How to Make a New Year’s Resolution You’ll Stick To


Boooo! The delicious indulgences of Christmas are almost over and my clothes don’t really fit anymore. Actually, if I’m being honest, they haven’t fit properly since the Spring. Time for me to get back on whatever fad diet seems to work and be really proactive at going to the gym or sweating it out on the spin bike while watching Netflix at home.

When I’m really being ‘good’ and seeing the progress I can usually make it a few months before it starts to plateau and I discover how awesome bread is, again.

I’ve tried everything, from making a diet bet with friends, seeking encouragement from friends via FitBit, and having a goal taped to the fridge. Of course, when it comes down to it, it’s up to me.

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The problem with those huge, life-transforming goals is that after a while they can seem too far out of reach. January is great, I’m feeling motivated, I’ve got my new sporty socks that will probably transform my running abilities, and my headphones are charged.

By March I’ve run out of things to listen to and my feet have blisters. Oh, and my knees hurt.

So, instead of having the goal of reaching 100% success by July, just in time for beach weather, or finishing a book, learning a new skill, or whatever it is that people do, break it down to milestones.

I’ll use losing weight and my own goal as an example, though that’s just because my shirts don’t button up anymore and I’m getting winded walking my daughter to school! Oh, and just in case – remember that I’m not a doctor, though I am amazing at getting out splinters. Take my advice with a pinch of salt, but not too much cos it’s bad for you. (again, not a doctor).

January

  • Make the goal to lose 50 lbs this year
  • By the end of January, lose 10lbs
  • Go to the gym/workout/walk 8,000 steps four times per week
  • Cut out sweets

February

  • By the end of Feb, lose 5lbs
  • Go to the gym/workout/walk 8,000 steps four times per week
  • Go skiing twice
  • Cut out bread and startchy carbs

Reward: Book yourself a self-care day. No kids, no work, no phone.

March

  • By the end of March, lose 5lbs
  • Go to the gym/workout/walk 8,000 steps four times per week
  • Run or jog 5km

Reward: new running shoes or new running socks

April

  • By the end of April, lose 5lbs
  • Go to the gym/workout/walk 8,000 steps four times per week

May

  • By the end of May, lose 5lbs
  • Go to the gym/workout/walk 8,000 steps four times per week

June

  • By the end of June, lose 5lbs
  • Go to the gym/workout/walk 8,000 steps four times per week

Reward: new swim shorts, new sunglasses for the Summer

July

  • By the end of July, lose 5lbs
  • Run 10km
  • Go to the gym/workout/walk 10,000 steps four times per week

August

  • By the end of August, lose 5lbs
  • Go to the gym/workout/walk 10,000 steps four times per week

Reward: New pants and shirts!

Now there’s only 5lbs to go and I’ve got the rest of the year to do it. Losing 50lbs is a crazy goal, but starting a long journey with small steps is way easier. 5lbs per month isn’t too hard for me as long as I keep on my goal. It even allows for eating what I like, just less of it.

This small goal-based system also works for things like saving money. Instead of saying, “I’m going to buy a car this Summer”, set smaller targeted goals for each month. For example:

January

  • Make the goal of buying a car in July
  • Give yourself a budget for the month and try to stick to it and have $500 left over.
  • Put that $500 into a separate account.
  • Instead of buying a lunch, pack one at home

February

  • When you get paid, take $500 out and put it in the separate account and don’t touch it.
  • Get used to paying yourself before you spend your paycheque.

March

  • Keep putting aside that $500 from each paycheque.

And so on. Before you know it, you’ve got a pretty decent downpayment on a car, or whatever you’re saving for.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that every goal is achievable if you just break it down into smaller tasks. One by one they can be checked off and we can move on to the next one, and the next one, until it’s weird to think about where we started.

So, what are you going to achieve this year?

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