Stop Setting Resolutions You Can’t Keep: 10 Creative Ways to Stick to Your Goals in 2023

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15/01/2023

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15/01/2023

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Stop Setting Resolutions You Can’t Keep: 10 Creative Ways to Stick to Your Goals in 2023

Yes, it’s past the New Year, but I’m guessing that many of us (like myself) are still thinking about setting our resolutions for the year. In fact, I typically take the entire month of January to write my resolutions down. Don’t get me wrong – resolutions can be a great way to focus our energy and make meaningful changes in our lives. However, it’s all too easy to make resolutions that we don’t actually keep.

Just take a look at the resolutions you’ve made in 2022 (here’s my guilt-tripping list). Assuming you still have that list with you! How many of them have you actually kept? How many have fallen along the wayside?

A man looking back at the past year 2022 with regret, but eagerly looking forward to the new year 2023, armed with new year's resolutions.
Don’t let the past hold you back.

What if, one year from now, we can look back at our 2023 list and discover that we have actually achieved most of them? Won’t that be awesome?

So, here are 10 creative ways to set resolutions that will help you achieve your goals this year:

1. Before resolving WHAT you will do, resolve WHO you will be

We often think of new year’s resolutions as a list of do’s and don’ts. “I will exercise more this year”, “I will save more money” etc.

But those are just activity-based goals. What is more important is how we are growing in our character. In other words, before we set resolutions about what we will do, we need to first decide what kind of person we want to be.

For Christians, our faith is a central part of our identity and should be reflected in our resolutions. One way to ensure that your resolutions align with your faith is to set goals that focus on becoming more like Christ. This might include resolving to be more patient, kind, or forgiving.

When we are clear about what kind of person we want to be, we can set goals that align with our personal values and beliefs. This includes growing in your faith, such as reading the Bible more, attending church more regularly, or serving others in your community.

By being intentional and setting resolutions that align with what you personally value and believe, you’ll be more likely to stay motivated and achieve your goals.

2. Create specific and measurable goals

The next question to ask yourself is: are your goals too vague?

People who set resolutions such as “I want to be more healthy this year” often fail to achieve anything. This is because such goals are so vague that there is practically no way to measure whether you succeed or not!

Specific and measurable goals are important because they give you a clear target to work towards and help you track your progress.

Instead of resolving to “lose weight,” set a specific goal like “lose 5 kg by June.” Or, instead of “reading the Bible more”, specify a goal to read a certain number of chapters each day or week.

This way, you’ll be able to measure whether you’re making progress and make adjustments as needed.

3. Break your big goals into smaller, manageable steps

As you are doing so, don’t forget to break your big goals into smaller, manageable steps. This can help you stay motivated and avoid feeling overwhelmed.

When your brain gets overwhelmed by big and seemingly impossible goals, it will instinctively avoid the pain of failure by procrastinating. To overcome it, break it down into actionable steps and schedule it into your calendar. This makes each task easier to process and execute.

For example, a resolution to “deepen my relationship with my spouse” translates to a weekly date every Friday. Plan that into your calendar and make it a weekly event. You are, of course, free to modify your plans because things happen. But the act of scheduling itself is a commitment of intention to do what you have set out to do.

A side perk to this is that these little steps and actions, when executed repeatedly, form a system of habits and routines in your life. As the author of Atomic Habits, James Clear would say,

You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems. Your goal is your desired outcome. Your system is the collection of daily habits that will get you there. This year, spend less time focusing on outcomes and more time focusing on the habits that precede the results.”

James Clear, Author of Atomic Habits

By breaking down your goal into smaller steps, you build a system of daily habits to help you get there.

4. Make your resolutions visible by using a Dream Board

The whole idea here is to make your resolutions VISIBLE! Not just pinning a list of words, but using pictures that can inspire you towards action. You can do that by using a Dream Board, which is a compilation of ideas, quotes, images, and anything else that reminds you of what you want to achieve.

Having an actual, physical dream board is a great idea, but you will need a place to hang it (and some time to find the right pictures and words to pin up!). You will also not have the luxury to carry it with you.

My go-to alternative is to use a digital dream board, which I can create easily using Canva, and customize according to my needs. I can then put it up as my laptop and tablet wallpaper, or print it out in color and pin them on my office wall. This way, I can have it with me wherever I go.

This is how your dream board could look like. Made with Canva.

Visualizing what you have set out to achieve is a powerful technique to keep you on track.

5. Write a personal vision statement

Your personal vision statement is a must-have in your newly-minted dream board.

A personal vision statement can be a powerful tool for helping you stay focused on your goals and dreams. It should be a clear and concise statement that defines what you want to achieve, who you want to be, and how you want to live your life.

Examples of personal vision statements are:

“I shall not fear anyone on Earth. I shall fear only God. I shall not bear ill will toward anyone. I shall not submit to injustice from anyone. I shall conquer untruth by truth. And in resisting untruth, I shall put up with all suffering.”

