While I think that we can always set goals and work on improving ourselves and our lives at any time, I love the idea of a clean slate at the start of the year and the boost of motivation for change a new year brings with it. All too often, new year’s resolutions seem to get a bad rep, but I think it all comes down to the way you interpret what constitutes a new year’s resolution and how to go about trying to fulfill them.

What exactly is a new year’s resolution?

A new year’s resolution is simply a proactive way of taking control of our lives and taking the necessary steps towards positive change. The great part of setting these at the beginning of each year is that it allows us to evaluate what worked in the previous year, what might have not worked so well, and to use this knowledge to either continue to work towards uncompleted goals from the previous years or take on new challenges.

So just how do you make your new year’s resolutions stick?

1: Limit your list!
You ain’t ever gonna check off everything on your damned list if you have an overflowing amount of challenges set out for the next year. Picking a reasonable number of goals will much more likely result in a higher rate of success than having a list that goes on for pages and pages. Common sense, people!

2: Be reasonable and concrete
All too often, people set very large unattainable goals that can be rather vague. Take fitness for example: So many people add “loose weight” or “get fit” to their list of new years resolution. But this goal is extremely vague and lacks benchmarks. A simple re-write of this goal into something more concrete like: “Go to the gym at least once a week” would make a world a difference.

Being reasonable with your goals is also important. It’s also a bit unreasonable to assume that within a year you are going to be a first chair violinist or speaking Russian like a native without ever having touched a violin or speaking a word of Russian beforehand. Instead of “learn Russian,” a quick re-write of this resolution to something more along the lines of: “Sign up for and complete level A Russian” sounds like a much better resolution.

3: Make goals that are attainable
Going off of number 2, if your list of new year’s resolutions consist of a bunch of unattainable goals for the new year, you are also going to get discouraged pretty damned quickly and give up before even beginning. Choose resolutions that you know you could potentially accomplish, so long as you put in hard work.

4: …but are also continuous/able to be built upon
Choose goals that can be strung together as stepping stones to a larger goal. Remember that example about learning Russian? The best part is that this goal can be built upon. Once the first steps of learning level A Russian is completed, the next goal would be to start level B, and so on and so forth. Pretty soon, before you know it, in a few years you will be fluent.

5: Choose goals that can be evaluated
Concrete goals are not only good because they make it much easier to conceptualize what you want to accomplish and therefore will help you know exactly what you need to do in order to work towards your goal, they are also great because they allow you to evaluate your progress. Taking the above example about going to the gym: By setting a goal of going to the gym once a week, you will very easily be able to see if you are successful or not in adding a weekly gym session into your routine.

6: Re-evaluate and edit!
Re-evaluation is all about editing your new year’s resolutions! People often fail because they over-estimate what they can truly accomplish in a year but are so resolute in their list that they never stop to realize that nothing is set in stone! Just because something is on the list, does not mean it needs to stay there! Maybe one of your resolutions just isn’t that important anymore or is simply a bit too complicated and needs to be revised.

You might also find that you are meeting your new year’s resolutions sooner than scheduled. In that case, edit comes into play. Are you going to the gym weekly? Awesome. Try to edit your new year’s resolution of a weekly session and up it to two.

7: Review your list at the end of every month
In addition to making the mistake of viewing new year’s resolutions as rigid unchangeable things, we often think up our resolutions, work towards them for a few weeks, forget about them over time, and curse ourselves for failing again for another consecutive year as December 31st rolls around the following year. Not only will tip 1-4s put an end to self-loathing at New Years Eve, but in conjunction with this tip number 5, you are bound to be on your way to success-ville in no time.

At the end of each month, take a look at your new year’s resolutions and review your progress, re-evaluate, and edit! Take this edited 2.0 version of your new year’s resolutions into February and keep following this process until the end of the year. I can guarantee that if you really stick to these tips, in December of this year when you are reviewing your new year’s resolutions 12.0, you will be pleasantly surprised with how far you have come. And remember, there is no crime in not completing everything on your list! After all things do not just start and end in 365 days. Another year is also another opportunity, so simply bump any unfinished business to your new year’s resolutions list for 2017!

At the start of the following year in January, before writing your new list of new year’s resolutions, do be sure to review the arc of your successes from January to December, figure out what worked well, what didn’t, what kind of goals worked the best for you, which ones didn’t and use this knowledge to write up your next list!

