How to set attainable New Year’s Resolutions

By Heather Nelson


Confetti blasts and couples kiss as midnight strikes on New Year’s Day. The dawn of a new year, and a new slate, await.

And with that new slate comes a series of “resolutions” that one sets each year — and likely forgets within a week of reciting.

If January is the month for goal-setting, February is the month for all those forgotten goals.

Hey, I’ve been guilty of the whole making-resolutions-and-forgetting-them thing. It’s something about the fresh start that excites me and makes me feel unstoppable.

At some point, though, I end up losing track. Last year, I decided I didn’t want to do that anymore. Instead of listing every goal for the year on a comprehensive list, set goals monthly.

I made this decision shortly after I had a talk with my therapist. She said there’s simply no way you can focus on making *several* changes all at once.

I think this is why resolutions often fail. It’s easy to keep consistent for a week, but life gets in the way. (And I become overwhelmed with trying to master 10 different tasks at once.) I’ve found it much easier to set monthly goals for myself.

This month I have three things I’d like to improve (and I picked one goal from different areas of life).

Physical: continue the next four weeks of Strong Curves by Bret Contreras

I’ve been doing this consistently already, but I’ve also been making the conscious effort to go to the gym after work. I know if I continue, I’ll be better prepared to tackle the rest of the program as written.

Personal: wake up 15 minutes earlier on work days & make my bed every day

I struggle to wake up for work, and I believe that rising earlier would challenge me. I’d be more prepared — instead of scrambling, running out the door — and feel a sense of organization from merely making my bed.

Food: make meals ahead of time; more REAL food, less PROCESSED food

If I can do this consistently for a month, I’ll spend less money on and less time worrying about food! Plus, I’ll feel a lot better….

As time goes by, hopefully, the goals I’ve set for myself will become habit and less of a task.

Remember: Goals should be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based).

Notice I didn’t set goals such as “drop 20 pounds in two weeks” or “quit eating cookies.” Instead, I made a few goals for myself that align with things that I already strive to do (or I wish I made a priority).

This week, I challenge you to write down a few things you’d like to work on this month. It could be folding laundry when it’s fresh out of the dryer, or spending less on drive-thru coffee…whatever you want! Write them down and store them in a safe space to assess at the end of the month.

The great news? Now, there’s plenty of time to set goals for yourself all year long. Who cares if you missed the January window?

Do you like to set resolutions? What is your technique for setting goals for the year? Let me know your thoughts.

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