New Year’s Resolutions: The Key to Keeping Them

I am a big fan of making new year’s resolutions. I’m a planner by nature and have yet to meet a spreadsheet I didn’t love. So, making goals for the year has never been a problem. Instead, my problem was enthusiasm – I got over-ambitious at the beginning of the year and then disillusioned by March. It’s not that I didn’t try to keep going; it’s that the reality of life had usually given me a couple of swift kicks by then. Luckily, I’ve gotten much better. And now, I’m sharing with you tips on how I make and keep my new year’s resolutions.

Tip #1 Make Your 2023 New Year’s Resolutions Doable

If you want to get stronger and/or healthier in 2023, making a resolution to bench an additional 200 pounds by the end of this week, when you have never attempted them, is not a great idea. Not only could you get hurt, but you are likely to get discouraged.

I want to get back to hiking and walking longer distances. I injured my ankle last summer and stopped doing the longer walks as I rehabbed it. I know I can’t make my 2023 new year’s resolution for health be “walk 10-mile loops by January 8th.” Instead, I’ll be taking it slowly, building my stamina, and rebuilding some muscle strength. I’m in it for long-term habit change rather than a short sprint of ambition.

Tip #2 Categorize your New Year’s Resolutions for Balance

If you have a lot of goals for 2023, I recommend breaking them into categories, such as “Health,” “Financial,” “Career,” “Home,” and “The Good Life.” Some people will put different resolutions in different categories. For example, “travel to Italy” may be part of your career goals or an aspect of “The Good Life.”

My friend Pen and I started doing this a while ago, and it really helped me focus on the areas of my life that I wanted to explore and/or improve. By creating categories, I could dig deeper into the areas of my life that meant something to me and figure out what was working and not working.

Tip #3 Make Resolutions that Mean Something to You

If you make a new year’s resolution to garden more, and you hate gardening (or have no interest in it), that’s probably not going to work. Sure, you could force yourself to do it and find an affinity for it. However, in all likelihood, you’ll put this resolution off as long as possible and then forget about it entirely by March. Or, you’ll remember the resolution and feel crappy that you didn’t do it. Who needs something more to feel crappy about? Not us!

Instead, I choose resolutions that are connected to interests I already have. This will help with inspiration and motivation – particularly on some bleak days in February.

Tip #4 Build in Accountability

One of the reasons that Pen and I have so consistently stuck to our new year’s resolutions/yearly strategic planning goals is that we write them down together (and, yes, it usually does involve a lovely glass of Champagne or Pinot Noir). Then, we connect in person or over zoom for quarterly check-ins on our progress. This allows us to make adjustments where necessary, identify roadblocks, and pat ourselves on the backs for achieving any goals we’ve met since our last meeting. It also means that there aren’t any new year’s resolutions or goals we’ve entirely forgotten.

Tip #5 Choose At Least One Fun Thing

I firmly believe in choosing at least one fun goal for the new year. Last year, it was “Add more Champagne and sparkling wines to life,” and I am delighted to say that we did that. I discovered so many joyful sips along the way, and I’ll be sharing more of them with you on the blog.

For you, the fun thing could be traveling more, baking more, socializing more, or reading more. It’s something (or things) that you’ll want to do. By making it one of your new year’s resolutions, you are giving yourself permission to try something or do more of something that makes you smile. It’s hopeful – just like the start of a new year should be.