The Best Strategies To Stick With Your New Year’s Resolution

Using the acronym SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound) can help one stick to their New Year's resolution in 2023.

By Trista Sobeck | Updated

new year's resolution

Ok, a show of hands: who made a New Year’s resolution? Ok, good. Now, another show of hands, who thinks they can stick to their New Year’s resolutions? Yup, that’s what I thought. Probably more than half of you put your hands down. But, why do we break our resolutions every year when we know we are doing something that will be the key to our ultimate happiness? The answer is that we don’t treat them with importance like we should.

According to some researchers, you can keep your New Year’s resolution. You just have to create SMART goals in order to do so. Now, if you are a member of corporate America, you probably have experience with SMART goals. It’s a popular method of setting yearly or quarterly goals and then sitting down with your manager every six months to make sure you meet them. 

NPR tells us that SMART goals are really the key to seeing a New Years’ resolution through to fruition. Whether you want to lose weight or are planning on throwing caution to the wind and choosing your New Year’s resolution based on your zodiac sign (hey, don’t knock it!), greatness could be yours! 

By following SMART goals, you can make your New Year’s resolution a reality. These types of goals are based on time management. And time is a great motivator. If you organize your time around your goals, you’ll be able to carve out enough time to work on your priorities and live your life at the same time. 

SMART goals also help you reach your New Year’s resolution easily because they allow you to say “no,” to those activities that do not align with your goals. So, staying focused automatically becomes a little easier since you know exactly what you’re working towards and how you are going to get there. 

Let’s look at how SMART goals can help you stick to your New Year’s resolution and see what each letter stands for, shall we? 

S is for specific: When you know exactly which steps you will take to reach your goals, your mind can focus on one thing and one thing only. Following through on a New Year’s resolution takes a lot of planning. If you have that planning done ahead of time, the rest is gravy. 

M is for measurable: Make time each day to do something towards reaching your New Year’s resolution. And make it so you can keep track of what you’ve actually succeeded in. If you worked out for 45 minutes, write it down and document it. Tracking gives us a way to monitor our efforts. Life comes at you fast. So, if you write things down, you can go back and see just how much you’ve actually achieved. 

A is for achievable: Goals are an extension of our values. And if we assign value to each small step we take in order to reach our larger goals, we can make the goal a reality. If your goal is to lose 100 lbs, you’re going to have to break this goal down into smaller steps. First, make the weight loss something within your reach. Maybe it’s 5 lbs. Then, outline all the little steps you need to make in order to lose those 5 lbs. If you’re consistent and follow our outline, you will achieve your goal. 

R is for relevant: Examine your mind. Why is this goal important to you and why do you want to reach this particular New Year’s resolution? How is it relevant to your life? Sometimes we don’t reach our goals because we don’t know ourselves and what is important to us. You need to pick a goal that holds meaning for you and you only. 

T is for time-bound: The best motivator is a deadline. Staying focused on a goal can be like a shot of adrenaline into your life. And as a deadline approaches, say, just in time for another New Year’s resolution to be made, you’ll work as hard as you possibly can to achieve your goal. Always map out your plan of action. That way, if someone asks you to work on something that does not align with your goal, you’ll have a way to discuss it. Should you work on something else and if you do, how much time will that set you back?