5 Key Steps to Writing Effective New Year’s Resolutions

Written by: Julia

Edited by: Megh

Visual by: Solenne

2021, for many, was the light at the end of the tunnel; people entered the new year with a renewed sense of purpose, relief, and motivation to bounce back from the disaster that was this past year. As such, New Year’s Resolutions have become ubiquitous at the onset of a new year, as they cater to those looking to further their journey of self-improvement.

However, around 80% of New Year’s Resolutions fail and do not survive past mid-February (as stated by the US News & World Report). To combat this, BT has created a four-step checklist for you to create meaningful resolutions that will truly stick and make a difference in your life, along with some of my own resolution making processes that you can refer to.

1. Reflect

Before setting any goal, understand what you’re looking to achieve and how it’s aligned with your own core values. Try making a list of the overarching values that rule your life and evaluate which areas you would like to work on. Keep in mind that mindlessly setting goals based on sheer desire will leave you devoid of the true passion that will drive you towards achievements. Take a look at some of my values and some of the things that I want to achieve.

2. Dream

After evaluating your values and purpose, start to dream with your eyes open! Brainstorm a list of dreams that you wish to make a reality – no matter how big or small. Get down to the roots of your deepest desires and what you want to accomplish in your life: these will set you up in the general direction that you want to take going forward. With this completed list, you can start breaking each of these dreams down into smaller steps. Humans thrive off the feeling of accomplishing goals. Thus, breaking up your bigger resolutions into smaller, multi-step parts will provide you with more opportunities to reward yourself upon accomplishing a step, and will ultimately keep you on track to achieving your main goal.

3. Making your goal and committing to it!

The acronym of S.M.A.R.T is a very useful tool for crafting these resolutions, and stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-based. This goal-structuring strategy is a classic at ISM and was also recommended by Forbes magazine when writing New Year’s Resolutions.

To give you an example, I want to be more sustainable and reduce my red meat intake.

I will eat less red meat.

A lot of information is not provided in this resolution. For example, what type of red meat? How much meat can I eat, and how often? Can I quickly adjust to a solely plant-based diet? To adequately answer these questions, we get a revised resolution:

I will reduce my consumption of red meat by celebrating Meatless Mondays once a week for the next three months.

In this situation, I now realize that the goal fits perfectly with my current diet, which keeps me motivated and on track to reach my goal!

4. Lastly, Trust the Process

Setbacks are a key component of life. Not every day will be the same, and there will always be some kind of barrier or obstacle in your way. It is important to let things work itself out. Stop trying to control every aspect of your life! Certain situations may require a day or two off, and this is completely fine. You can always return to your goal feeling refreshed and renewed.

So, there you have it! Writing a strong New Year’s Resolution can seem daunting at first, and it can be rather difficult to stay committed to a goal that you set for yourself this year. With these tips, however, you will be able to reach all of those goals that you’ve set for yourself this year and become a new and improved version of yourself!

Works Cited

“How to Make (and Keep) a New Year’s Resolution.” The New York Times, The New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/guides/smarterliving/resolution-ideas.

Publishing, Harvard Health. “Seven Steps for Making Your New Year’s Resolutions Stick.” Harvard Health, http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/seven-steps-for-making-your-new-years-resolutions-stick.Warrell, Margie. “Seven Strategies for Highly Effective New Year’s Resolutions.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 31 Dec. 2012, http://www.forbes.com/sites/margiewarrell/2012/12/31/seven-strategies-for-highly-effective-new-years-resolutions/?sh=7f6b7d281b5f.