how to write (and keep) new year’s resolutions

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Some people think that resolutions are cliché, but I love taking the time to really think about, and physically write down, my goals and hopes for the upcoming year.

After the excitement of the Christmas season subsides, we’re left with the realisation that the coldest, darkest, and dreariest days of winter are still to come.

To me, this seems like the perfect time to start planning, researching, and dreaming! So here are a few tips on how to write (and keep) New Year’s resolutions.


1. Create categories. I find it helpful to create category headings, and then come up with four or five goals/hopes for each. My categories usually include: HEALTH, HOME, TRAVEL, FOOD, PERSONAL, WORK, HOBBIES, MONEY, and WILDCARD.

2. Dream big – in small chunks. Think specific, realistic, sustainable, and break your big dreams down into manageable bite-sized morsels. For instance: Want to “be a full-time musician”? That’s a great end goal – but break it down into smaller resolutions like: “practice my instrument for 2 hours every day” + “Book at least one paid gig a week” + “Create a press kit” + “Build a website”, etc. You’re more likely to act on these smaller points, because they’re less daunting and easier to action.

3. Write and review. Keep your resolutions in plain sight, or somewhere they can easily be reviewed. I keep mine in my bullet journal so I can jot down ideas, or notes on my progress. Last year, for instance, one of my resolutions was to do more camping, so I collected information on good campsites I’d discovered. This simple action transforms dreams into concrete plans, and helps you to see, at a glance, how far you’ve come.

4. Sharing is caring. It’s a great idea to share your list with your partner, friends, or family – these people can help you to achieve your goals. If your loved ones don’t know what you’re trying to achieve, they can’t help you do it. Your friends can help you eat healthier by inviting you over for a home cooked tagine instead of out for pizza. If you’re an aspiring minimalist, maybe your family will give you theatre tickets for your birthday instead of more stuff you don’t need. Sharing your goals will also help keep you accountable. So, use your support network instead of trying to go it alone.

5. Don’t set your goals in stone. Don’t be afraid to “amend” your resolutions. If after a few months you feel like losing 2lbs is just too strenuous on your health/lifestyle and not sustainable, then tailor your goal to 1.5lbs per week. It’s better to be flexible and reach an achievable goal than give up on an unrealistic one.

6. Review last year’s list. If you have a copy of last year’s goals, have a read-through to see what worked, what didn’t, and why. Do you still want the same things? Maybe some of your resolutions are no longer relevant? This is actually a really fun exercise, and can be a very entertaining way to begin the new year. Oli and I have started doing this, and it’s interesting to see how many of our resolutions we realised, how many absolutely tanked, and how many we really just didn’t care about anymore.

7. It never works . . . until it does. No matter how many times you’ve failed in the past, this really might be the year that you do quit smoking (Oli did, this year!); or become self-employed (I’m two years and counting); or start a blog (like my friend Chris has recently done). Just because it didn’t work last time doesn’t mean that it won’t this time. Use your past failures as case studies, and learn from them.

8. Don’t beat yourself up. Maybe instead of losing 10lbs, you gained 5? No one is judging you. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, think of all the things you have already achieved, and be grateful. Resolutions are only meant to be improvements to a version of yourself that you already love.

9. Cherish your victories. At the end of this year, I was a little disappointed that I hadn’t visited Switzerland, gone ziplining, or lost 20lbs. But when I sat down and read through my list of 2017 resolutions, I was actually really surprised at how many things I had achieved. I took for granted my successes because once they’d been tickets off my list, they became old news. This year, I have read at least 2 books a month, created (and not killed) an office garden, minimised leftover food waste, started playing squash, and gone camping. Recognise the battles you win – not just the ones you lose.

10. Have fun, and be fearless. 2017 has taught us (for better or worse) that anything is possible. So best of luck, and enjoy the ride.

Next week I’ll be posting my own personal 2018 resolutions – so check back for some corkers! :p

What’s your craziest or most important resolution? Tell us about your big dreams for 2018 in the comments below!

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