Making New Year Resolutions More Achievable
"Why do we even make resolutions, and can we stick with them?"

It’s that time of year where we are looking forward to a fresh start or towards something new that makes us feel better than we have been. Given the pandemic, there’s probably more we want to leave behind this year, than ever before. So, will you be making a new year’s resolution as part of the transition process from 2021 to 2022? Will it be more difficult than the year before considering we’re 24 months into the pandemic and perhaps not all the tools and amenities we’re accustomed to are available? Why do we even make resolutions, and can we stick with them?



Some Behavioural Science articles suggest that there are 2 reasons why we make new year’s resolutions:


1. Because we like to have long-term goals and find them challenging.

2. A new year offers the opportunity and the motive to make a change.


So, what is it about these two motivating factors that makes them a challenge?

Some professional opinions suggest that while we like to engage in long-term goals, we may not have the patience to wait for the long-term results. Quite often some of the resolutions focus on healthy eating or exercising. The expected results of either of those are not necessarily as instant as a text message, a 30 second commercial, or a 1-hour episode of “This Is Us” and as a result, we may become impatient as the results take longer to achieve.



The new year presents one of the most significant “time markers” of the year. While we have other time markers, for example, like birthdays, the new year is a larger, more social event that we can be part of, even during a pandemic where being social isn’t quite the same as it was a couple of years ago. The challenge with time markers is that they are just that – a stamp or a small slice of time where we transition from one time period to the next and often, we haven’t prepared for what to do before or after that transition happens in order to be successful. For instance, evaluating the habits we may want to change and setting a short-term, achievable plan before hand, while looking at post transition mitigation strategies might help.



So how do we overcome these challenges? One of the strategies I used as a soccer and hockey coach was to break down the game into smaller segments and that depended on what I wanted to achieve. From the season start, I didn’t know what the entire skill set of the team was, so I broke the game down into 15-minute segments for the players. If we were losing and had to come from behind, I would use a 5-minute segment strategy.

Break your goals down into smaller ones.

A similar strategy can be applied for our new year’s hopes. If it’s exercise, try small work-out routines (20 minutes) and change that as you progress. If it’s eating healthier, try eliminating one snack food at a time. The same can be said for our work and family goals.



Take some time to think of one thing you want to do better or different in the new year as it relates to work or family and what steps you might take to make it more achievable. Write that goal down along with 1-3 actions you can reasonably achieve on a regular basis and remember not to boil the ocean. Then leave it in all in a place where you can see it every day and measure yourself in a positive way. It’s not about punishing yourself as much as it is about celebrating whatever small wins you have and the progression to bigger ones. While you’re working towards your goals, remember to balance them out with other parts of your life. Share your success with close family and friends who will be happy to hear the news.


Wishing you great success and happiness in the new year!


This is an opinion article by Guido Piraino of  The Monthly Social Podcast. It may also be heard on The Path Radio Mix Online. You can read other opinion articles on the blog page.


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