How to Make New Year Resolutions You’ll Actually Keep!

Start on January 1

New year resolutions get a bad rap and I, AB, believe this is unfair. Sure, you do not have to wait till January 1 to make changes in your life, but I find great comfort in a clean slate- be it a new year, a new quarter, month, week, heck, every new morning!

In defence of new year resolutions, many of us fail at keeping to our resolutions because we have been going about them wrong. I say this without judgment because I used to be confused about the process myself & now that I’m better at it, how about I try to help you? 🙂

So. Let’s do this by looking at common mistakes we make when making New Year resolutions, and helpful alternatives. Got it? Got it. Okay, let’s go!

5 Reasons Why Making New Year Resolutions Sucks ( For You) Click To Tweet

  1. You wait till New Year’s Eve to make your Resolutions

Let’s be real. Christmas is a really terrible time for introspection. There’s a lot going on, people to see, so much to do, is it really the best time to assess your year? Start thinking about the year you’ve had, now. Okay, there were some low points but there’s a lot of good too. Dig deep. What did you do really well this year? How can we do more of this in the year ahead? What is your big dream? What changes can you make in your lifestyle, to take you closer to it?

  1. You have a list of goals not resolutions.

Your goals are the things you want to achieve, and your resolutions are the things you can do or change to take you to your goals. First of all, you NEED to be specific about your goals. This will help you drill down to your resolutions, that is, the process that will take you to your goals. “I want to lose weight in 2017” is not a goal. Not really. “I am going to lose 10 kg” sounds more like it. How about? Oh, I am going to lose 10kg before my sister’s wedding in June. You can’t stop there o. How are you going to lose this 10kg before June 16? Realistically speaking? You know that you can’t do a crash course in May. Instead, you could join the gym or commit to running 5km three times a week. You could cut out soda. You could try the Whole 30 everyone’s been talking about. THESE are the resolutions to help you towards your goals.

Are these resolutions?
Are these resolutions?

You know what breaking down the pathway to your goals does? It helps you identify your motivation, the resolve in your resolution. It thinks ahead for a time when the ginger is gone. When 2017 meets you, and you remember you have a goal to lose weight, you don’t need to spend the whole of January and February thinking about what your first step should be. You have already decided on your first few steps.

  1. You have like 50 New Year resolutions

They say it takes 21 days on average to imbibe a habit, and even then, that is not very easy, to make ONE thing a habit. You have 365 days/52 weeks in a year. Life is not just going to give you the time off to work on yourself. If your list of New Year resolutions is mighty long, you need to look at it again. Keep everything in mind, but identify which changes are the most important to you.


It’s super super ambitious to tell yourself that you’re going to change 30 things about yourself in one year. It’s good that you have a list. Come back to it later. But those are not your actual Resolutions. Realisations maybe. You can also have a bucketlist of events/ things you want to do- but resolutions? Life changes? Take it easy.

  1. Your resolutions are not realistic

See this time as an opportunity to think hard and clear about what you want to achieve in the year to come. I’m an optimist. I believe you can achieve anything you set your mind to, but some things take time. If you say you want to travel abroad two times in 2017 (this is a goal, not a resolution by the way) what are your finances looking like right now? Can you save up for it? Is it realistic for you to put aside 100k a month as savings for travel? (This could be a resolution towards the travel goal)  Are you anticipating a new job or some other form of income that can make it happen? If not, please push that to your list of wishes for the new year. Pray on it, and it could still happen! Realistically though? How can you hold yourself accountable for something that’s not within your power? If your resolution to save 100k every month is not realistic, you are going to fail at it, and when you do, you feel discouraged whereas, it should not have been on your list in the first place. If your resolution is not something you can map towards, it should not be on your list.

You NEED to be realistic about your new year resolutions! Click To Tweet

  1. You are too hard on yourself

If by January 10, you haven’t done anything on your list or you have done things you PROMISED you wouldn’t do, please don’t beat yourself up. It happens. Life happens. You are human. This doesn’t mean resolutions suck and are a waste of time. Through your written resolutions, you express your vision for yourself in the new year. Think of them as your guide. Go back to your resolution sheet from time to time. Refer to it every month, every quarter or when you feel like your life is a little too scattered. Don’t look at it like “oh my gosh, I’m such a failure” or “LOL what was I thinking?”. Be positive. Think long-term. Think, now that I am here, how can I take action this month on this thing I said I would do?

By January 2, I lost all my enthusiasm for this year in a small accident/ near accident with my car. January was my worst month of the year, no doubt. What really helped me get back on track, was being able to refer to my good intentions and plans, and recalibrate, especially at a time when I could not see positives. I’m not saying I was perfect this year, I’m just proud that even in my failings, I did try.

Life happens. You are human. Don't be so hard on yourself, love. Click To Tweet

You don’t have to share your goals and resolutions with anyone else, but I urge you to make them for yourself. Welcome every opportunity to self-examine as you go along, and be real with yourself. Allow yourself to think big, and give yourself the time and flexibility, to execute. I have no doubt in my mind that you can do it!

What are your thoughts? Do you usually make new year resolutions? Have I convinced you to give new year resolutions another try?  If this was a helpful post, share it with someone! 🙂




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3 Replies to “How to Make New Year Resolutions You’ll Actually Keep!”

  1. Thanks for this post, AB. I used to make new yr resolutions when I was younger (which I have just learnt were actually ‘goals’), bt gave up on dem cos I hardly achieved any.
    Now, I’m inspired to make proper realistic resolutions. thank u fr dis timely post.
    Merry Christmas nd happy new year in advance.

  2. Really I love this. I had been thinking about it previously. Personally, my new year resolution had been planned since September, 2016 and I have been repeating it in my head, getting ready to implement it. Amazing ideas here.

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