How to Create Solid, Successful New Year’s Resolutions

by A Diet Community

There’s nothing like having a set day to start making positive, healthy changes.

Most of the time it’s a Monday or the first day of the month. But, nothing beats making the beginning of the rest of your soon-to-be-fabulous life effective on January 1st.

That’s the mother of all change days.   new years resolutions

  • That’s when despair and self-hatred are replaced with hope and enthusiasm
  • Out with the old and in with the new
  • You shed everything that’s happened the previous 365 days and look forward to the great things that lie ahead

And, that excitement and positive aura last for a day or two – a week, if you’re lucky.

Before you know it, the reality that it’s just like every other year sets in, along with the old habits that you swore you were going to kick this time.

Maybe that’s the way it went for you in years past, but that’s not the way it has to work now.

You can set a resolution that becomes reality.

It’s actually pretty easy, if you know how. And, you will know how once you’re done reading this guide.

You see, changing behaviors isn’t about having willpower.

  • It’s about knowing how to set yourself up for success.
  • It’s knowing how to create a solid, effective plan that makes change simple and easy, even pleasurable.

With that, let’s make a New Year’s Resolution that is fail-proof, shall we?


Know Your “Why”

The first, most important thing you have to do is figure out why you want your resolution so bad.

You have to understand why it’s a deep seeded desire to see this goal come to pass.

To figure out specifically what your goal means to you, take these steps:

  • Visualize yourself at your goal. Imagine how you look and pay attention to how you feel. Picture yourself in certain scenarios and notice how you respond. Try to take in everything about the future you that you can.
  • Now that you have a clear picture of what your goal looks like, create a list of all the things you notice about yourself once your goal is reached. Try to be exhaustive and include everything you can think of, no matter how small or trivial it might seem. For example, are you positive and confident? Do you smile more and feel fulfilled?
  • Once your list is complete, analyze how the future you is different than the current you. Look for different thoughts, attitudes or responses to situations. It’s these differences that you are looking to achieve. This is your “why”.

The reason it’s important to know exactly what you want is two-fold.

  • First, you have to have an end goal in mind so you know when you get there.
  • Second, these are the reasons you’ll want to keep in mind when the going gets tough and you want to give up the fight. What you want to achieve will drive you to continue to pursue your goal – despite hard times.


Set Your Goal So Success is the Only Option

Setting a goal is like any process. There are ways you can do it that will just get the job done and there are specific things you can do to all but guarantee success. Let’s work on the second type, shall we?setting weight loss goals

When you set your goal, you want it to have certain characteristics. It has to contain very specific items so that it motivates you as much on day number one-hundred as it did on day number one. If it doesn’t, what’s the purpose in setting it, right?

To create a goal that leaves no room for failure, it must be the following:

  • Specific. You can’t just say you want to lose weight or get in shape. That’s too vague. You have to know the exact outcome you intend to achieve. If it’s losing ten, twenty or eighty pounds, then set it. Maybe it’s being able to run a mile in less than nine minutes. Whatever your goal is, just make sure it’s as specific as it can be.
  • Achievable. It has to be realistic. If you know that you should be losing weight at the rate of 1-2 pounds a week, don’t set out to lose fifteen pounds in a month. If you do, you’re just setting yourself up for disappointment, which can lead you to the kitchen in an attempt to soothe your pain.
  • Manageable. Basically, you want to chunk your final goal down into smaller, more manageable pieces. For example, if you want to lose fifty pounds, it may feel overwhelming. However, if you set out to lose ten pounds five times, it seems not quite so daunting. So, break your goal down into pieces that don’t make you feel so heavy.
  • Time sensitive. Set an end date. If you don’t, you’ll likely drag your feet and not push yourself as hard. So, create a deadline by which you will have your goal achieved and procrastination won’t be allowed to sneak in and sabotage you.
  • Written down. Research shows that goals are met more often when they’re reduced to black and white. It’s like you’re taking an abstract idea (reaching a goal) and making it real once it’s on paper. Some people like to create a mini-contract with themselves and sign it. Do it any way you want, just make sure it’s written down.

Your goal is only as strong as you make it. The more wiggle room you allow yourself, the more you’ll take. So, follow these guidelines and remove all the loopholes.


Devise a Planmake a health plan

Now that you know where you’re headed, you have to figure out how you’re going to get there. You need to make a plan that starts where you are now and ends at successfully reaching your goal.

The first thing you need to understand is that your plan is going to be fluid. That means that it’s going to change from time to time. It has to because you have to be flexible enough to work around life as it happens.

If you don’t operate this way and think that once a plan is set it can’t be modified, you’re likely not going to see your dreams come to pass.

A plan is just an outline. It’s a general structure that you intend to follow, until you find out that it has to change or it isn’t going to work.

It’s like if you are erecting a building and have a blueprint. And, for the sake of argument, let’s say the blueprint is flawless. Everything is perfect, from the measurements to the list of materials you need.

