Your New Year’s Resolutions Are Broken

There are two things you need to do right now to fix them and make them work for you

I hear people making New Year’s Resolutions every single year that flat out won’t work.

People tell themselves that they are going to exercise every day or lose all the weight they didn’t lose during their last New Year’s Resolution.

These promises are empty and the outcomes are unlikely.


Two reasons.

The New Year’s Resolutions people make:

  1. Are not “lifestyle” resolutions, but “challenge” resolutions
  2. Are not long-term and actionable

Let me tell you how to fix your resolutions.

Lifestyle Resolutions

Accomplishing anything of significance takes time, effort, and dedication with a long-term outcome in mind.

Losing weight doesn’t happen with a 28-day-cleanse or working out 3 days a week to start the year.

These are “challenges,” but the goal of challenges should be to form habits that become a part of your lifestyle. If forming lifestyle habits is not the goal, your resolutions will fall apart.

Want to lose weight? Sign up for a race (even if you are out of shape now) then join a running group to help you train for it. Ask the people in your running group what they eat to prepare for races, and slowly start to fill your fridge with the items they recommend.

This is one example of a lifestyle change resolution.

It is something that happens over time to make your desired outcome come true. It is less about challenging yourself for the month of January and evaluating yourself (which will leave you disappointed), but rather it is about looking ahead to where you want to be and making slow and steady progress.

One more example so you know this is not just another weight loss blog.

Want to get promoted at work this year? Look to prove your value in a long-term, sustainable way.

Talk with your boss about your goals and plans, and ask what you need to do to get where you’d like to be. Let the feedback be your guide towards the promotion you’re after. This way, you’re setting a collaborative roadmap, and similar to training for a race, you have an aim for success that is macro instead of micro.

Long-term, actionable resolutions

Coming into a new year should be motivating, but what happens when that initial motivation goes away?

When you challenge yourself to set long-term goals, you give yourself the opportunity to mess up a few times and still get to where you want to be. It’s much better than the all-too-common, “I didn’t work out last week so I think my resolution is over” feeling.

Let’s say you’d like to set a financial goal for yourself.

Some people say, “I want to go out to eat twice a week or less to save money.” This is a terrible resolution. As soon as you eat out three times in a week, you lose and there is no going back.

A better resolution would be, “I’d like to have x amount of money in my bank account by the end of the year.” This is a long-term goal that allows you to set actionable timelines along the way.

If you know how much you want to have at the end of the year, you can then plan what you’ll have to make/spend each month leading up to that moment.

This means that you’re allowed to go on a shopping spree every now and then; your resolution won’t be broken by one splurge. It is a long-term goal that you are taking action toward every day, week, and month.

Here is how a better resolution could look:


Have x amount of money in my bank account by the end of the year

High level action Items:

Make a monthly budget based on my income and evaluate how I did each month

Tactical action items:

Eat at restaurants twice a week or less

Spend only x amount of money per month on items that aren’t “necessities.” Examples being: new clothes/shoes or daily soda/coffee (even if this is a “necessity” for you, could you do a medium instead of a large at Starbucks? Could you do a coffee instead of a latte?)

This is just one example of how determining a large, overarching goal and creating an action plan to get there is important. Decide where you want to be, then just like Google Maps, determine the best route and take it.

It is not easy to make New Year’s resolutions that will actually work. It’s hard. This is why no one does it.

But if you actually want to accomplish your goals this year, here’s how to do it in two sentences:

  1. Make long-term, actionable resolutions that change your lifestyle, not just your immediate actions.
  2. Make it happen.

And if you’d like help creating great resolutions, don’t hesitate to reach out. I’d love to help you get on a path to a better you.

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About kwillkom

Founder, keynote speaker, author at Action Packed Leadership. I'm on a mission to help young people become the best version of themselves.

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