How to keep your New Year's resolutions

Making new year's resolutions list

Self-improvement doesn’t need to be dramatic—it simply needs to be thoughtful.

Four thousand years ago, Babylonians were said to have made the first New Year’s resolutions. Rather than vowing to exercise more or quit smoking, they crowned new kings or reaffirmed their loyalty to current ones.  Then came the Romans and their dual-faced god, Janus (January, anyone?), who simultaneously looked backwards at the year that just ended and forwards at the year ahead. Romans offered him sacrifices and promises of good behavior.

People have been annually self-reflecting and setting good intentions for a few millenniums. You’d think practice makes perfect, yet most Americans say they give up on their New Year’s resolutions by February—citing busy schedules or poor self-discipline as reasons why.

Are we lazy and unambitious? Not likely. People naturally tend toward self-improvement all year. How we set goals and think about success are key steps to keeping our New Year’s resolutions. Here’s how you can achieve something new in 2022.

Do what interests you

Easy, right? Overly ambitious resolutions, while admirable, are prone to failure. Setting the stakes too high can feel daunting, and the need to dramatically change your lifestyle to achieve those goals can derail your plans for success.

Instead, think of New Year’s resolutions as your opportunity to check in with yourself. Are there habits you’d like to keep? Hobbies you’d like to grow? Opportunities you’d like to explore?

Use these questions as the basis to make resolutions that feel meaningful, motivating, and exciting to work towards. You don’t need to revolutionize your life, but rather intentionally plan for positive changes within it.

It’s about the journey, not the destination

Be wary of the arrival fallacy: the idea that once you obtain something, you’ll be happier. While accomplishing goals does release feel-good hormones, the euphoria we feel from our success is short-lived.

Rather, find joy in your journey. It is, after all, where you’ll spend most of your time. Can your New Year’s resolutions be done with a friend, with a change of scenery, or with a community of like-minded people? You’re more likely to stick to your goals if you genuinely enjoy the process of accomplishing them.

In fact, mindfulness—the science-backed practice of living in the moment—helps people reduce stress, suspend judgement, and improve their overall wellness.

By shifting your focus from accomplishing your goal, to actively working towards it, you’ll be practicing a mindful approach to goal-setting that puts progress and personal development at the core of your success.

Create SMART goals 

One of the most common barriers to self-improvement is perfectionism: that nagging inner voice that minimizes your accomplishments while maximizing your standards. As a result, even your best efforts feel mediocre. 

SMART goals (that is: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals) help work around perfectionism by breaking your New Year’s resolutions down into smaller habits that are easier to mange.

Specific goals clearly outline what or why you want to accomplish something. Measurable goals have a way of tracking progress. Achievable goals are realistic. Relevant goals will be worth your attention. And time-bound goals keep a deadline in mind.

Take supporting your metabolic health, for example. A SMART approach can include SciMar NuPa Daily. With only 10 seconds of time commitment per day, adding SciMar NuPa Daily to your routine can boost your metabolism, strengthen your immunity, and improve your mood balance—helping you protect your future health today. Learn more about SciMar NuPa Daily here.