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7 Steps to Achieve Your New Year’s Resolutions

Congratulations! Despite the sarcastic negativity and nay-sayers, you have chosen a path of self-improvement. Here are seven simple things you can do to make sure you achieve all of your 2016 goals.

  1. Treat yourself.
    Your goals require a special type of strength from your mind and body. Acknowledge this, own this, and love yourself for deciding to improve despite the challenge it will be.

    Add a goal that includes loving yourself. This can be as easy as waking up in the morning and telling yourself one thing you love about yourself or buying that item you have been eyeing at the mall for some time. This will help you develop that self-confidence you need to achieve your goals.

  2. Reward yourself.
    Celebrate the small successes that will add up to the ultimate success. Break your goals up into small goals and set rewards for when those small goals are met. This will not only keep you motivated but remind you of the point of setting goals: improving the quality of your life. Focusing so much on the ultimate success sets you up for failure.

    Try filling out a reward system and hang it up on your bedroom wall to remind you of what you need to do for that day. As soon as you complete it, reward yourself. For example, for every 10 hours of exercise you do, you can watch an extra show on Netflix or splurge at the ice cream shop.

  3. Be specific.
    Be as specific as you can with your goals. Setting general and broad goals leaves a lot of room for uncertainty. It is easier to slack on goals when you don’t even really know what they are. For example, if you have chosen to give up junk, define exactly what you mean by “junk food.” Is pizza considered junk food? Is soda? These are important questions to ask to prevent slacking off or relapsing.
  4. Be realistic.
    Consider the fact that we still have work routines and imperfect lives to live. Setting goals that are too big to reach will only bring down your self-esteem and unmotivate you. Be realistic with your body and your life schedule and keep in mind that everything can be achieved with patience and baby steps.
  5. Setbacks are not an excuse to give up.
    One day you may just have to give in to the couch or the cupcake instead of the gym. The No. 1 reason resolutions fail are because people believe that setbacks mean complete failure. However, these setbacks will give you vital information about what triggered you to give in, what your feelings were after, and ultimately how to prevent this from happening again. For example, if you realized that a certain TV show or friend distracted you, then you might not want to mix the two of them in the same day. This, in return, prepares you for future distractions.
  6. Let others serve as a positive influence.
    By involving your friends and family and encouraging them also to implement resolutions, you are more likely to be motivated to achieve your goals. Also, it’s easier to put the doughnut down when you have a support system behind you reminding you of all the hard work you have put into it. Make a contract with your friends and encourage each other to stick it out until the end.
  7. Realize you’re one step closer to your goals.
    You have enough motivation to get through the year and you deserve that feeling of accomplishment. So go prove to the world that not all resolutions are meant to be broken!

Cupcake photo available from Shutterstock

7 Steps to Achieve Your New Year’s Resolutions

Leslie Santana

Leslie Santana is currently an MFT student at Cal Poly Pomona and is completing her practicum for the City of Chino Human Services. She was awarded the state stipend for the County of Los Angeles, where she will be completing her licensure requirements.

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APA Reference
Santana, L. (2018). 7 Steps to Achieve Your New Year’s Resolutions. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 29, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 23 Jan 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.