How to make your New Year’s resolutions stick

By Annette Paterakis

The start of a new year. A time in which we often set new years resolutions and new goals. However, it often proofs difficult sticking to these goals and somewhere in February or March we need to admit defeat. Staying committed to your goals can be tricky, so here are 7 steps to help you set, surrender and stick to your new goals.

1. Is it essential?

Setting many different resolutions can be confusing and overwhelming when having to execute. In stead, ask yourself what is the one thing that would really make this year my best year yet? Or, what is really important to me that I want to implement into my life?

2. Small steps

As ambitious as you are, you set the bar high and you don’t settle for less. And although there is nothing wrong with having big dreams, without sub-goals or small steps of action, you might feel so overwhelmed or far from your goal, that you fail to start at all or stick trough. Instead, think about small steps that you need to achieve in order to get one step closer to your end goal or resolution. You could work back from your big goal to what you can achieve or work on this year, over the next six months, next quarter, next two weeks.

3. Focus on the process

When setting these sub-goals, keep in mind the difference between a result based goal and a process based goal. A goal focused on a specific result is usually not entirely within your control, so when only setting result goals you might have to adjust your plans often. Instead, a process based goal is completely within your control and focused on things you can change like, improving your position on the jump, being on time, leaving your phone switched off to be more present, etc. So your end (big) goal might be more result focused, but make sure you set plenty of process goals to get there.


“No matter how slow you go, you are still lapping everybody on the couch!”


4. Prepare like a pro

Now you know what you would like to achieve and what the steps are in order to get there. This is where most people stop and wish for the best. However, the most important part to making your goals, resolutions or habits stick, is to plan and prepare like a pro. When will you take action? What will you do differently? When will you plan it in for? What else do you need in order for you to take consistent action? What could prevent you from sticking to your goal and what can you do to avoid it? Visualizing the full process will really help think everything through.

5. Set reminders

After you have created a clear plan and you have visualized how you will go about sticking to your new resolution, you make sure you stay reminded for at least 2 months. It is easy to remember your plan during the first few days or weeks, but after a week of travels you suddenly realize you completely forgot about your resolution! In order to prevent falling back into old patterns, make sure you set reminders, like post it notes, phone reminders, etc. Change the color of your post it or change the wording regularly, as the brain only pays attention to anything novel.

6. Make it a habit

The last step to making your new resolution not only stick, but also a success is to implementing your small steps and creating a new daily habit. The smaller or easier your daily habit, the more likely you will stick to it. Ideally you perform the habit at the same time each day or connect it to a habit you already have.

7. Stick to it

Don’t be alarmed if you fall of the wagon for a day or two (or even a week), there is nothing lost as long as you remember that every day is a new opportunity to get back on track. No matter how slow you go, you are still lapping everybody on the couch!