Stop setting new year’s resolutions, start making new year’s plans

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Stop setting new year’s resolutions, start making new year’s plans

The start of a New Year exemplifies a new beginning.

Well, here is a fact about the new beginnings:

People are more likely to pursue their goals during times that feel like new beginnings (such as a New Year, Mondays, and birthdays) in their lives. After the challenging 2020, people crave newfound hope and motivation and we could all use a little more positivity in our lives.

I’m one of those people.


And here is another fact:

A lot of people who make New Year’s resolutions generally find them hard to keep. The failure rate for New Year’s resolutions is about 80% (U.S. News & World Report), and the majority lose their resolution by mid-February.

Again, I’m one of those people.


To be honest, I have been repeating this cycle for the past 5 years. And I believe I can say with confidence that setting new year’s resolutions does not work for me.

So what should I do instead?


I should make a new year’s plan! By plan, I mean setting small but specific and achievable goals for myself throughout the year. And here are some side notes I created for me to set those goals and make them stick (hopefully these side notes can also help your):

  1. Make a plan, not resolutions.

A written plan with target dates is essential. Commit to the plan. The fact that it is on paper is an act of commitment itself. It also minimizes procrastination and serves as a check-in point to make sure I’m on track.

  1. Is the goal worth it for me?

The worst scenario is to set a goal which costs lots of time but contributes little to my life or my career. So always ask “is the goal worth it for me” before writing it down on paper.

  1. Be mindful of the language used.

Use “I will”, “I promise”, “I commit” instead of “I’d like”, “I’ll try”. Also set a quantity to what I commit. For example, set a goal like “go to bed a half an hour earlier” rather than “stop going to bed so late.”

  1. Set a target date (or a deadline).

A deadline alerts one’s body chemistry to react to it.


To be frank, I just failed my new year’s resolution on Feb 1 of this year. That’s when I started rethinking where I did wrong and came up with this new year’s plan theory. I believe this will work. Well, let’s see what happens.


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