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How to Make New Year’s Resolutions Helpful

Keeping New Year's Resolutions

How to Make New Year’s Resolutions Helpful

By: Shawn English, with ChatGPT (-3.5), Open AI {}


The start of a new year often creates a sense of motivation and a desire for personal growth and improvement. It’s a time when many people set New Year’s resolutions to make a positive change in their lives. However, a lot of the time these resolutions end up abandoned within weeks or months. In this essay, we will explore New Year’s resolutions and how to make them effective but also genuinely helpful in achieving personal goals and self-improvement.


Understanding the Psychology of Resolutions

To make New Year’s resolutions truly helpful, it’s essential to understand the psychology behind them. When setting a resolution, it is driven by the desire for self-improvement and personal growth, but several psychological factors can hinder progress. These factors include:


  1. Unrealistic Expectations: Many people set resolutions that are too ambitious and not realistic. Unrealistic goals can lead to frustration and disappointment, making it more likely for people to abandon their resolutions.


  1. Lack of Accountability: Some individuals keep their resolutions private, making it easier to ignore them when faced with challenges. Lack of accountability can result in a lack of motivation and commitment.


  1. Vague Goals: Resolutions are often framed in vague terms, such as “lose weight” or “get fit.” These goals aren’t very specific, making it challenging to measure actual progress and stay motivated.


  1. Short-Term Focus: Many resolutions focus on short-term results rather than long-term lifestyle changes. This can lead to a cycle of setting the same resolutions year after year, without making meaningful progress.


  1. All-or-Nothing Mindset: Some individuals view their resolutions in black-and-white terms, believing that any setback from their goal is a failure. This can lead to perfectionism and discouragement.


Now that we’ve identified these psychological barriers, let’s explore strategies for making New Year’s resolutions helpful.


  1. Set Realistic and Specific Goals
    The first step in making New Year’s resolutions helpful is setting realistic and specific goals. Instead of vague resolutions like “lose weight” or “get fit,” break down your objectives into clear and achievable steps. For example, you might set a goal to “lose 20 pounds by June” or “exercise for 30 minutes, five days a week.” Specific goals provide clarity for New Year’s resolutions.

  1. Focus on the Process, Not Just the Outcome
    Rather than focusing solely on the end result, try to focus on the process of achieving your resolutions. Understand that meaningful change takes time and effort. Embrace the journey and everything that happens along the way. This approach can help you stay motivated and committed even when progress is slower than expected.
  1. Tell Others About the Resolutions
    Accountability plays a big role in the success of your resolutions. Share your goals with friends, family, or a supportive community. You can also find someone who shares similar goals and can help keep you on track. When others are aware of your resolutions, it becomes more challenging to abandon them and it keeps you motivated.
  1. Break Down Big Goals into Smaller Steps
    Large goals can be overwhelming and demotivating. To make your resolutions more manageable, break them down into smaller, achievable steps. Estimate dates or times for when you want to complete each step, allowing you to track your progress and adjust your approach if necessary.
  1. Learn from Past Mistakes
    If you’ve previously failed to keep your New Year’s resolutions, don’t let those impact your future resolutions. Instead, reflect on what went wrong and why. Use this knowledge to make adjustments and avoid repeating the same mistakes. Failure is an opportunity for growth and improvement.
  1. Embrace Flexibility and Adaptability
    Life is unpredictable, and challenges can arise at any time. To make your resolutions helpful, be willing to adapt and adjust your goals as needed. Flexibility allows you to keep your goals on track even when circumstances change.
  1. Monitor and Track Progress
    Regularly monitor your progress toward your resolutions. Keep a journal, use a smartphone app, or create a visual representation of your goals and achievements. Tracking your progress provides motivation and helps you stay accountable to yourself.
  1. Seek Professional Guidance
    For some resolutions, especially those related to health, finances, or mental well-being, seeking professional guidance can be very helpful. Consult with experts, such as personal trainers, financial advisors, or therapists, who can provide support specific to you and guidance on your journey.
  1. Patience and Perseverance
    Achieving meaningful change takes time and patience. Understand that setbacks are a natural part of the process, but that doesn’t mean you have failed. Maintain perseverance and keep pushing forward, even when progress is slow.
  1. Celebrate Achievements Along the Way
    Don’t wait until you’ve completed your final goal to celebrate your achievements. Reward yourself for reaching milestones and making progress. Celebrating small victories can boost your motivation and your commitment to your resolutions.


Keeping New Year’s resolutions is a matter of understanding the psychology behind them and using strategies that increase your chances of success. You can significantly boost the chances of achieving your New Year’s Resolutions through these following strategies: setting realistic and specific goals, focusing on the process, telling others about your resolutions, breaking down large goals, learning from past mistakes, embracing flexibility, monitoring progress, seeking professional guidance, patience and perseverance, and celebrating your achievements along the way.

Remember that New Year’s resolutions are not just about achieving specific outcomes; they are also an opportunity for personal growth and self-improvement. With the right mindset and approach, you can turn your resolutions into the opportunity for positive changes in your life. 

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