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New Year’s Resolutions – Same Procedure as Last Year?

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New Year's Resolutions

Do you have New Year’s Resolutions? And if so, are they the same as last year’s?

If you answered the first question with No, you might want to start finding and planning your goals. It is worth it. Of course, you can do this at any time of the year and the best time to start with your goals is always now.

If you answered the first question with Yes and the second one with No, chances are you have reached your last year’s resolution. Congratulations in this case. Well done and you are certainly one of the few people who stick to and achieve their New Year’s Resolutions. Or, you have not achieved your resolutions but you have a different goal now. This is also fine. Circumstances can change.

If you have answered both questions with Yes you obviously have the same New Year’s Resolution as last year. Don’t worry, you are not alone.

Same New Year’s Resolution Every Year?

Sure, you might start the year with all the best ambitions and highest motivation but then this fades away and you become a prisoner of your daily routine again.

What can you do if you have the same New Year’s Resolution every year? Let’s start with the definition. For our purpose a New Years’ Resolution is a SMART goal with a well-defined outcome.

So, if your goal is to live healthier, this is certainly a good idea, but it is not a SMART goal. It is more kind of a habit goal. Or, at least you can derive habits from your goal to live healthier. These healthy habits can be for example to run 10 miles per week, to meditate for 15 minutes every morning or to get at least seven hours of sleep every night. So, also for these kinds of goals, try to make it as concrete as possible.

SMART New Year’s Resolutions

Let’s concentrate on SMART outcome goals here. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic and Time-bound. For our New Year’s Resolutions, time-bound obviously is within the coming year. If we have achieved our goal or not if defined by the measurability. That means we have clear criteria about when we have achieved our goal.

Let’s have a look at a few examples.

Well-formed goal statement: I will have finished a marathon by the end of the year.

Criteria: I finished a marathon.


Well-formed goal statement: I quit smoking on New Year’s Day.

Criteria: I will not have smoked a single cigarette until the end of the year.


Problematic goal statement: I want to reduce stress.

Criteria: Unclear and vague

Common New Year’s Resolutions

Some common New Year’s Resolutions are the following:

  • Reduce stress
  • Spend more time with family and friends
  • Live healthier
  • Reduce weight
  • Save some money

All these are good and noble intentions. But they are just intentions, not goals. How can we make goals out of these wishes. Here is one possible way to do that.



Habit Goal

Outcome Goal

Reduce stress

I will not check my emails after work anymore.

I will meditate for five minutes every morning.

This can be real, measurable symptoms.

But it can also be something related to stress, i.e. something you will be able to do, because of the reduced stress. For example, this can be five hours per week you can spend on your hobby.

Spend more time with family and friends

I arrange a weekly night out with my best friends.

Having an institutionalized, scheduled weekly meeting on your calendar, where you and your friends meet most of the time can well be an outcome goal.

Live healthier

I will run five miles a week and replace soft drinks by water.

This is quite specific to each person. It might be something like to finish a half-marathon by the end of the year because this might correlate to your fitness.

Reduce weight

I will run five miles a week and replace soft drinks by water.

By the end of the year I will weigh 176 lbs / 80 kg.

Save some money

I will not buy my expansive morning coffee at the coffee shop anymore but bring my own from home.

By the end of the year I will have saved 5,000 USD / Euro extra.

Please note that this is just one possible way to look at this. Also, habit goals can support your outcome goals.

OK, but Why?

It is important to have goals. At the same time you should know why a specific goal is important for you. Quite often your ultimate Why is a feeling.

Why would you like to live healthier? Because I would like to feel better? Why would you like to feel better? Because this improves my overall quality of life. Why would you have a better quality of life? Because this will make me happier.

In this case, happiness is the ultimate goal. However, it can also be security or whatever is important to you. And your Why should be aligned with your values.

Define Your Goals

A clear definition is a good start, even more than that, for your goal it is an absolutely essential start.

If you are in a relationship and both partners agree on the relationship goal to spend more romantic time together this might mean something completely different for each of the lovers. For example, Paul might think that they will go for a dinner once a week. But for Eve this does not even count as romantic time. For her it means to spend more time cuddling and kissing.

What can cause serious misunderstanding in a relationship is also problematic if you set goals for yourself. You might end up to trick yourself and order a salad next December just to live a bit healthier.

Your New, New Year’s Resolution

Now it is your turn. Go ahead and define your new New Year’s Resolution. Consider what is possible. You will see, this is a lot. Open your mind and don’t assume.

If you need some more help with your New Year’s Resolutions, check our our free VidaGoals app or our free goal-setting PDF eBook.

Happy goal setting.

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