The New Year always comes to us with a flurry of brand new ideas, good wishes and new perspectives. As we are placing our calendars in the home, we also want to wash away the old and undesirable things. It is often the time to make resolutions and we hope that these resolutions could carry us through the new year. We often feel the fire of motivation for a few weeks and eventually, the flame starts to flutter and die. We are less motivated to do things in our resolutions and our gym membership fees continue to leech our finances, while we don’t have the slightest intention to go there.

In fact, very few people can maintain their New Year’s resolutions and make them new habits for the rest of their lives. They often find that real life obstacles seem to get in the way and it is very easy for them to get distracted. Eventually, they need to cancel their memberships and return to their old lifestyle. While the thoughts and intentions behind these resolutions are honourable, we should be realistic on whether they are workable and sustainable. Instead of resolutions, we may need to choose to strive goals, that are much more actionable, measurable and tangible.

In reality, our resolutions are just unattainable and lofty objectives and we fail to assess whether we really want to achieve them. It is easy to utter something on December 31st, but we fail to think whether we will be similarly motivated on May 1st. Our resolutions are also often lack in detail, they are shrouded in generalities and vagueness. It is much easier to become less motivated to something vague. Due to its ambitious nature, resolutions can become quite overwhelming, because we have no real plan to sustain them. Proclaiming those positive oaths may sound like a great idea, but we don’t really think how we could achieve them.

Common New Year resolutions may include get out of debt, spend more time with family members, quit smoking, lose weight and exercise more. As we can see, these are vague goals and kind of blah in general. Goals should be teeming with details that are measurable and much more focused. Plans have built in accountability and we could do them deliberately. We could become very sure that we will attain them. Instead of uttering quick resolutions in December 31st, we should start to make plans on what we should do, preferably starting from November.

We could start with some basic details. For example, people who want to quit smoking, should already start to consult their physicians and already attend a program at least a few weeks before January 1st. People who want to lose weight should already start a low-calorie holiday season and control their daily intake, despite the availability of meals. People who want to exercise more should already start initial exercise sessions in November, such as running twice or at least once a week for about 3 miles. People who want to get out of debt should have a plan to spend the holiday season without acquiring more credit card debt.