Do you want to set some New Year resolutions for yourself?  Many people do.  It is a new year and can be a new start. However, the idea of a “resolution” comes with baggage: the expectation of a major transformation.   Some people are full of optimism and energy looking to break bad habits and start a new way of life.  Whereas others set themselves up for failure and disappointment when they realize their goal is unachievable and give up mid January.

New Years resolutions should not be so dramatic and should not be an all or nothing approach.  Here are some tips to help make and achieve realistic resolutions.

Keep them realistic:

Start small and take baby steps toward your goal.  Instead of having a goal of running a marathon, start with a 5 km race as step 1, then move to step 2 a 10 km race, and keep moving forward in steps.  Pace yourself, you do not have to accomplish everything right away.

Choose your words wisely:

How you express your goals can make a big difference. “I want to …” versus “I should…” often results in greater success. Emphasis that this is what you want.

Turn the resolution into a routine:

The key to any change is to make it a part of your routine, a part of your life, one of your habits.  Consider the following three steps:


You need to believe that not only can you start something new; but also that you believe you are able to do it consistently.


What obstacles do you have to remove to get it done? Find a way to remove those obstacles.


Start now.  Do not wait. Jump right in.

Do not be afraid to experiment:

Taking small steps towards your goal enables you to experiment and try new things.  Sometimes experiments work and other times they do not.  That is ok, just learn from it and keep moving towards your goal.

Develop replacement habits:

If your resolution involves eliminating something, make sure you have a satisfying replacement.  If your goals is to stop drinking sugary drinks, make sure you have lots of herbal tea, water (with lemon or berries), or other non-sugary replacement handy all the time.  Focus on the positive and not the negative.

Tell others:

If you tell your friends and family about your goals or resolutions, it is a form of commitment.  You might get a lot of support and company on your journey. Success comes quicker when you have people helping you.



Be specific:

If your goal is to be more active then decide how you want to do that and be specific in the goal.  Maybe the first step is to go to the gym one a week.  Step two maybe going to the gym twice a week.  All these steps are specific actions that go toward the vague goal of being more active.  Create a specific plan with achievable steps.

Focus on gratitude:

Be thankful for all the good things that has happened to you in the past year and see your resolutions as part of that growth and achieving you goals.   Do not focus on the fact that you are not as fit as you wish, instead focus on the fact that you are able to do what it takes to become fitter.

Celebrate each successful step:

Each step brings you closer to your goal and you should celebrated each step.

Keep the list short:

Have one to three realistic resolutions and focus on that.  Do these ones well and that will open the door to further change later on.