Don’t Just Set New Year Resolutions, Achieve it With These 5 Steps

The 2018 New Year will be upon us soon. For some of us, the week leading up to the New Year may be filled with a flurry of hectic activities like reunions, food indulgence, shopping hunts, closing projects at work and preparations for school.

Some of us may also spend some time in a well-deserved vacation or year-end break, which is one of the best opportunities for reflecting on where our journey has taken us thus far.

Beginnings are one of the best times for us to start anew. Remember the times you’ve moved house, shifted school/jobs, or embarked on a new obsession in life? It felt good to leave the past and old habits behind, and look forward with fresh eyes and a renewed motivation to achieve what we want. A genuine intention to feel good or do good is why it is highly popular to set New Year Resolutions before the New Year begins.

So, what are you waiting for? Read further to hear our advice on 5 steps to help you set effective New Year Resolutions.

Step 1: Determine Your Goals

Resolutions are basically personal goals. If “goals” sound too serious or scary, think of them as “improvements” to your life. If you’re reading this article, it means you’re ready to improve and move forward in some area of your life.

Here are some core questions to ask yourself and help you determine the goals worthy of achieving:
  • What are the most important goals that I would like to achieve right now? 
  • What do I wish to be spending most of my time on this year? 
  • Which activity sparks the greatest joy for me, and that I would want to focus more on? 
  • Who do I hope to become by the end of this year?
Don’t just create resolutions because everyone is doing so. The worst thing to do is to copy someone else’s list or be influenced by what people around you want you to be doing.

Make them personal; dream big if you want to. Knowing what you want, at the very core, is one of the key factors that make your resolution work.

Step 2: Know Your Why

Many of us set vague resolutions and changes we are looking forward to, and forget to look at the benefits they would bring. Perhaps:
  • If you’re a smoker, you may want to quit smoking. 
  • If you’re overweight, you may aim to lose weight. 
  • If you’re a workaholic, perhaps you resolve to work less and spend more time with the family.

Let’s go one step further and look at the benefits, in other words, know the reason “why” you are setting this resolution.

For example, what is the benefit of quitting smoking? Identify the benefit that is true for you – are you aiming to be less fatigued, want to create a better environment for your family or thinking of improving your overall health?

By knowing your “why” and writing down the benefits that you can relate to, your resolutions will be more personal to you; it will seem more real and you can really own it.

Step 3: Visualize the Results

There’s a saying that goes, “Begin with the end in mind” and this is exactly what we are advocating here.

Research shows that 65 percent of us are visual learners – which means we learn and absorb new knowledge through visual cues or presentations. Embarking on a new resolution is definitely something new to learn!

So, further to writing your resolutions down, collect images of how the end result would look like. It could be a picture cut out from a magazine, or a drawing or illustration. It may also help to create a Vision Board of your 2018 resolutions. Get a cork board or a piece of cardboard and stick the images of your goals on this board, then display it where you can see it every day. This way, you can remind yourself 365 days a year about the improved you or the resolution you want to achieve by the end of the year.

Step 4: Plan for Change

Now that you know your whats, whys and how it would look like when you reach there, the next step is to create a foolproof plan. Yes, the keyword here is “foolproof” as we want it to prevent us from falling back on those die-hard old habits.

Begin by taking a good look at your current habits and see what changes are needed in line with your New Year Resolutions. If your habit is to lie on the couch bingeing on drama episodes, your new resolution of getting fit may require a major change in habit.

Write down your step-by-step action to pursue your New Year Resolution. For your resolution to get fit, it could look something like this:

Step 1: Identify suitable exercise (e.g. jogging)
Step 2: Plan for regular exercise time (e.g. jog for 30 minutes after work every day)
Step 3: Join a support group (e.g. jog with other runners on Kuala Lumpur’s car-free day)
Step 4: Identify milestones (e.g. lose 5 kg in first 3 months, 10 kg by 6 months, etc)
Step 5: Set up a suitable challenge (e.g. sign up for first 10km run before July 2018)

Breaking down your big goal into small mini steps makes it more achievable and less overwhelming in the long run.

Step 5: Commit to it, and Enjoy the Process!

The only way New Year Resolutions can work is to be willing to commit to work on them every day for as long as you could. So, why not make it a fun and enjoyable project to embark on?

First things first, we need to realize that commitment will require us to say ‘no’ to a few things, perhaps some old habits and previous patterns. Think of what temptations and inner thoughts that could possibly come up prevent you from achieving your goal? Learn to say ‘no’ to them, and say ‘NO’ firmly. It will get better with practice, I promise. It will also help to keep your images of success (i.e. your vision board) in mind all the time.

Next, who is to say you can’t make the process enjoyable? If you appreciate group support, look for some friends to encourage you in your new habits. You could also throw in some small rewards or celebrations when you’ve achieved certain milestones in your resolutions. Telling people about your newfound achievements (maybe a trusted friend/coach or via social media) can also create a high, if that’s what would motivate you even further.

Essentially, New Year Resolutions are about is committing to a long-term goal until you achieve the results you want. The important thing, as outlined in the article above, is to be fully clear about what you want and why you want it, as well as how you are going to achieve it.

There you have it! Get started today on achieving your New Year Resolutions. If you find yourself stumbling your way, check back on this post and use this step-by-step guide on how to make your New Year Resolutions work. Happy new year!


Contributed by Ai Jou Chuah.

Ai Jou is a writer, communicator and book-lover. She is passionate about the written word and developing one’s potential to the fullest. She believes that creativity is in everyone; having the courage and freedom to express ourselves creatively will help to shape a better and more wholesome world. A PR and communications specialist by day, she also blogs in her spare time. Ai Jou is the co-author of the book, Love is All About You!, which has touched lives around the globe.


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