How to Make New Years Resolutions You’ll Keep

As New Years Eve approaches, it’s time to create our New Years resolutions. Often people give up on these resolutions about two weeks into the year. Some people hold on longer, but few follow through with their plan for the whole year.

This year we’re gonna change that. You’re gonna change that!

If you could succeed at any New Years resolution this year, what would you decide to do?

New Years resolution

Yes, some goals are a bit impractical. Yes, some are not likely to come true. I’d love to make a million dollars this year, but it’s not realistic to use that as my goal. But that doesn’t mean I can’t create really awesome New Years resolutions that are realistic. And you can too.

While you figure out what you’d like your goals for the year to be, I’m going to talk about why some people don’t reach their New Years goals.

Why Don’t You Follow Through?

Why don’t people follow through with their resolutions? Some people say it’s because the goal isn’t your own, but rather one you believe you should make – for instance you vow to loose weight, but you only say that because other people tell you you should. Other reasons you may not stick with a resolution is because the goal is too vague. You may really want to loose weight, but you aren’t clear as to how much you want to loose. Or maybe your goal is too large to start with. Over the course of the year you may want to loose 20lbs, but you fail to see the steps you take as success because you’re focused on the number 20 instead of the process.

In order to make a New Years resolution you’ll stick to, you need to be clear about what you actually want, and why it’s important to you.

A resolution is a firm decision to do or not do something. Think about that a moment. Let that definition sink in. A resolution should be important to you. If it’s important, you should be committed to it. But don’t worry if you’re not committed yet. It’s possible to shift your commitment level in order to follow through with your goals.

Commitment is a state of being dedicated to something. Dedication is single minded loyalty to your goal.

Single minded loyalty. I think this is where people really lose sight of their goals and resolutions. Single minded often leaves people thinking go big or go home. It’s often viewed as doing one thing to the exclusion of all else. That’s not sustainable.

Instead of single minded I like to think of it as single brained.


Make Your Brain Work For you, Instead of Against You

There are three main parts to your brain, the reticular activating system, RAS, (deals in actions; fight-or-flight), the limbic system (deals in emotions), and the Neo-cortex (visual brain).

In order to pursue a goal with a single brain, you want to activate your Neo-cortex. Don’t worry it’s not as hard as you might imagine. But first, relax. The more stressed you are, the harder it is. Stress lets your RAS know you may be in danger, so it over rides the rest of your brain in an effort to be ready to keep you safe. In order to make changes and work toward new goals, you need to relax, at least a little.

nature photography of river near trees

So, let’s say you’ve relaxed. Now it’s time to turn on your Neo cortex.

Take a few moments with each question, one at a time. What do you want your resolution to be? Why is this important to you? Where will this happen? How will you know you’ve reached your goal?

What steps will you take to reach that goal? Of the many possible steps you can take, what one is most important to you?

What skills do you already have to reach that goal? What are some other skills you may need?

These questions help bring you farther into your visual thinking. Here I’d like to invite you to amplifying your success even farther.

Visualizing the Right Way

A key way to do this is through visualization. How you visualize helps determine the level of success you’ll bring to your goal. It’s important that you visualize succeeding at your goal as clearly as possible, as though you’re watching yourself in a movie. Create this movie with as many visual details as possible, but no information from your other senses.  Your other senses turn on the other portions of your brain. Right now you only want your visual brain focused on completing your New Years resolution successfully.

Take a moment and get comfortable. Do you have your goal in mind? Now just suppose it’s one year from now and you’ve successfully completed your goal. What does that look like?

woman standing on pink yoga mat meditating

How have you changed in this time? What does the expression on your face look like, how do you walk? What are you able to do now that you’ve completed your goal?

As you watch the future you being successful at your goal, the future You is able to turn  and tell you how you were able to achieve your goal. What do you tell yourself?

Bring it All Together

You’re back in the present now. It’s time to create a plan. The previous visualization should have given you an idea or two to start with. Write those down. Next think of some of the many other ways you might work toward your goal. Write them down. Right now write down all ideas, you don’t need to use them, this is brainstorming only.

Now that you have a few ideas, which one do you think would be the best one to start with? When will you start?

When will you take these steps? When will you complete them? What’s the next step? And the next?

Once you’ve created your plan, I’d like to invite you to look at the skills you already have. What skills will help you achieve your goal? What new skills do you need to acquire or develop? Do you need to adjust your plan to fit in skill development?

How do you feel about your plan? How committed to working on it are you? What are some of the ways you could be more committed?


It can take a lot of thought and energy to create a detailed plan and work through your visualizations. I’d really like to take a moment and acknowledge you for the work you’re putting into your resolution this year. Take a deep breath in, and out. How does that feel?

Now that you’ve created a plan and have visualized yourself being successful, it’s time to take action. When you look at your steps, what are some of the ways you can begin? What would be the most fun way to begin? It really is about the journey, not the destination. You’ll be a lot more likely to reach your end goal if you enjoy yourself where you are now. If the journey is fun, you’re more likely to stick with it.

This process works to help you create plans for almost any goal. If you work through them, success is a lot more likely to be yours.

A life coach can help you create goals you want to complete and help you stay committed to completing them. If you’d like to learn more, contact me or book an appointment. For the rest of December and January. I’m offering free mini-sessions. These sessions are 15-20 minutes long and are used to help develop your goals. Anyone who completes a mini-session will receive a 10% off coupon for their first paid coaching session.

I’m looking forward to hearing from you!


I love this! I didn’t know all about the brain chemistry that goes into achieving the new years resolutions and goals, but it makes sense because I think a lot of athletes also train like this. Thanks for the post.


I find it all so fascinating and it really explains why some people succeed (and keep on succeeding) and others don’t.


Great insight. Goals are easier because it is something to work on. Everyone should have a list of five goals as their resolution.


Oh great insight! Thanks so much for sharing!


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: