choose your New Year’s resolutions based on what you want to achieve in the new year, not what you think others want you to achieve. Forget what you see on your social media or what you read in giant lists of resolutions – pick goals and dreams that inspire you rather than trying to inspire yourself to meet the ideals of others.
The right New Year’s resolution does not have to be serious or a lofty goal; even funny or light-hearted. New Year’s resolutions can help you get and stay motivated in 2021. Whatever resolution you choose, make sure it is something you can see yourself committing to for an entire year.
2. Create a supportive environment
Without the right environment, it can be difficult to stick to New Year’s resolutions ideas that you are most passionate about. Work to eliminate temptations that could derail even the best-laid plans. Make sure you enlist your loved ones to become your support network. Your family, friends, and coworkers can help you stay on track with your resolutions and motivate you to meet your goals even on days when you feel like giving up.
Another way to create a supportive environment for your ideas is to create New Year’s resolution memes that poke gentle fun at yourself and your goals. Laughter is a great way to face the challenges your resolutions may bring.
3. Develop a detailed plan
Once you have found the right New Year’s resolution for you, set aside time to sit down and write out a plan. Your plan should have a clear beginning with steps you can take throughout the year until you reach your goal or hold yourself to your new resolution. Use SMART goals, those that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-based. These will give your plan structure and help motivate you to reach your New Year’s resolution in 2021.
For example, if your New Year’s resolution is to save $5,000 in an emergency fund, a good plan will include ways you can save money each month, make more money with a side job, and phases of your savings goal you can reward yourself for meeting throughout the year.
4. Set a penalty for not sticking to your resolutions
One of the most common reasons that New Year’s resolutions fail is because people lose motivation or feel like their resolutions lack consequences. When you have finished a long day at work, it can be hard to convince yourself to work toward your goals if the positive incentive is far off in the future (like a healthier body or bank account).
If you need an extra boost of motivation, consider implementing a penalty system for when you willfully ignore your resolutions. Perhaps you can only watch your favorite streaming television show if you work toward your resolution and denying it from yourself can be your penalty if you stop putting in the work.
5. Think of a reward for achieving your resolutions
In the same way that having a penalty for ignoring your New Year’s resolutions can be helpful to motivate you, it is extremely beneficial to give yourself a reward system. Find some way to reward yourself that fits within your budget, your free time, and your interests. Some affordable reward options include:
- A date night in with your significant other
- A visit to your favorite park, museum, or art gallery
- Takeout from your favorite restaurant
- A visit from a loved one or friend
- A warm bath or at-home spa day
6. Start by keeping one resolution at a time
It can be extremely tempting to stack New Year’s resolutions on top of each other and trying to change every aspect of your life headed into 2021. However, it is much easier to stick to your resolution and give it 100% of your effort if you only choose one resolution at a time. If you know that you will struggle to read a book every week, it will not make sense to ask yourself to also work out three times a week as well. Asking too much of yourself can expose you to burn out more quickly, which zaps your motivation and makes it difficult to achieve any of your New Year’s resolutions.
7. Set a deadline for each resolution
One way to increase your success rate is to make sure you give your resolution a timeline. If your resolution is open-ended such as “practice daily kindness to others,” you can implement related goals with deadlines to hold yourself accountable. In this example, your deadlines could look like this: pay for a stranger’s meal in the drive-thru by March, reach out to a distant family member or friend by June, and do a task or chore for an elderly neighbor. Even if your resolution does not seem to have clear deadlines, you can create your own to help you stay motivated!
Make your New Year’s resolutions fun
Remember that good New Year’s resolution ideas are those that truly speak to you and inspire you to be a better person. If you take the time to work out what your resolution entails and create a detailed plan, you can be wildly successful with your resolutions.
Reaching your resolution requires a good support system, rewards and penalties, and time-based goals to keep you on track. Make sure that the plan you create is realistic, but also challenges and inspires you. A great resolution is one that you will need to work hard to achieve, but that you will remember completing for the rest of your life.