How to Actually Stick to Your New Year's Resolutions

Fun fact about me: I absolutely thrive off of a hardy set of goals. Whether personal, spiritual, business-oriented, or relational, I always have a list written down somewhere (usually my notes app on my phone) of all of my dreams and plans. So, as you can imagine, I’m all about celebrating a holiday wholly devoted to goal making. Beginning a new year is thrilling to me because it means an automatic reset and a reevaluation of where I’m heading.

But we all know what happens sometime in mid-February: you stop reaching for your resolutions. Doesn’t that seem to happen every single year? Gosh, it’s the worst. And somehow we still choose to repeat the cycle over again the next year and say that this time, it’ll be different.

This year though, it will be different. Why? Because now, you have the right set of tools.

Last new year, I decided I was done making empty resolutions, done making promises to myself that I wouldn’t keep. I made steps to actually do what I said I wanted to do. Was I perfect? Absolutely not. But for the first time ever, I actually achieved what I had written down on January 1st.

So here’s a few tips that helped me reach my goals, ones I’m still applying to my resolutions for 2019:

  1. What’s Your Motivation?

    Here’s the simple truth: Chances are you will not accomplish a single goal you set if you either A. Don’t have the right motivations or B. Don’t know your motivations. Let’s say you set a goal to lose 15 pounds this year. Why do you want to lose it? If you don’t know, I encourage you to sit down and consider your why. If you do know, and the answer is something like, “I want to look like (insert name of model here),” you might struggle accomplishing that goal more than if your answer was something like, “I want to feel good and take better care of my body.” This is true for any goal though, not just weight loss. So, sit down with a pen and paper and figure out your why. This will be the springboard that everything else will jump from.

  2. Define Specific Steps

    Now that you know your “why,” we’ve got to figure out your “how.” This was usually where I’d mess up in the past. I’d write down these crazy big dreams of what I’d accomplish in the new year, but I never asked myself how I’d do it. A wise french writer (who’s name I can’t pronounce, but he seems like a stellar guy) once wrote, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” I bet he figured that out the hard way, because I know I sure did. I didn’t want to take all of that boring time to plan; I just wanted to go out and make it happen! But it turned out that to make it happen, I had to do the nitty gritty of planning first.

    So, I made S.M.A.R.T. goals, which stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. A.K.A. I started getting really detailed. Let’s use weight loss example again. Say you made the resolution to lose weight in 2019. You’d make this a S.M.A.R.T. goal by editing your resolution to say, “I will lose fifteen pounds by December 1st, 2019 through working out three times per week and only eating out once per week.” WAY more specific, right? Write it down, and make pretty document that you love looking at while you’re at it!

    If you’re really devoted to planning, I also like to break this down a little more by creating monthly S.M.A.R.T. goals. That way, you have something smaller to try to achieve that feels more in your grasp. Maybe you’d like to lose two pounds in January. Baby steps is better than leaps.

  3. Find Accountability

    I’m not gonna lie: New Year’s kind of snuck up on me this year. Between graduating and moving and getting married and honeymooning and Christmas, I was a liiiiiitle distracted. My husband, Garrett, and I sat down on New Year’s Eve, slowed down, and asked each other what we’d like to do in 2019 and how we can help each other reach those goals.

    I realized that resolutions are going to be a little easier this year having someone like Garrett around who knows my hopes for the year. He’s the kind of guys who would ask me about them, how they’re going, what I’ve done to work toward them. It’s hard to escape your resolutions when there’s someone asking you about them!

    Find that person for you, someone who is both bold and gracious, and someone who you’re with often. Maybe it’s a roommate, a parent or sibling, or a spouse. Let them help you (and maybe also nag you sometimes).

  4. Have A Mindset of Grace

    You’re not going to meet all of your resolutions perfectly. Period. I selfishly wish it weren’t that way. I wish we could do all of the planning and have all of the accountability and go for it and it always work. But you and I are both human, which means that you and I both are flawed and sometimes fail.

    I think God likes goals. I think he likes when we have a dream and we put in the work to reach it. But one thing I know He doesn’t like is when we put pressure on ourselves to accomplish our goals perfectly because it is simply unrealistic. God looks on our resolutions with eyes of grace. He sees us hoping and striving, and he rejoices with us when we succeed and remains with us when we fall short, calling us to continue on. Why should we look on our goals any differently than our Creator?

Here’s to being a total boss lady and reaching all of your 2019 goals, sister. Comment below what you’d like to accomplish this year! I can’t wait to watch you crush it.