Effective New Year’s Resolutions

by | Dec 28, 2017


The Statistic Brain Research Institute reports that 41% of Americans usually make New Year’s Resolutions and about 9% of people report that they are successful achieving their resolutions. A pretty low success rate to be sure, but other research suggest that people who make resolutions are 10x more likely to achieve their goals as opposed to those who don’t make resolutions.

The most common resolutions relate to weight loss/healthier eating and other types of self-improvement followed by financial-related resolutions.

So, based on the above, making resolutions is helpful in terms of achieving progress, but most people don’t have much success with their resolutions.

Here’s the best tip I’ve heard related to how to achieve your resolutions.

Scott Adams, the creator of the comic strip “Dilbert” and author of a number of books says the following: “Losers have Goals. Winners have Systems.” Similarly, James Clear notes that “If you genuinely care about the goal, you’ll focus on the system.”

Those are great quotes and good advice on how to have success. If your goal is to lose weight, that isn’t going to happen on itself – you need a system! Instead of focusing on that goal – over which you have no direct control – create the system you are going to follow and focus daily on that system. The goal is to create habits that stick.

An example from Psychologist Adam Alter as quoted in Business Insider:

“Say you’re writing a book. Your goal might be to write the book and have it published. That’s all well and good,  but the way to ensure you’ll actually produce that book is to have a system for writing it. The system would be that in the morning every day, the first thing I do is write five-hundred words. It doesn’t matter if they’re good words or bad words, but a lot of people who write practice that sort of thing.”

Other good advice:

  • Don’t have too many resolutions. One at a time is best. More than three and you’re likely taking on too much.
  • Make your resolution tangible and capable of being measured.
  • Write them down. Talk to friends, family and co-workers about them. Don’t keep them secret.
  • Track your progress and reward yourself for success at various milestones.
  • If you hit roadblocks or stop making progress, don’t stop – recommit.


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