So there you have it! 7 tips for making your new year’s resolutions stick (plus one bonus tip on how to transition from one new year’s resolution list to the next)! Have a tip that we may have missed? Want to share your new year’s resolutions for 2017? Let us know in the comments below!

Get the free printable now!

These tips are also available as a free print-out! Just sign up below to receive a link in your email for this FREE printable!

* indicates required

Stay conscious, Rae


January’s lovely sponsors: Adventures of an Anglophile | Yellow Icing

Tags: ,

Rae Tilly

Rae the EIC of LFB and YEOJA Magazine. She is also a photographer and social media influencer.


  • Love your tips to reevaluate and check-in with your resolutions/goals! Historically I try to take a look at my goals and the steps I’ve taken towards them every quarter of the year. Usually it means by the start of April I’m kick-started into doing something productive because I’m very prone to winter sluggishness! I’ve found in recent years (I started sharing annual goals on my blog in 2011) that throwing my goals onto the Internet for others to view, judge and take inspiration from has helped me to achieve them myself, it’s a weird balance between having a palpable self-reminder and almost wanting to please others that means I almost always make my goals! Thus each year I build upon the goals and hopes from the year previous. Great post, as always, Rae!

    • rae

      Thanks, Michelle! I think you are totally right about how putting your resolutions on the internet can actually help you achieve your own goals, and your quarter year reviews sound like very good ideas! So glad you enjoyed this post, Michelle!

  • Noortje Wijckmans

    These are great tips! I don’t have any new years resolutions this year, because this year is gonna be so hectic for me. But I’ll definitely keep these in mind for next year :)
    Project NW | Why I’m a Feminist

    • rae

      Sounds good and glad you liked the tips!

  • These tips are amazing. I need to do this! :)

    I Feel It All ~ Styleccentric Fashion’ | BLOGLOVIN

    xo, Alyssa

    • rae

      Thanks Alyssa!

  • Hahah, I remember when I was younger I’d make a long-ass list of resolutions that I would forget by the end of the week. I have a friend who made small goals for herself at the beginning of every month and it worked really great for her because it wasn’t a year-long thing and she was able to keep track of it more easily. Overall, great list – I love how realistic it is.

    becky ♡ star violet

    • rae

      I definitely have been guilty of doing the long-ass lists as well, so do not worry! So glad you enjoyed this list too, Becky!

  • I prefer to set myself goals whenever I feel something makes me unhappy, no matter what time of year. But with the second child arriving in March, no new goals for me at the moment. I wouldn’t know how to keep them anyway.

    Libra, Loca: Beauty, Baby and Backpacking

    • rae

      Setting goals at any time is also completely fine if you ask me! And how exciting! I hope your pregnancy is going well!

      • It isn’t as smooth as the first one, but I am 30 weeks in, so it won’t be too long now.

  • Rajwant Kaur Singh

    An incredibly inspiring list on how to make resolutions stick, thank you for sharing
    I love the fresh starts at this time of year, and the rejuvenation I feel to make positive changes!

    What Raj Wants

    • rae

      No worries, glad you found this post inspiring!

  • I have resolutions but I am aware of how much I fail at them! Hahaha! I think having a list that’s not too long, simple and easy to follow is a great way to pace yourself to a stronger resolution and result! Great post! <3

    xx Bash | Hey Bash | bloglovin’


    • rae

      Thanks bash! And definitely – it’s all about keeping it short and sweet!

  • Definitely agree on being reasonable and concrete. Setting unattainable (for the moment) goals makes every day feel like a failure. Rome wasn’t built in a day! I like to think of resolutions as good personal habits to get myself into. It’s less of an uphill battle that way!

    JXL (Alyse) | A Little Runner

    • rae

      Could not agree with you more, Alyse!

  • Just discovered this blog! Beautiful layout and thank you for the tips!


  • I think it’s important to set yourself realistic goals and agree with you here. A New Year is just a New Year, the real change is down to you :) Set yourself goals which you can really stick too, the smallest changes make the biggest differences. I set myself a Get Fit for 2012 and that one New Years Resolution has stuck ever since, I feel much better for it also :)

    Happy New Year Rae!!

    great post and great tips :)

    Laura http://www.shehearts.net xx

    • rae

      Agreed! So glad to hear your fitness goal has been working! Happy New Year!


    I agree with all of your tips, especially number 1. I just posted my New Years resolutions to my blog and the main thing was that I always set myself up for disaster by having a long list of unrealistic resolutions… this year I have narrowed it down to my top 3.

