Skip to main content

This is How To Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

Each December as the year comes to a close, we all start evaluating the previous 12 months and begin looking toward the new year ahead of us. Many of us make resolutions, a decision to do (or not do) something, with the idea that a fresh year means a fresh you. Common resolutions that typically top the list include stopping smoking, working out more, losing weight, eating healthier, achieving or maintaining financial solvency, and spending more time with family and friends.

Reflect on last year. Did you stick to your resolutions throughout January?  What about February?

Related Videos

What should you do when you fall off of the wagon in your attempt to make a better you for the new year? Do not fear. All is not lost. Some resolutions emerge without adequate planning and are often super broad in scope. Refine your goals and continue on.

At nine years old, Jordan Romero was inspired by a school mural depicting the Seven Summits (the highest point on each continent). He began researching each of the mountains on the list. Less than a year later and just at just 10 years old, he reached the summit of the highest point in Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro. This was just the fuel he needed to continue his quest to reach the highest point on each of the seven continents. He would come home from school each day and put on his loaded pack and tow a tire behind him down a road as part of his training.

After successful attempts on the high points in North and South America, Europe, and Australia, Jordan then set his sights on the world’s highest mountain. In May 2010, Jordan, along with his dad, step-mom, and three Sherpa guides, reached the summit of Mount Everest. At just 13 years old, this made him the youngest person to climb the mountain. In December 2012, he completed his goal by reaching the final summit in Antarctica. From inception until completion, it took six years. 

Here are some tips (and some motivating input from the young mountaineer) from the now 23-year-old Romero to consider for creating a successful approach to your quest. 

Take Small Steps

If your ultimate goal is to run a marathon, but it’s been years since you’ve run or even seriously walked for exercise regularly, then make the marathon your long-term goal and set short-term goals toward reaching the starting line. Consider signing up for a local 5K race — that’s just 3.1 miles and more attainable in the short-term than 26.2 miles. It may be that it takes more than one year to reach that goal, but that’s OK. 

“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day-in, and day-out.” – Robert Collier

If you want to lose a specific amount of weight, set a long-term goal but also break the larger number into more achievable numbers. This will prevent you from becoming frustrated and potentially bailing on the goal entirely. 

“I’ve found that inaction is a slow killer of dreams coming to reality and that’s why doing something every day to chip away at your goal is what makes it possible,” Romero says.

It’s OK to Fall Short or to Even Get Derailed 

Maybe it’s Girl Scout cookie season and it’s easy to get lured into breaking that resolution to abstain from sugar (or to eat healthily). Or, perhaps, there’s a birthday celebration for a family member or co-worker and you simply must have a piece of cake.  

Don’t fret.

Allowing yourself to fail from time to time can strengthen your resolve to stay the course for the long haul. Don’t quit entirely because you slip up once, twice, or even three times. Stay the course.

resolutions woman tired gym working out
Martin-dm/Getty Images

It’s also advantageous to adapt as you progress. If you’re not seeing the results you anticipated, go back to the drawing board and regroup. If your goal is to lose 20 pounds and you hit a plateau at 15, don’t give up on the goal. Rather, consider what it will take to push beyond that threshold and continue your journey to reach your goal. 

Life is full of hurdles. Consider them more like speed bumps than brick walls. Don’t focus on the failure but rather on how to get back on track.

Be Realistic

Just like Romero, you have to be realistic when setting goals. At nine years old, he wasn’t physically or mentally ready to go straight to Mount Everest. His father, Paul, wanted to see his son’s commitment to the project before he would even agree to go climb the first of the Seven Summits.

With all endeavors, things worth having take hard work, diligence, and often patience. Rarely do things just fall in our laps without putting forth some effort. 

“Any individual’s passion or goal is going to often require sacrifices,” says Romero. “The idea of coming home to pull a tire with a backpack on right after school four to five days a week wasn’t the most enticing idea for an 11-year-old. But that’s where the idea of simply showing up every day comes into action. After months of doing this, I was so grateful for the strength built required to pull a sled over multiple miles of glaciers on Denali.”

Let’s go back to running for a minute. Very few people can go from being a couch potato to running a marathon without putting in the training. So make sure to choose an activity that you like. I know that sounds simplistic but if you choose a lofty goal doing something that you don’t like, you are unlikely to be successful in your venture.

Create Specific Goals

How many of us are guilty of making broad goals that just don’t provide any direction for us and are generally doomed from the start? 

planner calendar goals
Bence Boros

Here are some examples of overly broad goals:

  • Eat better.
  • Get more quality sleep.
  • Get in shape.

These aren’t specific enough. And while they sound good, they don’t provide direction or a true end goal.

