09 Jan 2022

4 Simple Steps for more exciting and effective New Year Resolutions

Apparently, the most popular New Year Resolutions are:

  1. Exercise more
  2. Lose weight
  3. Get organised

*Yawn* bored already. No wonder most people don’t stick with their own resolutions!

I get the sentiment of it all and I actually like setting goals and creating plans to achieve them. But I don’t think I have the self-discipline just to ‘resolve’ to do something different and then actually do it. Do you?

Surely, it’s more fun to try something new that’s in line with your values. And that could be something that other people don’t necessarily expect of you.

Rather than creating a list of New Year Resolutions, which deep down you know will not last, maybe you could simply choose something a little bit different to try this year. Something that’s enjoyable and sparks a bit of fun inside.

To be fair, it’s unlikely that you would consciously choose something that’s bad for you. So whatever you fancy trying, chances are it will be a positive step, however small.

Here are 4 suggestions to bring some excitement and positive change this year:

1. Avoid Negative New Year Resolutions

A lot of folk will say they want to work less hours, eat less, drink less and so on. But avoidance-based changes are emotionally unattractive, so it’s hard to focus on them.

Avoid negative language with New Year Resolutions

Instead, you should re-frame what you want in a positive way. So, if it’s about working less hours, what would be the benefit? More time with family, more exercise or just more “chilling out” time with chunks of the week dedicated for doing absolutely nothing. Make the benefits the goal and focus on the good stuff.

If it’s about drinking less wine on a Friday night after a tough week at work, what would that achieve? Is there something more to enjoy about a Saturday morning without the fuzzy head of a hangover? Plan something motivational with the extra time and energy it would create.

2. Make your goals visible

Whatever you’re aiming to do differently, it’s best to write it down somewhere. Or even better, draw or download an inspiring picture and keep it visible.

  • Use Post It notes on the fridge
  • Change screen saver images to reflect the change you want to see
  • Use an app like Stickk on your mobile devices
  • Set reminders and keep any change at the forefront of your mind

Remember that developing a new habit can take at least 90 days. Changing an existing habit can take twice as long, so we almost need to expect our motivation to fall away at some point. Mentally prepare for at least 3 months of effort.

3. Tell Others about your New Year Resolutions

If a tree falls in a forest and no-one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

Accountability can hugely increase the chances of doing what you say you’ll do. So write down what’s to change, tell friends and colleagues, put it on Facebook. The odd doubter might grumble a bit, but most folk will cheer you on.

Or here’s an idea. Tell me what you’d like to change and I’ll help keep you accountable. I’d love it if you clicked the button below to tell me what you’d like to achieve this year!

4. Don’t break the Chain

Snapchat has a well-known feature of ’Streaks’ where two friends message each other for 3 consecutive days. This creates a ‘don’t break the chain’ incentive to keep on messaging each other every day and, of course, using the app.

On a roll with new year resolutions

Similar incentives are used by many online games that encourage us to log in each day for rewards. Any CandyCrush addicts out there?

We can use the same idea to create a ‘streak’ of behaviours or good habits that we want to develop. It can be as simple as crossing off the calendar on your kitchen wall, or maybe an easy-to-use app for your phone.

Financial New Year Resolutions

As a financial coach, I recommend that everyone makes time to regularly invest in financial wellbeing. A weekly slot of 30 minutes to learn something new or to review your spending or investments can work wonders. Especially as that knowledge and understanding accumulates and compounds over time.

If you’d like to tackle your finances and become more organised this year, a good starting point is to read my 5 Blocks of Financial Success.

And what about me? This year, I’d like to tap into my creativity a little more, with something completely new. So I’ve decided to learn to play the banjo!

There, I’ve said it in public. So now I’ll need to do something about it, despite the objections and ridicule of my lovely wife!