Making Effective New Years Resolutions

Making Effective New Year's Resolutions on AprilJHarris.com
I love new beginnings and always take the opportunity to set goals in January. Over the years I’ve found some really helpful techniques that help me make effective New Years resolutions – in short, New Years resolutions that work. Here are my top tips.

Be kind to yourself
“I’m getting too fat and I need to lose weight” isn’t going to encourage or support your goals, nor is “This house is a mess and I need to de-clutter.” Use positive language when setting your resolutions – Try “I resolve to make healthy choices about the food I eat so that I look and feel better” or resolve to “make positive choices about the things I keep in my home, making sure that everything is either beautiful, useful or sentimental.”

Be realistic
It’s always good to be optimistic but when it comes to effective New Years resolutions, it is more important to be realistic. You need to think about what you are more likely to achieve so that you get that wonderful sense of accomplishment that spurs you on to keep moving forward.

Break your goals, and the year, into sections
Instead of looking at your goals in one big chunk, divide them down into steps with time specific goals. If your resolutions to lose twenty pounds have been ineffective for years, what about breaking that goal down? Resolve to lose ten pounds in six months, a much more achievable goal, and the sense of accomplishment you get from that achievement will help spur you on to lose the remaining ten. Or resolve to declutter or deep clean one room per month. You get the idea.

Choose a theme
Author Gretchen Rubin recommends choosing a one word theme for the New Year to help keep you focused and on track with your resolutions. I’ve adapted this idea to suit myself in the past by choosing a phrase. In 2013, it was An Atmosphere of Growth (again borrowed from Gretchen!),  In 2014 it was “Abundance, Trust and Fun”. I haven’t chosen a theme for 2016 yet, but I’m working on it as I write this. I’ve found choosing a theme makes it easier to make effective New Years resolutions and a lot more fun too!

Be flexible
We are so critical of ourselves and are often quick to condemn ourselves when we fall short of our goals and dreams. Be sure to grant yourself the grace and flexibility you give to others. It’s okay to adjust your resolutions throughout the year or let them evolve and grow, just as you do! A set back needn’t be a failure; properly framed it can be a force to help keep you moving forward.

Making effective New Years resolutions can be an uplifting and exciting way to start a new year. Whatever your resolutions this coming year, I wish you a healthy, happy and prosperous 2016!

If you enjoyed this post you may also like New Year Aspirations.

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Article by April Harris

April has written 1218 great articles for us.
April is a food, lifestyle and travel writer who lives in Berkshire, England. She shares inspiration, tips and trends for anyone who loves food, cooking, entertaining, fashion, travel and the finer things in life at her blog, AprilJHarris.com.
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Comments

  1. April, I don’t make New Year’s resolutions but, like you, I see this as a good time to set goals. I like your tips. I’m going to choose the one-word theme “Hospitality.” Last year I fell into the habit of not entertaining nearly as often as I’d like.

  2. My goal is weight loss so with that in mind I have to be realistic as to what I can achieve. I know what I would eat if it were just me to achieve that goal, but with a husband who likes his meat and starch this is going to be difficult. Also, I don’t want my blog to suffer as it’s not a “health” blog per se. Any suggestions?

    • I’m working on being fitter, stronger and eating better, Patty, and I have similar issues. Sweet potatoes are a real lifesaver as they still have that comforting potato texture. I use mushrooms and eggplant to mimic the texture of meat in many dishes – sometimes people hardly notice, but it depends on how much of a meat eater they are. I’ve found that I’ve managed to develop some really interesting and tasty new recipes by doing this so it has helped me in some ways. However, like you I don’t want my blog to suffer so I still include some of the less healthy stuff! I honestly think every little bit helps and that little changes can reap big rewards so I’d just start with a few small changes 🙂

  3. I like your suggestion of choosing a theme for my New Year’s resolutions. I’m going to have to ponder that.

    I will tell you that one of my resolutions for this year is to ‘party more!’ By that, I mean to invite friends and neighbors over (for cake and ice cream or to play cards). I want to focus on enjoying my friendships with others more.

    Hope you have a great year!

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