Try this:

  • Eat a fruit or vegetable with each meal daily.
  • Go to sleep each night by X time.
  • Walk (or go to the gym ) X times/week. For more clarity, define a time frame.
  • If you’re not a morning person, don’t schedule an early morning gym visit. 

“Any project that’s overwhelming and seemingly unobtainable will often put you in a position of not knowing where to start,” says Romero. “Therefore, solidifying your objective at the start of each day is key to staying on a consistent path.”

Hold Yourself Accountable

The best way to stay motivated is to have a great support system. This can come in the form of a spouse, friend, or co-worker. Anyone that has a similar goal can be a great motivator when you aren’t feeling like going to the gym, taking that early morning run, or staying on track toward whatever goals you have set.

Also, if you desire to run a local race, go ahead and sign up for one that is within your time frame for getting into the training. Nothing can be more motivating than a looming date with a starting line. It can also keep you on track with your training.

Reward Yourself

Lastly, when you reach a goal, reward yourself. If that reward involves a doughnut, then enjoy every bite. If you’ve hit your training goals for a distance run, treat yourself to a massage or a new pair of running shoes. 

Editors' Recommendations

This is How Much Sleep You Need and Tips to Maintain It
A man lies asleep in bed

Getting enough sleep at night can be the difference between feeling focused, energized, happy, and healthy the next day or groggy, irritable, emotionally unstable, hungry, and exhausted. Yet with over-scheduled busy lives that are too often defined by anxiety, stress, and chronic pain, many adults fail to get enough sleep every night. In fact, research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that one in three American adults is not getting the minimum recommended number of hours of sleep per night.
So how many hours of sleep do you need every night? How common is it for adults to not get enough sleep? What are the consequences of insufficient sleep? What can you do to get more sleep at night? Keep reading for our answers to the most common questions about getting enough sleep, and see if you can start getting the quantity and quality of restorative sleep your body needs to feel your best.

Prevalence of Insufficient and Poor-Quality Sleep
Photo by Q000024, licensed under Creative Commons, and made available by PxHere
If you’re tossing and turning at night, or if you're rushing around so much all day that you only give yourself a few hours each night to sleep, you’re not alone. As mentioned, one-third of adults are not meeting sleep recommendations, with an even higher prevalence of insufficient sleep among certain racial and ethnic groups. For example, only 54% of Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders, non-Hispanic Blacks, and multiracial non-Hispanics actually met healthy sleep requirements.
Having trouble falling and staying asleep can cut into the number of hours you’re sleeping per night. A National Sleep Foundation study found that 45% of American adults report difficulty falling asleep at least one night per week and 23% report difficulty on five or more nights per week. Furthermore, falling asleep isn’t the entire battle, as 53% of respondents note trouble staying asleep, and 35% of survey respondents rated their sleep quality as ‘poor” or ‘only fair.”

Read more
What Is the Vegan Society Organization?
The logo of The Vegan Society displayed on a phone on a plate, with a knife and fork beside it on a table.

When you make big shifts in your life -- like switching careers, following a new religion, or adopting a different lifestyle -- it’s helpful to have somewhere to turn for vetted information, support, and guidance. The Vegan Society can be seen as precisely that -- a reputable organization spearheading vegan initiatives and campaigns, promoting sustainable eating and living, and helping new vegans get their foothold on the vegan lifestyle in an approachable and supported way.
Whether you’ve been committed to plant-based eating for years or are just becoming curious about venturing into veganism, keep reading for an introduction to the Vegan Society and learn how this organization is actively promoting and championing the vegan lifestyle.

Related Guides

Read more
What Happens in Summer Olympics vs. Winter Olympics
Olympic rings statue.

You don’t even have to be an avid sports fan to excitedly anticipate the Olympics every two years, when many of us are glued to our screens to watch the best of the best athletes compete in the Summer Olympics or Winter Olympic Games. With the diversity of sports, the emotional backstories of some of the top athletes representing their countries, and true feats of physical prowess and grit demonstrated in each event, the Olympic Games are nearly as engaging and exciting for viewers around the world as they may be for the athletes striving to compete in them.
Both the Summer and Winter Olympics are an integral part of the fabric of our culture and are memorable events every time they roll around. Although each iteration of the Olympic Games only occurs once every four years, the Summer and Winter Olympics take place on a staggered cycle, which means we get to see one of the versions of the Olympics roughly every two years. However, there are quite a few differences between the Summer Olympics and the Winter Olympics, from the obvious, like the specific sports contested to the more minute, like the number of nations represented. Curious to learn more about the differences between the Summer and Winter Olympics Games? Keep reading for our fun comparison of the Summer vs. Winter Olympics.

When Did the Summer Olympics and Winter Olympics Begin?

Read more