SMART goals new years resolutions goal setting new year how to set healthy goals for success

How To Keep New Year's Resolutions & Set Yourself Up for Success

Making new year’s resolutions? Having trouble keeping your new year goals past January? Learn how to make and keep your new years resolutions with this template below! 

Many people choose the beginning of January to make new year goals. Researchers call this the “fresh start effect” which, according to a series of studies, comes from the idea that temporal landmarks motivate aspirational behaviors. This means that certain periods of time help people take a “big-picture” look at their lives and work towards improving habits. However, with time we tend to become unmotivated or bored by our new years resolutions. How do we change that? How do we make new year goal setting a successful event in achieving these goals? 

A Healthier New Year with SMART Goals 

SMART is a method for implementing and clearly defining goals. It’s an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. It’s a well-known method and has been used in business, educational, and healthcare settings — to name a few. It’s also a great template for creating new year goals that stick! 

Specific — Being specific is key to creating goals that are successful. Instead of saying “I want to lose weight,” try saying “I want to walk for 30 minutes after dinner each day.” 

Measurable — Make goals that are easily measured so you can see improvement. Following the example above, try adjusting the goal to “I want to walk for 30 minutes after dinner, at least three times a week.” This will help you measure how often you achieve the goal each week and allow you to measure improvement over time. 

Attainable — Being realistic is important. You don’t want to start with something that’s too difficult for you, like “I want to learn three new languages.” Decide what’s realistic for you and then break that down into smaller goals. For example, learning three new languages in the new year is unrealistic, so maybe go down to one new language. Then, break it down into practicing this language for 15 minutes each day. 

Relevant — When you’re making new year goals, make sure it’s something you actually want to do. Don’t want to learn a new language? Then you won’t be motivated enough to continue after a few weeks. Choose something that’s important to you, that you’re passionate about. It will make you more successful in the long run. 

Time-bound — After you make your goal, set a reasonable timeline. Say you want to practice mindfulness this year. You know you want to do this by meditation three nights each week. Now, set a deadline. Your goal could become “I want to practice mindfulness by meditation three nights a week for two months.” Then, once you reach the two-month mark, you can assess your goal, measure your success, and begin again. Maybe this time you want to meditate for five nights a week, or you want to practice mindfulness in a new way, like walking in nature. 

Try This New Year's Resolutions Template

Now that you know how to use SMART to help you create successful new year resolutions, here is a template to help you get started: 

"I will [insert goal here] by [insert how you’ll achieve the goal]. I will see I’m making progress because [insert how you’ll measure the goal] for [insert length of time you’ll work on the goal]." 

Keep in mind that hiccups will happen and there might be a day when you can’t work toward your goal. This is okay. Let the day pass and start again tomorrow. What are your new year’s resolutions? Let us know what your new year goals are — tag us @naturalbalancebrand! 

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