Maintaining New Year’s resolutions – strategies for success

As we find ourselves swiftly advancing into 2024, a significant number of individuals are diligently sticking to the New Year’s resolutions they set just a couple of weeks ago. At the same time, there are those among us who have already faced setbacks, succumbing to the allure of temptation.

According to a recent YouGov survey (December 2023), 16% of the population intended to make New Year’s resolutions for 2024. Notably, younger individuals show a higher inclination towards setting goals for the coming year, with 29% of those aged 18-24 and 22% of those aged 25-49 expressing their intent. Gender differences are also observed, with 19% of women indicating their resolution plans compared to 13% of men. In a subsequent survey conducted on January 3, 2024, findings revealed that 25% of the 2,343 participants sampled had committed to one or more New Year’s resolutions for 2024. To explore the data variations across different demographics, you can follow the link below.

Unsurprisingly, the top resolution for the majority is a commitment to enhance physical fitness, with 56% expressing this as their goal. Additionally, common pledges include weight loss (45%) and dietary improvements (42%).

Looking back at last year’s resolutions, the survey shows that 31% of people kept all of their resolutions, 50% had some success, and only 16% didn’t stick to any. In comparison to 2017, data indicates that even six days into the year, one in five people had already struggled with keeping their resolutions. This suggests an ongoing difficulty for many in sticking to their New Year’s resolutions throughout the year.

Keeping New Year’s resolutions requires a thoughtful approach and practical strategies to sustain motivation and overcome challenges. Here are some tips to help you stay committed to your resolutions:

  • Focus on the “Why”: Reflect on the reasons behind your resolutions. Understanding the “why” behind your goals can enhance motivation and reinforce your commitment.
  • Set realistic goals: Ensure your resolutions are achievable and align with your capabilities. Avoid overly ambitious or vague resolutions. Break larger goals into smaller, more manageable steps. This makes the process less overwhelming and allows you to celebrate small victories along the way.
    Be specific about what you want to achieve – clearly define your resolutions. Vague goals like “getting fit” are less effective than specific ones like “going for a 30-minute walk every morning”. Apply the SMART criteria (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) when setting goals. This framework helps in creating clear and actionable goals.

  • Create a plan: Develop a step-by-step plan outlining how you will achieve your resolutions. Having a structured approach helps you stay organised and focused on your goals. This plan should include both short-term and long-term milestones.
  • Incorporate enjoyable activities: Choose activities related to your resolutions that you genuinely enjoy. When you find pleasure in the process, you are more likely to stay committed.
  • Identify obstacles: Anticipate potential challenges and obstacles that may arise. Develop strategies to overcome these hurdles, ensuring you are better prepared to face difficulties head-on.
  • Track your progress: Regularly assess your progress to stay motivated. Use a journal, app, or any method that works for you to monitor your achievements and adjust your plan as needed.
  • Seek support: Share your resolutions with friends, family, or a supportive community. Having a network of people who encourage and understand your goals can provide valuable motivation.
  • Build healthy habits: Focus on forming positive habits that align with your resolutions. Consistency in small, daily actions can lead to significant, lasting changes over time.
  • Celebrate small wins: Acknowledge and celebrate your successes, even the small ones. Recognising progress boosts confidence and reinforces your commitment to the resolution.
  • Learn from setbacks: If you encounter challenges or setbacks, view them as learning opportunities. Understand the reasons behind the setback and adjust your plan accordingly.
  • Stay flexible: Life is unpredictable, and circumstances may change. If you encounter setbacks or find that your initial plan is not working, be open to adjusting your strategies rather than abandoning the resolution altogether.
  • Visualise success: Create a mental image of achieving your goals. Visualisation can enhance motivation and reinforce your commitment to the desired outcome.
  • Reward yourself: Establish a system of rewards for reaching milestones. Treat yourself when you achieve specific targets to create positive reinforcement.
  • Practice self-compassion: Understand that setbacks are a normal part of the journey. Be kind to yourself, learn from experiences, and refocus on your goals. Acknowledge that everyone faces challenges, and a momentary lapse does not define your overall progress.
  • Stay mindful: Regularly check in with yourself to assess your commitment and motivation. Mindfulness can help you stay connected to your resolutions and make conscious choices.
  • Achieving successful resolutions requires thoughtful planning, perseverance, and a positive mindset. Incorporating these strategies can enhance your chances of making lasting changes in the new year. These tips are intentionally brief, offering concise summaries. There is far more to learn for each strategy,, but please view these as the main headlines for a quick overview.

    YouGov (December 2023) What New Year’s resolutions are Britons making for 2024?
    YouGov survey results
    YouGov (December 2023) Have you made New Year’s Resolutions this year?

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Dave Lee

Dave Lee

Dave Lee is the co-founder of Amac, he continues to write and produce all our courses and you might even find him teaching you.

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