How To Make Resolutions You'll Actually Keep

It's that time of year again: New Year's Resolution time. I think we all know what it's like to start a new year with lots of goals, only to fall off the resolution wagon by spring. This year, like always, I have a lot I want to accomplish, but unlike past years, I've taken some time to really think about how to stay on track. The solution I've come up with is this: Instead of making vague or broad resolutions make simple actionable plans. What exactly do I mean? Let me use myself as an example:

  • Vague Goal: Be fitter. 
  • Actionable Goal: Go to the gym 3x per week. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, at 8:30am
  • Vague Goal: Advance my freelance writing career
  • Actionable Goals: Make a profile on Upwork and start applying for freelance jobs. Create a "Hire Me" page on my website and blog for my writing services.
  • Vague Goal: Grow my Blog and Do More Brand Collaborations
  • Actionable Goals: Register for an e-course on blog growth and monetization. Complete all the modules regularly and implement what I've learned. (This month I actually did the research and signed up for a course so this one's already started!)
  • Vague Goals: Eat healthier, Save money, Learn to cook better
  • Actionable Goals: I found a way to roll all these resolutions into one: No eating at restaurants for one month starting January 15th. Eating at home will help me save money, force me to improve my cooking, and encourage me to make healthier choices since I won't be tempted by french fries and desert menus. I'm going to start when I get back from my trip to New York City and commit to one month without restaurants. One month seems like a reasonable starting point and then I'll reassess my goal from there. I'll definitely be going out for dinner around Valentine's Day as a reward but then maybe I'll try to limit myself to eating out two or three times a month only. 

The more specific I am with my goals, the more I feel like I'll be able to achieve them. Getting so specific as to chose the days I'm going to work out and setting a specific timeline for my no-restaurant experiment will help me stay on track and make me motivated to keep my resolutions. I also think it's important to be realistic about your resolutions. Sure I could say I won't eat out for six months or I'll go to the gym 5x per week, but those are resolutions I'm sure to break. Having a plan for how I'm going to accomplish my goals such as signing up for Upwork or registering for an e-course also makes me feel like my dreams are more achievable. 

I've got high hopes for 2017 and I'm sure most of you do as well. My advice for keeping your resolutions is to set reasonable, actionable plans and get as specific as possible.

What are your resolutions for the new year? What advice do you have for sticking to them?