How to set New Year’s Resolutions: 12 expert tips on how to set and achieve realistic goals for 2023
It’s a tradition to set goals for yourself at the turn of a new year - and this expert advice will help you to accomplish them
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Every year, we think about what we want to achieve in the 12 months that are going to follow and set ourselves goals accordingly - but these can be hard to stick to.
It takes at least 21 days for the brain to even register that a new change is happening and then 66 plus days to turn this change into a routine or habit, according to Spiritual Life Coach Patience Chigodora, so no wonder keeping new year’s resolutions can be tricky.
To help you choose goals that are actually attainable for 2023, NationalWorld has spoken to several experts for their top tips.
Read on to see all 12 and find out how they can benefit you.
How can I set achievable new year’s resolutions for 2023?
Here are 12 expert tips which will help you keep your new year’s resolutions next year.
Pick 2 to 3 goals at the most
The temptation is to create a huge list and try to do too much at the same time. Choosing a couple of goals to solely focus on will give you a better chance of success, according to Life Coach Julie Leonard.
Choose goals that are important to you
Don’t feel obliged to do what other people are doing. Often in January, it is often focused on dieting and exercise, but remember you can choose anything. It could be learning a language, mastering a new hobby, or connecting with friends. Leonard says you should think about what you actually want to achieve.
Self-development coach Leanne Cooper agrees. She said: “You deserve a goal that’s so compelling you literally can’t wait to get to work on making your vision a reality; a goal that you’re so committed to achieving and so relentless in pursuing, that you can’t stop thinking about it. It needs to set your soul on fire so that you will stop at nothing to achieve it.”
Goals can be fun
It doesn’t all have to be serious, says Leonard. We often forget to include things that bring us joy. This coming year, for example, Leonard has planned many experiences including going to the theatre and doing what she loves most.
Be really specific
One of the reasons your new year resolutions fail is that they are too vague, according to Leonard. They are often more wishes than specific plans. She suggests that instead of saying ‘I want to get fit’ you could try ‘I will go running for 30 minutes 4 times per week’. She advises being as detailed as you can.
Consistency is key
The road to success is bumpy and it’s normal not to manage a day or two or to slip back, says Leonard. The key is to keep going and to do something, no matter how small. If you get to 11pm and you haven’t done anything towards your goal that day, do something, anything, related to your goal, she suggests. Drink a glass of water, eat something healthy, do one sit up, read one page of a book, because something is better than nothing.
Focus on what you gain
So much of new year resolutions is focused on what we ought to deprive ourselves of. Starting from this negative mindset won’t set you up with much motivation, believes Leonard. Instead, focus on what you will gain. More strength, more energy, feeling more confident, making memories will be much more encouraging.
Dipti Tait, Behaviour Psychotherapist suggests writing down at least three valuable reasons why the resolution matters to you and the benefits you will get. She said: “If we frame our resolutions in a positive way as well as adding in the valuables of what we will be gaining and why this matters, our brain is more likely to stay motivated and less likely to give up as soon as things get challenging.”
Juliet Landau-Pope, declutter coach, social scientist, productivity expert and author of What’s Your Excuse for not Clearing Your Clutter?, said: “Consider too what you’re likely to gain from the process, not just the outcome. What skills might you learn? Or what opportunities will it open up?”
Ask what is the one most important thing you do in 2023
Health Coach Michelle Flynn says that if we have too many goals, we can become overwhelmed and achieve none so we’re more likely to achieve our goals if we focus on the one thing that is the most important to us.
Nicholas Jemetta, Founder of Stories Matter, which helps people to improve their wellbeing through better habits, suggests that you can start by creating themes, for example; mental wellbeing, health & fitness, family and friends, and work. He suggests: “Note down what you are grateful for within these themes, and where you feel you have room to grow. It’s in these growth areas that you’ll find the most meaningful and motivational goals.”
Choose a realistic goal
Make the goal a little uncomfortable so that it stretches you - but not so unrealistic it’s unattainable. You should get a nervous buzz when you think about achieving it, but you should ultimately still be able to do it, says Flynn.
Set a realistic time frame
It’s a good idea to set a realistic time frame for your goal, be it a 1 week, 1 month or 1 year. Flynn also advises that it may be a good idea to break down each goal into smaller, bite-sized tasks. She also says that people need to recognise that some will take a long time and plenty of effort. No one climbs Everest on day one.
Share your goal with someone who cares about you
Flynn says this is so your loved one can help you achieve your goal through accountability. They might even get involved too.
This involves tying a new behaviour to a behaviour that you do without thinking. For example you brush your teeth before going to bed without giving it a thought, so add in a step that you do before or after you clean your teeth. So, if you want to be tidier you could wipe some surfaces down or put clothes in the laundry basket. This will help to build new habits, according to Occupational Psychologist Suzanne Guest.
Consider how will you reward yourself
It’s important to think about what you will do when you have achieved your goal because having something positive to look forward to will help you to feel motivated.
Chigodora said: “It’s important to use positive reinforcement by thanking and acknowledging yourself whenever you have fulfilled each change, every time.”