How to make New Year's resolutions stick

How to make New Year's resolutions stick

After Christmas and New Year’s Eve is over, most of us feel like a fresh start is needed, and this is normally a time where lots of people make their New Year's resolutions. The tradition taps into the universal and human desire for growth, renewal and the hope for a better future. If you have set resolutions in the past and haven’t stuck to them, you’re not the only one! People often struggle to stick to their resolutions for a number of reasons. These can include setting unrealistic goals, setting too many resolutions and lacking a specific plan to stick to them. Understanding these challenges and adopting realistic, gradual approaches can increase the chances of you sticking to them successfully, and here is how you can do it through our step by step guide. 

SMART goal setting

Setting new years resolutions

In previous years, you might have contemplated various resolutions, possibly writing them down without a clear plan on how you are going to stick to them. To help you set and prepare yourself for achieving these goals, you should use the SMART technique.

S -Specific

M - Measurable 

A - Achievable

R - Relevant 

T - Time-bound  


First of all you need to set your goals, rather than writing down a broad resolution, you should make them more specific. Instead of saying you want to exercise more, write down that, starting from 1st of January, you want to run for 30 minutes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings at 7:00 AM, around the park near your house. 


Now this might not be possible for all goals, but making them quantifiable, can make it that much easier to track your progress. For example if you want to read more, your goal can be to read 2 books a month or 30 pages a day to help you stick to your target. 


If you think back to your old goals, ask yourself, were they realistic? The whole point of setting the goals is to achieve them at the end, think to yourself if you can reasonably accomplish them. Instead of saying you want to be able to run a marathon within 6 months, set yourself smaller, incremental goals such as: "in the first month, I will focus on completing a park run. Over the next three months, I will gradually increase my distance, aiming for a 10km run. Following that, I will work towards completing a half marathon within the next three months." This way you can gradually progress to your ultimate goal which is to run in the London Marathon. 


This is where you need to look at the bigger picture, why are you setting the goal? If the goal you want to set isn’t important to you, you’re unlikely to be motivated to achieve it. Here's an example.

Original goal: I want to learn a new language.

More relevant goal: I want to learn Spanish because I plan to travel to Spain next year, and I want to fully immerse myself in the culture, communicate with locals, and enhance my overall travel experience.


If you stick to the SMART goal setting, you will be creating attainable goals that you will want to complete by a certain time period. When setting your goals, decide when you want to achieve the overall goal by. If it’s simply to read two books a month, your deadline can be a year. However if you want to save a certain amount of money for your summer holiday, you will have to add more time restraints. 

Creating an actionable plan

Making new years resolutions

Now you have your goals in mind, this is where you can plan them out in more detail so they are trackable. If you are serious about your goals, we recommend that you use a calendar, planner or an app to help you keep accountable for the resolutions. If your overall goal is to run a half marathon by the end of the year, break up the run into smaller goals. These goals could be running 5km comfortably without stopping by the end of February by doing the NHS couch to 5km to build up your stamina. Next your goal can be to run a charity run, or ensure you run for 45 minutes 3 times a week to maintain your fitness. Ultimately, writing the goals down and tracking your progress, allows you to celebrate small victories and achieve the results you want. 

Find an accountability partner

Friends talking

Friends and family can play a crucial role in achieving your New Year's resolutions. By openly sharing your goals, you invite your friends and family to be your supportive partner in your journey. There are a few ways they can help out, they can regularly check-in on your progress to keep you on track and they can offer positive reinforcement such as celebrating milestones. The social aspect of accountability instils a sense of obligation, motivating individuals to stay on track. 

Vision boards

Creating a vison board

If you like to visualise your goals and have a reminder of them, creating a vision board could be a powerful tool to achieving your resolutions. It visually represents goals, aspirations and desired outcomes which can reinforce commitment. The process of selecting and arranging images and words engage the creative mind, and the board can serve as a daily reminder of your resolutions to increase your focus and motivation.

Stay positive in setbacks

How to stay positive

Setbacks are an inevitable part of pursuing New Year’s resolutions. Unexpected challenges, lapses, or obstacles are normal in any journey. It’s crucial not to be disheartened or give up when facing setbacks. Instead, view them as valuable learning experiences, setbacks don’t erase progress, they are just temporary detours on the path to success. Remember the ability to adapt and stay committed despite any setbacks is a testament to your resilience and a key factor in long-term success. 

The Morphée team hopes you have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year. The team will see you next year for even more guides, tips and tricks and key information into all things sleep, well-being and mental health. 

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