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New Year’s Resolutions: What, Why, and How to Achieve Them

Whenever the new year is about to roll around, you’re bound to start seeing one thing pop up on your social media feeds: New Year’s resolution memes!

Every year, people are inspired to make New Year’s resolutions. Yet, at the same time, there is an equal amount of scepticism around these resolutions that it almost becomes a casual goal for people to make fun of with jokes and memes. 

It’s like that Friends episode on New Year’s resolutions where at the end of a New Year’s party in 1999, Ross and Phoebe start sharing their new year goals. Ross resolves to “do something he hasn't done before every single day and make life better” while Phoebe shares that she wants “to pilot a commercial jet”. Then, just like a meme, Chandler butts in and makes fun of Ross and Phoebe!

If you’re determined to change your life with a New Year’s resolution, how can you protect yourself from all the “Chandlers” of the world so you can make progress and achieve your goal?

In this article, we will cover how you can make New Year’s resolutions that stand the test of time (and memes!) so you can stick to it and achieve the transformation you desire. Read on to find out how you can make broken New Year’s resolutions a thing of the past.

New Year's Resolution Definition

A New Year’s resolution is a commitment to improve oneself by resolving to achieve a goal or quit a bad habit. What makes a New Year’s resolution different from other goals that you can set at any other time of the year? There are two factors that make them distinct.

The first factor is that New Year’s resolutions have a built-in deadline. You resolve to achieve something by the end of the year. Putting a time limit on your goal creates a sense of urgency. Numerous research—such as this one published in the International Journal of Management, Business, and Administration—states that deadlines improve the effectiveness of a goal.

Simply put, having a deadline increases your motivation to put in the necessary effort to achieve the goal because of the limited time available. This is why “timely” is part of the SMART goal setting system, where the “T” stands for “timely”. Setting a timely deadline with realistic milestones motivates you to keep moving towards your goal. 

However, it can be argued that you can create a deadline for any goal. For example, you could create a bucket list of goals to achieve before you reach your 30th birthday. What makes the deadline of a New Year’s resolution different from the deadlines of other types of goals?

Here’s where the second distinction of New Year’s resolution comes in: the power of collective energy. You see, setting a goal to achieve something by your 30th birthday is a personal milestone. Chances are slim that somebody else in your life has the same deadline. A new year deadline, on the other hand, is something you can have in common with everyone.

This means having a New Year’s resolution allows you to tap into the collective energy of others around you for support and accountability to achieve your goals. 

Why You Need a New Year’s Resolution (Despite the Cliche)

At Visionbook, we firmly believe that the best time to start a goal is always “now” without purposely delaying your goal because you’re waiting for a milestone in the calendar. 
Having said that, we also firmly stand by the power of a New Year resolution. It should not be dismissed just because it’s cliche. 

We believe that New Year is a great time to reflect on where you are now versus where you want to be in the coming year. Through this reflection, you can review how your current goals are serving you, tweak them if needed, and create new resolutions to further accelerate you towards the dream life you envision for yourself. 

Yes, it’s possible that while setting your resolution, you could face a lot of “Chandlers” who tell you resolutions don’t work. After all, studies by the University of Scranton have shown that 80% of people fail to stick to their New Year’s resolutions, while only 8% actually achieve what they set out to do. 

Despite the cliche and grim statistics, there is a proven way you can use to increase your chances and ability to stick with your New Year’s resolutions and achieve them by the end of the year. In the next section, we’ll cover the six easy steps you can take to achieve your resolutions and goals.

How to Get Started with New Year’s Resolutions and Achieve Them

If you’ve been struggling with your past goals or New Year’s resolutions of yesteryear, use this 6-step formula to help you get started with creating powerful New Year’s resolutions and then achieve them in the coming year. 

Step 1: Reflect and Review

Don’t simply jump into setting a resolution for the sake of following a trend or because of other’s expectations or peer pressure. Remember, this is your life and it’s all about what is important to you. 

So set aside some time to ask yourself some powerful questions. What are you passionate about? What are your values? What do you want to accomplish in life? Reflecting on these questions can help you set a goal that is aligned with what is important to you.

When you figure out what your values and desires are before setting a goal, you’ll create a goal that is meaningful to who you are. It will also be easier for you to feel fulfilled working towards this goal, because it speaks to who you are as an individual.

Next, review how satisfied you are with each area of life that you want to set a goal. For example, on a scale of 1-10, how satisfied are you with relationships? With finance? With health? Next, select the areas of life that have the lowest satisfaction rate. 

Doing this review will guide you to know which goals you want to primarily focus on as your resolution. You don’t want to be burned out trying to accomplish everything. It’s better to dive deep into one aspect of your life and improve that before moving to the next area. This way, you’ll ride on the momentum of results as you build more self-confidence to achieve more goals. 

