How to set new year resolutions that stick.

The hype of the NYE celebrations have now died down, the clean up of the streets has happened as if NYE didn’t even occur and we have hit the ground running into 2019! Welcome to our first blog for the year.

For many starting a new year is like starting a new chapter in the book of life. It’s a new fresh beginning waiting to be written. Some use this opportunity to reflect on their lives, where they have been, where they want to be going. It’s a wonderful chance to be able to do this however for some it might not be a pleasant experience. None the less, reflections from the year just gone happens to most of us. It’s very common to set goals or resolutions and come February they’re non existent leaving us feeling like a failure. So how do we set goals for the coming year making sure we don’t fall into the traps of the last?


Tell me what you want, what you really really want!

Setting any type of goals or resolutions is an art form, one that you master after loads and loads of practice so be kind to yourself during the process. First you need to know what it is you really want.

Now before you jump into all the things that are “bad” and you want to change, let’s focus on all the things you really like about yourself, things that you’re proud of, you’ve learnt, accomplished, things you are…the traits you’d like to bring with you into 2019. We often make resolutions where we try to improve things but maintaining, we believe, is just as important! Let’s not forget all the wonderful, unique and amazing things you already are!

Now let’s see what you really want this year. Make a list of no more than 5 items (the things you’d like to maintain can be part of this list). Be as specific as you possibly can for each one using questions like:

– “what is my goal”
– “how often or how much”
– “where will it take place”
– “who is involved in my goal”
– “why do I want to achieve this goal”
– “what would be my reward once this goal is achieved (what’s the pay off)”


Not setting ourselves up for failure. 

The real test to whether goals or resolutions will stand the test of time is whether they are sustainable. Our favourite question is “do you see yourself doing this for a large portion of your life, if not your whole life?” If your answer is no, then why would you want to put yourself through something so rigorous knowing you’re going to give it up anyway. When we set ourselves anything to achieve we must ensure it’s something we can measure, is attainable and is realistic. Without these properly thought out, failure is imminent.

How will you measure your goal? This allows you to stay accountable, have a stepped approach to your goal and be able to get feedback on your journey. Goals should be challenging and push you however they can’t be too hard that it makes you want to procrastinate and lose motivation. Are your goals achievable, do you need to break up the steps into smaller ones, how will you actually achieve the goal? Are the goals or resolutions you’re setting realistic to what you can actually do, have you given yourself enough time to do them in, is it challenging enough but kind enough to you, have you thought about things that might get in the way, how would you overcome these barriers?


Tick tock, tick tock. 

Ahh time, the thing that we all want more of but have no way to control it. What we can do though is use it as best as we can! To ensure you’re able to come out the other end of the year with more achievements and accomplishments than the year before is to ensure you use your time wisely. Have a think about your 5 (or so) goals you made at the beginning of the blog. Is it realistic to do them all at once? Do you need to split them up throughout the year? How long (realistically) would you give yourself for each goal to ensure you have a good deadline but aren’t stressed in the lead up to it? What type of reminders can you set to keep you on schedule? Can using a calendar, planner or diary help? Don’t limit yourself with the resources to ensure you can continue achieving your goal long past NYE 2020, 2021, 2022…


Get help! 

Trying to do a new task can be daunting especially when life is already quite challenging. If this is the case we recommend getting a helping hand from a professional to get you on track with your goals and resolutions, to keep you accountable and help you with speed bumps along the way. Don’t wait, get help. You’re not in this battle alone.


If you find the above tips are hard to incorporate into your life, Self Reflections Psychology can help you transition to a healthier, happier mindset.

If there is anything you think was important to add into this weeks’ blog that was not included, or if you’d like to share your thoughts on managing stress to encourage others, we’d love to hear from you.

Wishing you all a lovely week, from the team at Self Reflections.


This blog was based on “SMART goals” originally developed by George T Doran Nov 1981.