New years resolutions you’ll actually keep - 3 models for success

New years resolutions you’ll actually keep - 3 models for success

As the new year rolls in, so does the tradition of making resolutions and, as it turns out, it’s for good reason that people have been doing this for over 4,000 years

Our brains are wired to love setting goals. When we write down what we want to achieve our brain throws a little party by releasing dopamine – the happy chemical, this not only feels good but it's a built-in motivation booster towards achieving those goals.

Research also discovered the "fresh start effect." When the calendar flips, it's like hitting a mental reset button. We see the new year as a clean slate, a chance to start fresh. That mindset makes us more open to setting big goals and actually more likely to stick to new habits. So if you were on the fence about setting resolutions this year, it might be worth grabbing that pen!

We do know though, that most people don’t actually achieve their resolutions, one study found that 88% gave up. So, the real question is, how do we design the right goals and make them stick?

This blog post is going to explore 3 models for creating resolutions & some tips for success. When designing mine I mix the models together, so work with these how feels best for you.

Creating resolutions: three models for success

Model 1: A word for the year

I first heard this from a colleague about five years ago and I’ve been doing it ever since. It’s a lovely method because of its simplicity and ability to keep you ‘on track’. 

You pick a word that is going to be like your theme song or guiding light for the next 365 days. Some examples are "balance", “adventure” or “learning”. You can then use your word alone to reference as you’re making decisions, or have it as a base to set other goals under. 


Model 2: 1 big goal, 6 mini adventures, and 4 habits

This is a model from Jessie Itzler and I love it as a way of making sure you can look back on the year and feel like it’s meant something. Again you can use this model alone, or combine it with the others. 

In Jessie’s model you plan the following things into your year: 

  1. 1 big goal - this is the one big thing that you will look back on and say you achieved this year, something you will be really proud of.
  2. 6 mini adventures - sprinkle 6 mini adventures throughout your year, things you wouldn’t do everyday, maybe challenges, trips or something outside of your comfort zone. A simple way of adding excitement and growth to your life.
  3. 4 habits - by adding 4 healthy habits and routines to your life you are setting yourself up for greater success. You don’t need to overload it and you want to make sure you can solidify each as you add them, so bring a new habit in each quarter. 


Model 3: Categories 

Last but not least, our final method is creating resolutions in categories. It may sound a bit dull in comparison to the others but it shouldn’t be underestimated. Categories are a super practical way of making sure you cover all bases that are important to you without going overboard in any one area (unless that’s your intention).

I’ve been using this method for years and have, over time, refined the categories to make them feel more relevant to me. Below I've listed the core categories, but feel free to adapt these to what makes most sense in your life: 

  1. Relationships (romantic, family, friends), social & community 
  2. Experiences & adventures 
  3. Health, fitness & self improvement 
  4. Career & learning
  5. Security (financial, home)

Once again this can be used in isolation or combined with the other methods above.

How to Make Resolutions Stick

Now, the million-dollar question – how do you actually make these resolutions stick? Here are our 3 top tips to making this actionable. 

  1. Stepping stones: you want your goals to be actionable, by this I mean you have identified the actions you need to achieve them. If you have huge goals, identify the smaller stepping stones to achieving them and have a plan for how/when you will take those steps. 
  2. Visualise success: create a vivid mental picture, or physically draw out what a successful outcome looks like for you. Visualisation is used in all sorts of settings, including sports, and has been shown to be effective in driving motivation and increasing the chances of achieving your goals.
  3. Check-in & celebrate small wins: set yourself regular check-ins and use these to celebrate any wins you have achieved, however small, these little boosts will keep you going. You can also use this time to recognise any goals you haven’t taken action against yet and make a plan to do so. 

Wrapping up, remember – resolutions aren't just about dreaming big. Your brain loves them, the fresh start effect has your back, and with these practical models, you're on the way to turning them into reality. So, here's to a great new year filled with everything you’re dreaming of.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.