Making New Year’s Resolutions that Stick

It’s resolution-making season. Whether you’re resolving to do the same things you did a year ago or starting over with a new list of goals, we’ve got some tips to help you make resolutions that stick in the new year.

Imagine a future that excites you

The thought of your life after having accomplished your goals ought to all but terrify you. Many resolutions are abandoned each year because they do not lead to a future exciting enough to inspire perseverance. Imagine in vivid detail how keeping this resolution will change your life. How much more energy would you have if you lost the weight? What would you be able to do if you learned that language? What would your life be like if you accomplished that goal?

Better still, write out that description in a list or an essay and use it to motivate yourself. Nobody ever stuck to a resolution that didn’t excite them in the first place, and many people abandon exciting resolutions because they forgot why they were exciting. Don’t let that happen to you!

Take action right now

Exciting resolutions are often also big, frightening resolutions. It can be daunting to imagine your life as you’d like it to be, especially if you cannot see a clear path forward from where you are. Don’t let a huge goal discourage you. Chart the path that you know, and as you take your first steps, the rest of the course will become visible. Spend less time preparing, less time waiting on the circumstances to be exactly right, and more time doing.

A few years ago, my mom challenged me to run a half marathon with her. I didn’t know the first thing about running, except that it was marginally faster than walking. I knew I probably needed special shoes of some kind, and I would maybe have to alter my diet a little. I didn’t know all the challenges that I would face along the way, but I knew the first step was to get off my couch and get outside. I did that, and very quickly it became clear what I would need to do and not do. I could’ve spent hours reading tips for first-time runners, but reading about how to reach my goal wouldn’t have gotten me any closer to reaching my goal. I learned everything that I would need to know about running from running, not reading about running. Take action, and let experience be your teacher.

Get advice & accountability

Experience can teach you many things, but collect wise council to fill in the gaps and save yourself some hard-learned lessons. There is safety in a multitude of counselors (Proverbs 11:14).

A companion can help you to endure hardship that you would not have survived alone (Ecclesiastes 4:9–10). It has been said that accountability is the antidote for human nature. (Click to tweet) When you feel like abandoning a well-forged resolution, an accountability partner points your attention back toward the exciting future that you imagined for yourself. Much more than just a confronter, an accountability partner can stoke the fire of hope when you abandon it. While it might feel cheesy or humbling to ask for accountability, it may be the only thing between another failed resolution and an accomplished one.

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Written by
Ray Deck III

Born in WV, Ray escaped to North Carolina at a young age. He came to Logos after an 8 year stint at a faith-based nonprofit in New York. When he is not assembling sequences of words, he’s probably running, surfing or shooting skeet, but you should probably go look for him. He has a terrible sense of direction and is probably lost.

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Written by Ray Deck III
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