    Filipa x

    • rae

      I think narrowing it down to a top three is a really genius idea!

  • Katie

    Fantastic post, I love seeing things like this, very inspiring! You have a ton of great tips too. Happy New Year!


    • rae

      So glad you enjoyed this post, Katie!

  • Setting resolutions never works for me! I hope you’ll do better this year thanks to these tips.

    x Karen

    • rae

      Hope so too Karen! Really glad this post was helpful for you!

  • i think setting resolutions that are reasonable and attainable and the best way to go and then once you fulfill them you can raise them, if that makes sense!


    • rae

      Agreed! That is exactly what I was saying :) If you strive for unattainable goals or goals that only can be completed in a few years, you will end up giving up, which is counter-productive to what you actually want! Setting smaller more frequent goals and then modifying them as you complete them is the way to go!

  • I love this. I feel like resolutions (and goals) need to be concrete and things that are attainable and easy to achieve (in a sense). We can’t promise to eat less and work out more or stop doing this or that. We don’t know the future, and if it’s something we really want to do, then it won’t be a goal, but something we do when we really want to. That’s why mine are more sel orientated in the sense that they’re for self improvement more than anything else.

    Ella Pinto

    • rae

      Could not agree with you more, Ella!

  • Nicole

    Great insights! I definitely agree in limiting goals and making them more realistic :) hope you have a fantastic 2016!

    New post on GIRL ABOUT TOWN BLOG

    • rae

      Thanks Nicole! Glad you found this post helpful!

  • Great tips! I totally skipped making resolutions this year but otherwise I think this is a dead on guideline to obtaining long term goals. Check in often, and recheck often! Thanks for the share!

    xo, Alice | Miss Inconnue

    • rae

      Thanks so much! And nothing wrong with skipping resolutions for a year! If what you are doing is working, then keep on doing it, lady!

  • These are awesome! I typically end up making some “blanket” resolutions, and then some little ones about individual things I want to do. I think I need to make my “blanket” resolutions split into smaller bits, and your post is inspiring me to do just that.


    • rae

      Thanks so much, Sarah! Really glad to hear this post could inspire you!

  • Y.U.P NYC

    Such great advice!! I always make a resolution and I have such a hard time keeping it up.


    • rae

      Hope you can make your resolutions stick this year!

  • Ellese Launer

    These are great suggestions for goal setting. I love the idea to keep is short and sweet. Thanks for sharing. Xo, Ellese


    • rae

      Thanks Ellese! Glad you found these suggestions useful!

  • I couldn’t agree more with ‘being reasonable’, I think most of us over-estimate what we can achieve and in the end we just get depressed when we fail to meet our goals.

    Reflection of Sanity | StayLean Tea Australia Giveaway

    • rae

      It’s all about being reasonable if you ask me and yes, we do often over-estimate what we can do and underestimate the time in which we can get it done. That’s why we should be reasonable but also edit our goals if we see our timeframe or expectations are unreasonable. And you are right, it is so easy to get upset if we do not live up to our goals, which is why it’s important to set attainable goals that can then be built upon!

  • Kim

    I like the idea of reviewing the list every month. Sounds like a great way to continue the year without losing momentum!

    • rae

      Thanks, Kim!

  • Such good advice – I think reviewing the list is a great idea and trying not to put a MASSIVE list of stuff to do that is really unfeasible. I’ve definitely tried to be realistic and limi my goals for this year!

    Happy new year :) xxx

    • rae

      So glad you found this advice useful, Laila! Happy new year!

  • Love the illustration to go along with this – very pretty!

    And a great list idea. I find it important to make goals you can modify like your tip #6. There’s no point in putting pressure on yourself for an unrealistic or counterproductive goal!

    Happy new year Rae!

    • rae

      Thanks Katia! And yes I could not agree more! Modification is the key to all things as we do not know how things will work out until we start them! Happy New Year as well!

  • Nancy Wilde

    I refuse to make New Year resolutions simply because I will feel pressured by my own expectations. I prefer not to have any goals whatsoever, just a list of things to do regularly so I don’t go mental. Maybe I’m terrified that I won’t achieve anything at all by the end of the year…

  • I used to set resolutions, which I always ended up breaking. However, I have started setting goals since last year and they seem to be working a lot more well and fit in perfectly with the tips you have given in this post :)

    Pop over to my blog!