Mahatma Gandhi

“To be a teacher. And to be known for inspiring my students to be more than they thought they could be.”

Oprah Winfrey

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”

Maya Angelou

Need help creating your own vision statement? We’ve put together a 4-step guide to help you learn from the best practices of writing personal vision statements, clarifying worthy goals, identifying your strengths and values, and of course, putting them together into your very own vision statement.

4 Steps to Crafting Your Perfect Personal Vision Statement by Marcus Mok Free eBook Download

Craft your PERFECT Personal Vision Statement in just 4 steps!

Whether you’re seeking to improve your career, relationships, or overall well-being, our FREE 4 Steps to Crafting Your Perfect Personal Vision Statement will help you to:

  • Craft a Personal Vision Statement that is truly your own in 4 simple steps
  • Gain clarity and direction by understanding your goals, values and purpose in life
  • Make better decisions that match your goals, strengths and skills
  • …and many more!

6. Track your progress and use a reminder system

Having a plan and tracking your progress can help you stay on track and make adjustments as needed. Whether it’s a physical journal or an app, tracking your progress can help you stay motivated and see the progress you’re making.

For example, if your goal is weight loss, create a chart and put it up on your fridge using a magnet. If you are a digital geek like me, using a free app like MyFitnessPal can really help to count your calories and track your weight management journey.

Bonus Tip: Set a reminder on your phone or computer to remind yourself to track your progress. It could be daily, weekly or monthly. The whole idea is to make a habit out of tracking!

7. Surround yourself with mentors and accountability partners

One way to make sure your resolutions stick is to find a role model or mentor. Seek out someone who has achieved what you want to achieve, and ask for their advice and guidance. Having a mentor or role model can provide valuable perspective and help you stay motivated.

photo of men having conversation
Photo by nappy on Pexels.com

Also, sharing your resolutions with friends and family and asking them to keep you accountable can help you stay motivated and achieve your goals. Having someone to share your progress with and who can encourage you when things get tough can make a big difference.

8. Find a way to make resolution-keeping fun!

The last thing you want is to feel that your new year’s resolutions are a chore to keep. Turning your resolution into a game or a challenge and rewarding yourself for reaching certain milestones can help you stay motivated and make the process more enjoyable.

Bonus tip: I read about this strategy called “temptation bundling” in James Clear’s Atomic Habits. (Personally, I prefer to call it “habit bundling”). The idea is this: you’re more likely to find a behavior attractive if you get to do one of your favorite things at the same time.

For example, getting fit by doing regular exercise is one of my big goals this year, but I also like to watch my favorite Netflix shows. Using temptation bundling, I could only watch Netflix on my phone when I am using the treadmill at the gym.

In this way, I begin to associate my exercise time (something I need to do) with my Netflix time (something I want to do). Over time, going to the gym becomes a habit for me, and this moves me one step closer to my fitness goal.

P.S. A guy literally hacked his stationary bike with a computer program he wrote, that would allow Netflix to run only if he was cycling at a certain speed! Read about it on James Clear’s blog here.

9. Pray about your resolutions

As Christians, our faith is a central part of our lives, and we should involve God in our resolution-setting process, by asking for His strength, guidance, and wisdom. Praying about your resolutions can help you stay focused and motivated.

More importantly, it reminds you that you’re not doing it for yourself, but for the glory of God.

Yes, every resolution we make should bring glory to God.

31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

1 Corinthians 10:31 (NIV)
man person people woman
Photo by MART PRODUCTION on Pexels.com

As you put your resolutions down on paper (or on your chalkboard or desktop wallpaper), ask yourself:
– how will these resolutions bring glory to God?
– How are they in line with what I know to be God’s will for me?

10. Do a reality check on each of your goals

It’s important to be realistic with ourselves when setting goals. Avoid over-committing to too many goals that can’t be accomplished, or ones that are too far out of reach. Start with one or two important resolutions that you can realistically achieve, and then build on them as you make progress. This way, you’ll be more likely to see the results you desire and have a sense of accomplishment.

Conclusion

Resolutions are meant to be kept and it’s important to take the time to craft them in a way that sets you up for success.

By following these 10 creative ways to set resolutions, you’ll be more likely to achieve your goals in 2023, and make the most of the year ahead.

P.S. If you’re looking for more guidance on crafting your perfect personal vision statement, try our free ebook “4 Steps to Crafting Your Perfect Personal Vision Statement.”.

4 Steps to Crafting Your Perfect Personal Vision Statement by Marcus Mok Free eBook Download

Craft your PERFECT Personal Vision Statement in just 4 steps!

Whether you’re seeking to improve your career, relationships, or overall well-being, our FREE 4 Steps to Crafting Your Perfect Personal Vision Statement will help you to:

  • Craft a Personal Vision Statement that is truly your own in 4 simple steps
  • Gain clarity and direction by understanding your goals, values and purpose in life
  • Make better decisions that match your goals, strengths and skills
  • …and many more!

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