3 Tips for Following Through on Your New Year’s Resolution

by Don Smith

All products and services featured on this site are independently selected by our authors and editors. If you buy something through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

It's that time of year again when most of us start thinking about making New Year's resolutions. Let me ask you, did you actually follow through with what you planned to do last year? Do you even remember what you planned to do last year? If you answered yes to both of these, congrats! You're in the minority. If you answered no to either of these, keep reading!

3 Tips to Achieve Your New Year's Resolution

1. Understand Why This Is Important to You.

WHY do you want to change? What's the point of this resolution, and what difference do you think it will make in your life? Failing to ask and answer this question leaves us floundering 3 or 4 weeks in, wondering why we are putting in all this effort. Once you figure out why you want to change, WRITE IT DOWN! Read that why again when you start losing momentum.

One good exercise to figure out what things really matter is to try taking the tombstone test which is part of our life goals workbook and writing your eulogy. What do you want others to write about you when you are gone? Do your day-to-day habits line up with that description?

2. Pick ONE Goal

This year I would like to get fit, get rich, find my soulmate, get married, have kids, buy a house, travel the world, become famous, develop great friendships, move to Florida… Sound familiar? If you try to change everything, what happens? Exactly! Nothing happens!

Write down everything you would like to do, then pick one small thing that leads you in the direction you want to head to work on today. Once you've accomplished that one thing or have at least established the habits that will lead to the result you desire, then you can set another goal, but not until then.

Set milestones on larger goals, and celebrate those when you reach them. Feeling like we are gaining on our overall goal will help keep our head in the game. Try to keep your one small thing to do today to 15 minutes or less. Making your daily goal so small that it seems silly not to do it will help you develop the habit, you can ramp it up later, but for now, just develop the habit. Another trick is to attach the new habit you are trying to form to something else you already have a habit of doing, this will help you remember to do it. For example, after I brush my teeth, I will play on my Total Gym for 15 minutes.

Do not make the mistake of setting so many goals this year that you get overwhelmed and accomplish none of them. Take baby steps toward your goal every day, and eventually, you will look up and realize you have arrived at your destination.

3. Write it Down

What did you even resolve to do last year? Do you have it written down where you can see it regularly? I've started making a habit of taking notes whenever I hear good ideas, and I'm constantly amazed when I look back because I forgot half of the stuff I wrote down.

You're kidding yourself if you think you will remember. Write it down! If you don't write your resolution down and review it regularly, you WILL forget it eventually.

If you want a handy tool to help you think through your goals and break them down, grab a copy of our life goals workbook!

Good luck!

About the Author 

Don Smith

Happily married with five kids, Smith owns a technology company, is the founder of this site, has served on the board of directors for multiple companies, and loves playing soccer, hiking, and mentoring.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Imagine a boat anchoring down in harbor. During serene weather periods it makes perfect sense to anchor down. But during turbulent weather,

Read More
What Anchors Do You Need to Cut?

I was mindlessly flipping through my statistics today. Twitter Analytics: 335K impressions this month, nice!Google Analytics: Yep, traffic to my site is

Read More
Stop Looking at the Statistics to Grow Your Business

You tell people to “let it go”. You have been told to “let it go”. But what does “let it go” really

Read More
Why Does Letting It Go Have Immense Power in its Meaning?

I drove 8 hours from North Carolina to Pennsylvania today. After settling in to a cottage for the evening I wrote and

Read More
Do You Dream Often or Distract Yourself?

I recently decided to move forward with a purge on my email subscriber list. It was a tough decision as I've worked

Read More
Why I am Deleting a Large Portion of My Subscriber List

Out of the depths of the Great Depression comes this incredible true story about beating the odds and finding hope in desperate

Read More
Book of the Month: The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics

If I had a dime for every time someone has told me that they aren't happy even though they make lots of

Read More
Why Making Lots of Money Doesn’t Always Make People Happy

In Clash of Clans, a popular strategy game for the iPhone and Android, there is a concept of a shield that goes

Read More
Breaking the Shield

I spend a few moments daily reading Quora questions to help my fellow bloggers. Without fail, bloggers ask mostly about how to

Read More
Why Giving Is the Quickest Way to Get

It seems like everyone has their rules for success these days. There's Bill Marriot's 12 rules for success, Steve Job's 12 rules

Read More
10 Rules for Success: Lessons to Live By

Old school me had a small group of friends and not much else. I did socialize. But I rarely actually met and

Read More
What Is the Biggest Drawback to Hiding from Humanity?

I am starting to develop a little tick anytime someone tells me they are too busy to invest in their own personal

Read More
Let’s get real. You’re not too busy. It just isn’t your priority!


Get new articles and course discounts from leading providers every Friday in your inbox with your free subscription!