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6 Tips for Setting Intentional New Year’s Resolutions This Year

Did you stick to last year’s resolutions? If they went the way of the dodo by the time Punxatawny Phil saw his shadow, you aren’t alone. 


Maybe the problem isn’t that you resist bettering yourself. However, you need a plan if you hope to attain your goals. Here are six tips for setting intentional new year’s resolutions this year.  

1. Make Them SMART 


Resolutions fail for a few primary reasons. Your goals might be unrealistic. You might not give yourself sufficient time — like trying to shed 25 pounds in a single month. Maybe you need to spend time in meditation reflecting on what went wrong before trying again or rephrase yours in a more positive frame that reflects what you want, not what you don’t. For example, think “achieve a healthy weight,” instead of “shed unwanted pounds.”


A good rule is to set SMART goals — those that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. Let’s say you want to drop 30 pounds over the coming year. That translates into 2.5 pounds a month. Your goal might be, “achieve a healthy weight by using diet and exercise to shed around three pounds each month.” You now have an intentional objective you can attain through your efforts.

2. Break Them Into Smaller Segments


Staring at a blank page is daunting. It’s even more so when you realize you have at least 300 more of them to type through before you finish your novel. 


Goals that take a year to complete risk overwhelming you. Neuroscience shows that the human brain equates change with failure, and these uncomfortable feelings can leave you trapped and inactive. 


Getting around this psychological block requires breaking tasks into small, manageable steps. For example, can you write one page a day, a paragraph, maybe even a sentence? Taking a small step toward your goal will get you there more quickly than wallowing in uncertainty while feeling paralyzed. 

3. Make One Small Change at a Time 


Likewise, it’s a bit tricky to concentrate on writing the Great American Novel, getting to the gym every day and earning a raise all at the same time. Feeling overwhelmed can likewise lead to paralysis, leaving you frustrated at yourself for your lack of progress and creating a vicious cycle of ever-growing despair. 


Instead, choose one resolution to work on at a time. There is no rule stating that January 1 is the only day of the year you can embark on a new goal. When you hit your original objective, set a new one. 

4. Link New Habits to Old 


New habits — like going to the gym after work — can be tricky vixens. You might have the best intentions in the world, but until your routine becomes a part of your neurological framework, you might innocently forget about your treadmill time. By the time you get home, you don’t feel like heading back out. 


One secret to successful change entails linking your new habit to one you have already, making it easier to remember. For example, if you always go grocery shopping on Saturday morning, tackling your meal prep when you return from the store will get your freezer stocked and ready for the week. If you previously met your work BFF for happy hour after work, try hooking up at the ellipticals instead — you’ll both benefit from your new healthy habit. 

5. Meditate on What Makes Your Goals Meaningful


Resolutions also fail because they simply aren’t meaningful to you. For example, societal trends on the ideal body size come and go. If you’re dropping those unwanted pounds not for your health but to squeeze into a bridesmaid’s gown you secretly think is ghastly, you might find it harder to say no to that bag of chips. 


That’s not to say you can’t set a resolution that will please someone else — just be sure you also see the benefit. For example, your boss may have told you that you’ll need to further your education if you hope to advance. Instead of thinking, “I’m trudging through this to make my manager happy,” reflect on how obtaining your degree will open doors for you, both in your present organization and wherever your career may take you in the future. 

6. Include Some Fun and Rewards


What’s the point of working hard if you don’t get a reward for doing so? If you want to succeed in your resolution, go ahead and dangle a carrot. 


Maybe you plan a beach vacation when you achieve your health and fitness goals. Perhaps you plan a special meal out for you and a loved one when you earn that raise and promotion. Decide in advance how you will reward yourself for a job well done. 

Set Intentional New Year’s Resolutions This Year 


People give up on their goals for various reasons. This year, set intentional new year’s resolutions with the six above tips.

Would you like to comment?

  1. I gave up on New Years resolutions and decided to just enjoy life as it comes.. Resolutions always leave me defeated. Kelli A

    1. I totally get that. I use them as a jumpstart. Good resolutions stick, the bad ones show themselves quickly. I just told my nephew the other day that there are no mistakes, just opportunities for learning. If you stop a resolution, why? Typically for me it is because I bit off more than I was able to chew. I learned to break down things into small manageable chunks.

  2. This is so helpful. Every year, I get all these great ideas for self-improvement, but I never stick to them.

  3. Making small changes can be a good approach. They can feel so much more manageable.

  4. I rarely make resolutions. I just always hope for a good year. Fingers crossed!

  5. Anonymous2:03 PM

    To be honest, I have stopped making resolutions completely! I just try to improve myself every time :) Thanks for sharing these tips.

    Everything Enchanting <3


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