Ask Amanda: New Year's Resolutions


Q) How do you make a resolution you can actually stick with? Last year, I didn't even make it to February before giving up. I really need to make a change this year, but don't know how to get started.

With only 8% of the population actually succeeding in achieving their resolutions, you're definitely not alone in your struggles. Over half of the population does make it past the month mark with their resolutions, so there's hope for you yet!

Follow these steps to nail your New Year's Resolution and join the quarter of the population who sustains their resolution past six months.

Be Specific

Most people make resolutions that are too vague, just like the top resolution in 2015: lose weight.

It needs to be more specific in order to develop a plan for making this resolution a reality. How will you lose weight? What will you do to make that happen?

A more specific version: I will join a gym. I will eat healthier meals at home


Make it Measurable

You can get even more specific by making your resolution measurable. Specify the frequency and duration for the resolution behavior.

Using the goal to lose weight, you could measure how often and for how long you will work out at the gym. You could also specify which meals you will make healthier.

I will do strength training two days a week at home and cardio two days a week at the gym.

I will eat a healthy breakfast at home and pack a healthy lunch to eat at work. 


Think Positive

Another fundamental reason resolutions fail is because they only focus on something you will stop doing or that will no longer happen in your life. Negative resolutions include: quitting smoking, not drinking soda, or losing weight. By negative or positive, consider whether the goal ADDS or DETRACTS from your life.

When defining your resolutions, think of a positive goal that adds specific and measurable resolution behaviors to your life.

Think about all that you will be doing in order to lose weight:

I will drink more water and green tea instead of soda.

I will exercise three days a week for an hour.

I will eat primarily vegetables at dinner.

Defining your resolution in this way will help you envision the steps it will take to accomplish any goal.



Once you have a specific, measurable, and positive resolution, make sure it is realistic for your schedule and your family. Ask yourself, Is it livable?

Can you really hit the gym five days a week for an hour? Is it realistic to start eating healthy meals every day, seven days a week?

Try starting out with a smaller, more manageable frequency or duration. Do that for a couple of weeks while you work out the kinks. Then, around mid-January or by February you can increase how often or for how long you work out.[fruitful_sep]


What resolutions are you setting this year?

Download my free Goal Setting Success Guide to nail your New Year's Resolutions in 2017.

Thanks for taking the time,



Meet The Author

Contributing Writer

Amanda is a licensed counselor with a practice in Westfield, just north of Indianapolis. She counsels worry warts, distant couples & also offers online coaching packages for busy moms who want to have it all on their terms. She lives with her husband, two boys, and not-to-be-ignored cat Sphinx.

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