Top 15 Most Common New Year's Resolutions (and How to Achieve Them)

The new year is a fresh start for many to change in their lives. They make a list of resolutions that not many seem to keep. In fact, data from the University of Scranton notes that 45% of us make resolutions, but only 8% of those resolution makers actually achieve their goals. One of the main reasons for such a high failure rate is that people don’t set a strategy to reach those goals. Below are some common resolutions and ways to reach those goals.

1. Exercise more

2. Lose weight

3. Eat healthier food

4. Learn a new language or skill

5. Get out of debt

6. Reach financial independence

7. Quit a bad habit (smoking, arriving late, procrastinating, scrolling down social media, watching too much TV…)

8. Build a good habit (waking up early, meditation…)

9. Spend more time with family and friends

10. Find your significant other

11. Reduce stress in your life

12. Travel more

13. Read more

14. Become happier with your life

15. Volunteer and give more to charity

1. Mentally prepare for change

Making a change is no easy task. You’ll have to make sacrifices and feel uncomfortable before it gets any better. That’s why you need to prepare yourself mentally and keep in mind that any discomfort you might feel, is only part of the process and that eventually, it’ll get better. In other words, be willing to delay instant gratifications for the greater reward.

2. Set SMART goals

Whatever goal you’re setting make sure it checks all the SMART goal setting framework:

Specific – make the goal as clear and specific as possible. “Eating healthier” could be set in a more specific way like “eating less junk food”, or “eating more vegetables and fruits”.

Measurable - Quantify your goal if possible, i.e. I will save $2.000 this year.

Attainable – Your goal should be challenging enough yet within the realm of possibility. If you’re in debt, maybe don’t set “making 1m dollar this year” as a goal.

Relevant - Keep it personal. Your goal should be something you’re doing for yourself and not to please others. Often, people set goals that are only meant to please others like their parents, spouse, or even society in general. So they might end up having a career they don’t like just to please their parents for example.

Time-sensitive – In addition to quantifying your goal, give yourself a time-frame to achieve your goals like setting a goal for this year or even this month.

3. Write down your goals

You’ll be amazed at what difference writing your goals make. Writing your goals down helps you clarify your goal and how to achieve it and it helps you let go of any negative beliefs that might hold you from taking action on it. In fact, seeing your goal written on a piece of paper or on your computer makes it more real to you. 

4. Take it one goal at a time

It’s okay to set a long list of goals and resolutions. But when working on those goals, make sure your list is manageable. In other words, take it one goal at a time depending on what’s most important to you. Here’s a way to help you prioritize your goals:

• Write down each of your goals on a different sticky note.

• Place these notes on a wall or a board.

• Group similar goals (such as exercising more, eating healthier food and losing weight).

• Put the most important goals or group of goals at the top and go from there.

5. Start small

One of the reasons why people fail to reach their goals, is because they set unrealistic goals and make big changes at once. In fact, it’s the small achievements that are going to keep you going and make room for bigger achievements. That’s one of the reasons why experts are recommending starting your day with making your bed.
Here are a few tips to help you make your massive goal achievable:

• Divide your goal into sub-tasks

• Assign deadlines to each sub-task

• Focus on finishing each sub-task and not on the big goal

6. Be aware of your limiting beliefs

Whenever you find yourself giving up on your goals, stop for a moment and ask yourself why this isn’t working? It could be inconvenient circumstances that are holding you from reaching your goals. But most of time, it’s your limiting beliefs telling you that you can’t do it. Whatever your limiting beliefs are, acknowledging them and seeing how wrong they are is the most important step to change them.

7. Review your goals regularly

Every month or even every week, review how close you are to reaching your goals and meeting your deadlines. If you’re not moving along as expected, try to change or improve your strategy. Also, you need to leave some room for mistakes and setbacks. It’s only normal to fail before coming up with better ways and wining.

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