Are you making resolutions for the new year? Warning: More than half of all resolutions fail. According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, only 46% of people who made New Year’s resolutions were successful. That means over half of the people who set a goal for the new year will fail! But this year, they don’t have to be yours…Or ours, for that matter as a short talk with some of our colleagues show that, well, what can we say, the study is right… :)

So we’re starting with some resolutions you might find inspiring for the new year:

  • Adopt an attitude of gratitude
  • Volunteer more often
  • Call your parents/siblings/grandparents more
  • Complete one money-saving challenge
  • Try something new each month
  • Ditch one bad habit
  • Embrace spontaneity
  • Take a 24-hour break from social media every month
  • Adopt a “do-it-now” rule
  • Read one book a month
  • Take time to appreciate your accomplishments

All clear, resolutions set. But how to stick to them, ‘cause that seems to me the more challenging part.

Most important, be specific when setting resolutions

Bad goals that could lead to poor follow-through. Fortunately, the SMART goal-setting framework can help you craft better goals.
SMART goals are:
Specific – Articulate the resolution as clearly as possible. For example, quit smoking is better than being healthy. While “being healthy” is great, the wording can be interpreted in many ways.
Measurable – Quantify your resolution if possible, i.e., I will lose 10% of my body weight.
Attainable – Choose a goal within the realm of possibility yet challenging. Making 100 friends this year would be amazing but probably pretty hard to do. On the other, making 10 new friends is doable.
Relevant – Keep it relevant to your priorities and goals. See the motivation section above!
Time-sensitive – Give yourself a time frame in which to achieve a goal. A deadline will instill some urgency and provide a time when you can celebrate your success.

Write down your goals

No matter how important you think the resolutions are, when you get back to your hectic life, they might be easy to forget. That may seem silly, but we are human, and it is human to be easily distracted and forgetful.
Writing down your resolutions helps you clarify what it is you want to achieve. It forces you to make decisions and be precise with your words.
Writing establishes intention, but action needs to be taken to achieve your resolution. Having a written account of your goals is a constant reminder to take action.

Mentally prepare for change and stay positive

Some of the resolutions might have been on last year’s list too, right? So it might not be easy. You might take steps back or be tempted to give up again. Because change is not easy. It’s not enough to set a goal, the road to its achievement is paved with struggle. So stay positive, no matter how hard it gets, rebuild your trust and resume the effort. To keep you on track, it might be a good idea to celebrate the small victories. Those happy feelings are useful! If possible, try to associate them with an object or word related to your accomplishment.