Sustainable New Year's Resolutions

New Year’s resolutions have a bad reputation. Cynics say that people only resolve to change at the beginning of every year rather than any other time of year and that New Year’s resolutions never stick.  My philosophy? If New Year’s is what gets you resolved to make a change, who cares? Go for it. Make New Year’s resolutions. Any goal to better yourself is a step in the right direction, no matter what inspires you to do so.  Now with regards to New Year’s resolutions sticking, that is a matter of approaching it the right way.


  1. Set a reasonable and specific long term goal. If the finish line of your goal is 100 miles away, you won’t have the motivation to work towards it in the long term because the finish line isn’t within reach. For instance, saying that you want to become fluent in Japanese by the end of the next year is a crazy goal if  you don’t already have a background in it, but saying that you want to try 30 minutes of Duo Lingo a day is feasible. Also, set a goal that you can measure, so that you can see your progress along the way. For example, “better health” would not be a good goal because it’s subjective, but if you said “exercise 3 times a week for at least 30 minutes” or “train for a 5K”, those are objective and quantifiable.

  2. Find resources. Find a person or a community that can help you achieve your goal or keep you accountable. Or maybe a website, book, or app that can give you more information on achieving your goal. Gleaning on others’ past experiences and the knowledge out there will help you take steps towards your goal that are efficient and successful.

  3. Track or log your change. This helps keeps you motivated and helps you see the change along the way. It’s okay to have bad days or setbacks, but being able to see how much change has occurred will help you bounce back from a setback!

  4. Set short-term progress checks along the way.  This will allow for you to keep yourself accountable more frequently, and also allow for you to see your progress more regularly. By seeing your progress, you can increase your motivation to keep going. Progress also can help you adjust your goal – if you are progressing quickly, maybe you can increase your goal, and vice versa if you are not progressing as much as expected.

  5. Reward yourself. Set rewards at the end of progress checks to give yourself a boost for making your smaller goals along the way!

Best of luck, and Happy New Year!