Making New Year's Resolutions That Stick

37% of New Year's resolutions made are to exercise more. 22% of resolutions fail after about one week.

The number one reason for failed resolutions? Lack of a clear goal.

I think most people fail at keeping their resolutions because they aren’t planning to make the change, they’re just making a wish. They take a handful of things they want to change about their life and think declaring it out loud will make it happen. Rachel Hollis always says, “Hope is not a strategy” and that’s why wanting to go to the gym every day is very different from actually moving my schedule around to make time for going to the gym, then tracking my progress daily.


I’ve always been a big fan of New Year’s resolutions. I’ve always thought of January as a magical month, because not only is it the start of a new year, it’s my birthday month. So it’s a new year in two ways. This month I turn 40. Do you know how crazy my brain wants to go on New Year’s resolutions for my 40th birthday!? I want to revamp EVERYTHING! And then I start to think realistically. I will not make 18 new changes in my life. I’m going to pick ONE thing. Maybe two.

I’m not even calling it a resolution anymore, I’m thinking of it as “conscious effort.”

In one breath I’m saying I believe we don’t stick to our resolutions because we’re not making a plan, and in the other breath I’m saying a conscious effort is good enough. I think both are true.

If you are the type of person who goes all-in and makes a goal happen, go for it! Make that resolution and run towards it, but my fear is that you’ll see a slip-up as a failure. Making a conscious effort doesn’t take your slip-ups and make them failures, it just makes you aware of what needs to be done better next time.

I’m all for reaching goals, but not 5 at a time. Pick one thing. Also, don’t make it all or nothing. Making a conscious effort to do more of something this year is a perfectly fine way to go about it. There’s no way to fail if you’re simply making an effort to add more good things to your life.

Last year I made a conscious effort to be kind to everyone I dealt with in-person. I wanted to be the nicest person strangers had dealt with all day.


This year I challenge you to make a resolution that has nothing to do with weight loss or exercise. Please don’t ring in the new year by wanting to change your body. Choose a resolution that makes you happy or makes others happy. Choose a goal that isn’t measured with a scale or a measuring tape.

2019 can be an amazing year for you with or without those last 10 lbs.

Your happiness over the next year doesn’t have to be directly correlated with your clothing size.

If your health needs a boost, try a resolution that includes instead of excludes. Instead of, “I’m cutting out all sugar this year” try something like, “I will eat more protein this year.” OR another way to set a new year’s goal would be to choose a word and make that your focus word over the next year. 2019 will be my year of rest. Or courage. Or kindness.

How do you want to show up in the world over the next year?


Here are a few ideas for small new year’s resolutions that can make a big impact on others (and yourself in the process):

- Text “thinking about you” messages whenever a friend pops into your head

- Get to know all of your neighbours and always greet them with a smile and a wave

- After you read a good book, pass it on to someone you know would enjoy it

- Say “I love you” when saying goodbye to people you love

- Make meals for friends who are sick or going through a hard time

- Plan video calls with long-distance friends you haven’t seen in a while

- Regularly send a letter or card to grandparents or seniors who would love to hear from you

Whatever nice thoughts you have had but haven’t done, make it your new year’s resolution to actually DO those things.

I want to remind you, in case you’re reading this after the start of the new year, that you can make small important changes at any point in your life. You don’t have to wait until January 1st. At any point, you can decide you’re going to go after a new exciting goal, or be kinder to others, or drink more water. There is no magic in starting a new goal on the first day of the new year.


So, how would you like to show up for others this coming year?

What one word or phrase will represent your daily journey over the next 12 months?

I’ve been thinking a lot about the way I show up in the world, and what I’ll be leaving behind. I’ve lost two loved ones this past year so this topic has been on my mind lately. Of course, I want to accomplish and experience and succeed at certain things, but those are more about me and less about how I’m loving and serving others.

My words for 2019 are BE KIND. I will make a conscious effort to speak nicely about everyone in my life. If I wouldn’t say it to their face, I won’t say it at all. (Wish my luck on this one, I’m gonna need it!)

How would you like to show up for others in 2019?

What personal goal are you looking to achieve that doesn’t involve hating your body and torturing yourself?

What one word or phrase will represent your daily journey over the next 12 months?

#habits #rituals

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Spring & fall photos of Beth by Melissa McCallum Photography

Winter photos of Beth by Rae Connell Photography

Copyright Beth Wyatt, 2020