But, what happens if you start building and then find out that one portion of the building is on quicksand? Do you keep going because your plan is perfect?

No. You stop, right? Why?

Because your plan was perfect before the quicksand came into the picture. Now, it’s no longer as great.

It’s the same thing with a plan to lose weight or get in shape. It may start out the perfect plan, but as circumstances change and situations happen, the definition of perfect changes. You have to be able to change with it.

How Will You Make Your Goals Happen?

Now that you understand that, you need to devise a process on exactly how you intend to make your goal happen. What steps are you going to take to get where you want to be?

Specifically, what areas do you need to modify, or make changes in, to achieve the positive results you’re looking for?

  • It’s easier if you create a list of all the things that you feel you need to change in order to support your goal.
  • Prepare to work on one or two things at a time.
  • Don’t move on to the next items until you’ve mastered the ones you’re currently working on.

Remember, this isn’t a race to the finish line. If you don’t take the time to make your changes permanent, the results won’t last. Temporary changes means temporary results.

So, do yourself a favor and take the time necessary to make your changes stick.

Allow Extra Time    weight loss roadblocks

Make sure you allow extra time for detours and road blocks. It never fails that something will come up that threatens your success. Someone will get sick or injured, or work will mandate overtime. Whatever it is, something will happen that will change your plans and make it harder to stick to what you set out to do.

If you allow for the extra time, you’ll maneuver through the hard times a little easier because you know you gave yourself some wiggle room. You won’t be so pressured by deadlines that can no longer be met.

(By the way, if you haven’t figured out, your deadline is fluid as well. Don’t hesitate to change it if you need to. It’s better to reach it later than not at all.)

Create Mini Set-points

These are little milestones that you intend to hit.

When you have these set-points throughout the process, you don’t have to wait until your final goal is reached to celebrate. You get little successes along the way that can keep you motivated and going strong.

It’s like having the goal of retirement.

The further away it is, the less tangible it becomes and the more you’re willing to set the thought of it aside and not think about putting money away for your later years.

However, if you set little set-points along the way to retirement, like getting your home paid off or putting a certain amount of money in an IRA every year, you’re continuously doing things that are mini goals in support of your final goal. Make sense?

So, for example, if your goal is to be able to jog two miles without walking, then create a set-point when you’re able to jog half a mile without stopping, then one mile and so on.

Every time you reach your milestone, you’ll feel great because you’ve achieved a goal that will support you and make your final goal easier more within your grasp.

Include a Reward Plan

Don’t forget to include a reward system in your plan. When you reach a goal, celebrate it! Relish in the fact that you’ve done a great job and deserve to enjoy a little bit of your success.

  • Maybe you pick up the latest book you want to read
  • Or, perhaps you buy a new outfit to workout in
  • Do something just for you in honor of the hard work and changes you’ve made

Ideally you don’t want your reward to be anything that will derail your success. So, giving yourself food as a treat is a touchy subject.

Some people allow themselves an indulgence because it helps them not feel so deprived.

It’s up to you what you want to do on this one. Just make sure that if you take that path it isn’t something that’s going to start a snowball of bad behaviors.


Create a Winning Mindset

If you allow failure to be an option, you’re giving yourself an out. And, if you’re like most people, you’ll take it every time.

No resolution can succeed when a mind tells it that it will fail. You have to believe that you’re going to do this.

No saying you’ll try or you’ll work on it. You have to say that you will do it.

Think about it. If you tell your kids to pick up their toys and they respond with, “I’ll try,” what do you think? Are they committed to doing it or are they just pacifying you?

The same is true when you say you’ll try to lose weight or get in shape. You’re just pacifying yourself and making yourself feel better, but you’re not committing to changing.

So, lose the word ‘try’ and replace it with what you will do. Put some strength behind your commitment.

It may seem silly because it’s just a little word, but words matter. They usually mean the difference between failing and succeeding, and you do want to succeed don’t you?

Then start deciding what you’re willing to do to get there.

Also, keep yourself focused on what you’re striving to reach. Put your goal in front of you as often as possible so that you continuously motivate yourself to keep moving forward.

One of the best ways to do this is to create a vision board.

  • Put together a group of photos that represent your goal or inspire you to make progress
  • Look at them often and let them fuel your desire to keep going when the going gets tough
  • The more in touch you are with what you’re attempting to do, the greater the likelihood that your dream will come to pass.

Make Your Resolution Stick

Now you know what to do to create a resolution that won’t fall away like years past. Follow these guidelines and this will be the last time you have to set the resolution because success is in your future!


In life you have two options: make excuses or make changes. Take responsibility for yourself and your actions and create the life that you want and deserve to live.

It’s waiting for you.

All you have to do is take it. Let 2013 be the year you make it happen!

Christy December 26, 2012 at 11:11 pm

Good information

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