Step 2: Set SMART Goals

Once you have identified the goals that are important to you to focus on, the next step is to make your goals SMART

SMART goals are goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. As covered earlier, New Year’s resolutions already have a built-in timely factor. Now, it’s about making sure your goal meets the other four criteria. 

For instance, if you want to improve your health, saying “I am going to become healthier this year” is too broad and vague. A few examples of making it specific and measurable could look something like this:

  • “I will lose 30 pounds.”
  • “I will train 30 minutes a day, three times a week, so I am fit enough to run a marathon.”
  • “I will stop snacking on sweets and reduce my glucose levels to a healthy range.”

Finally, you need to make sure what you set for yourself is realistic. A good way to tell if it’s realistic is saying your goal out loud and checking in on how it makes you feel. If it doesn’t scare you a little bit, then your goal is too small. If it feels like a lot of pressure, then your goal is too big. The ideal goal is one that makes you feel a little bit scared but excited to smash it.

Step 3: Create a Vision Board

Now that you have SMART goals for your New Year’s resolution, it’s time to make a vision board. Why? Because vision boards leverage the proven benefits of visualization.

Visualization gives you the opportunity to see what you want in your life, which can be crucial in trying to achieve any goal. At the same time, it’s easier for our brains to process visuals rather than text or written words, which means that it's easier for us to create meaningful connections with vision boards—connections that give us more motivation and encouragement along the way.

By creating a vision board for your New Year’s resolutions, the power of visualization will have a bigger impact on your life. Looking at your vision board everyday is an excellent way to stay on track with your goals while also reinforcing positive thoughts and ideas.

To make it easier for you to look at your vision board daily or even multiple times a day, consider a digital vision board. Thousands of others have discovered the advantages of a digital vision board which helps them to stay consistent with their habits and goals. 

Step 4: Share Your Resolutions

Sharing your resolutions can amplify the effectiveness of your goals. When we share our resolutions and goals with others, we are more likely to achieve them for three reasons.

One is that it helps you stay motivated with support from those closest to you. The second is that it helps keep you accountable. And the third is that it can help you push through obstacles when you have friends that understand your vision and can offer help or advice when you get stuck.

If you create your digital vision board on Visionbook, you can easily share your resolutions and vision board with your close friends and family through just a few taps. This makes it super easy for you to get the support and motivation you need to smash your goals and achieve your resolution. 

Step 5: Keep Track of Your Progress

There are many reasons why keeping track of your progress is important. Here are just a few:

  • You can be more aware of what you need to do in order to reach the goal you want.
  • You will be able to see how much work has been done and how much is left.
  • It will make you feel accomplished when goals are achieved.
  • You will be able to spot patterns of improvement or decline in performance.
  • You have insights to optimise your habits and better achieve your goals.

A great way to keep track of your progress is with habit tracking and journaling. Habit tracking helps you to stay consistent with the actions your resolve to do, while journaling can capture the emotional aspects of your progress. 

Step 6: Reward Yourself for Every Accomplishment

While you should be breaking down your goal into milestones, it’s important to remember that you should be rewarding yourself for accomplishments and not just milestones. What’s the difference?

A milestone is achieving a small part of your goal. For example, your goal could be to save $10,000 by the end of the year. Your first milestone could be reaching $1,000. However, reaching that first milestone can be tough, especially when you’re just getting started and haven’t built the momentum yet. 

That’s why it’s important to celebrate accomplishments. An accomplishment could be refraining from buying the expensive new dress you want but know you do not need. It could also be reducing your monthly utility bills by taking extra effort to save on electricity. 

Even if you haven’t reached your milestones, it’s important to celebrate these small wins with a reward. The reward doesn’t have to be big or extravagant; they simply need to be meaningful to you. Rewards could be as simple as having a luxurious hot bath to carving out the time to catch up with an old friend.

Finally Achieve Your New Year’s Resolutions

If you’re looking for a tool that will make it easier for you to follow these steps to amplify the power of your New Year’s resolutions, look no further than Visionbook.

Visionbook is an all-in-one personal development app that combines multiple tools in one place. It allows you to create a digital vision board plus additional features that put your vision to work. 

The “Mission Statement” and “Values and Goals” features ensure you stay aligned with what’s truly important to you everyday. Visionbook also lets you easily share your vision board and resolutions with others to stay motivated and accountable. Finally, the integrated daily routine tracker and journal makes it easy for you to track your progress. 

Take action now by getting started risk-free with a free 14-day trial of Visionbook. Sign up today to keep your visions, plans, and life strategies in one place—and achieve your New Year’s resolutions with smashing success. 
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