As I welcome the start of 2024, I can’t help but think back on 2023 and everything that unfolded in the last 365 days running my interior design firm, Eileen Gould Design & Construction. It was quite a year filled with ups and downs. I worked with many new clients on home renovation projects – some turned into rewarding long-term partnerships while, unfortunately, others faced unrealistic expectations or faced setbacks from faulty manufacturer materials I couldn’t overcome. Overall though, I’m grateful for the continued opportunity to pursue my passion.
But now with 2023 wrapped up, I’m feeling that familiar, exciting rush that comes with a fresh start and blank slate a new year brings. There’s just something about January rolling around that motivates us to better ourselves. According to statistics, over 50% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, striving to pick up positive habits. Yet only around 8% are actually successful in achieving them.
I certainly have fallen into the trap of dedicating myself to unrealistic resolutions in the past, only to have my determination quickly dwindle as workflow piles up come January. This year, I am taking a tactical approach to ensure my 2024 resolutions not only get made but actually get met.
Here are my top 5 techniques for finally making your New Year’s resolutions stick:
Tip #1: Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals
I’ve realized vague goals set you up for failure while specific ones provide clarity on what success looks like. That’s why experts recommend setting S.M.A.R.T. goals. The acronym breaks down like this:
- Specific (detailed, not vague)
- Measurable (can track quantifiable progress)
- Achievable (within realistic reach)
- Relevant (truly important to YOU)
- Time-bound (attached deadlines)
So, for example, compare “get healthier” versus “walk 30 minutes a day, five times a week for three months to lower BMI.” See the difference? It sets clear actions to work towards. I’m applying this to all my 2023 resolution goal-setting!
Tip #2: Focus on Just 1 or 2 Resolutions
I think a lot of people (myself included) fail to achieve New Year’s resolutions because we simply take on too much. We set anywhere from 5 to 10 lofty goals as the clock strikes midnight. When life picks up pace by mid-January, suddenly there are no more hours left in the day to dedicate to them all.
So this year, I’m narrowing my focus and choosing just ONE core resolution to channel my energy into. This way I avoid spreading myself too thin but can put complete effort into truly transforming this one aspect of my life. I recommend you do the same – pick 1 or 2 big areas you’re dedicated to improving. The concentrated effort makes all then difference!
Tip #3: Break into Mini Milestones
Let’s be honest – most major goals can seem intimidating or even downright impossible at first, leaving you discouraged before even giving it a fair shot. That’s why it’s key to chunk down big resolutions into smaller mini milestones. Mini milestones make tangible progress more frequent, keeping motivation high.
For example, if your 2023 resolution goal is completing your first 5K race, milestones
- Running 1 mile straight in January
- Building endurance to run 3 miles in February
- Running a 5k on your own in early March
Signing up for a 5k race at the end of March
See how less scary that seems when broken down week to week?
Tip #4: Share Goals Publicly
This one may seem silly, but I’ve found that sharing New Year’s resolutions with friends and family helps me achieve them. Something about going public makes people feel accountable. They don’t want to report back and they give up a few weeks in.
So, I recommend telling your close circle about the resolution(s) you are tackling. Their periodic check-ins on progress can help motivate you to persist when your determination starts to dwindle. And when you do hit milestones, they’ll be lined up to cheer your wins!
Tip #5: Practice Self-Compassion
Last but not least, learning to treat yourself with kindness and understanding is crucial for long-term success. You have to acknowledge progress is rarely linear. There will inevitably be off days where life gets in the way, or you slip up. Rather than beating yourself up and throwing in the towel altogether, take a breath and get back on track the very next day.
Reflect on what caused the hiccup, adjust your approach based on any new learnings, and then give that resolution your best effort. Consistency over perfection is key!
There you have my best tips for setting and achieving your New Year’s resolutions this year! I hope you find this advice practical. Here’s to making 2024 our most productive and positive year yet. I’m excited to apply these strategies to my own self-improvement journey – I have a feeling this will be my most successful year of reaching goals yet. Let me know in the comments what resolutions you’re tackling in the new year!
Q1. How many New Year's resolutions should I set?
A: Only focus on 1 or 2 key resolutions so you don’t spread yourself too thin. Setting too many makes it very difficult follow through on them all.
Q2. What makes a resolution “S.M.A.R.T”?
A: A SMART resolution is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound, which sets clear parameters to track progress toward success. Having precise criteria will set you up to actually achieve your goal.
Q3. What if I slip up on my resolution?
A: Be kind to yourself, get back on track the next day, and remember that progress isn’t linear. Obstacles happen but rather than abandoning your resolution altogether, re-commit and adjust your approach as needed.