New Year’s Resolutions You Won’t Hate by February

I’m typing this in my home office where just I created my 2014 vision board and pinned it to the wall directly across from my desk.

Now I can look at it all through the day and be reminded of my resolutions for the new year.

That’s right, it’s time again to make new year’s resolutions. Just so you know, I have magical powers that let me see you through the internet, and I’m pretty sure you’re rolling your eyes about the prospect of writing resolutions.

I know, there are so many other things you’d love to be doing right now…like going back to bed or perhaps finishing off that novelty tin with the 3 different kinds of popcorn.

Most people are kind of in a funk at the end of December: too many parties, late nights, and enormous meals. It’s easier to just wait until January when things get back to normal, right?

Well yes, it’s easier to get back to a normal routine once January rolls around, but I want to challenge you to ditch your normal routine.

You’re not normal, are you? Wait—that sounded bad. I mean you don’t seem like the type who wants to settle for an average, humdrum life.

And that’s exactly why you should make some new year’s resolutions.

Why Make New Year’s Resolutions?

It’s trendy nowadays to be anti-resolution. As in, “I used to make resolutions, but now I just go with the flow.” It’s what the cool kids are doing.

But seeing as I’ve never been even remotely cool, I’m going to tell you to make your damn resolutions like the Type A superstar I know you are.

Why go through the hassle? Resolutions can feel stuffy, constricting, and soooo not fun.

Hey, you know what’s even less fun? Getting to the end of December and realizing that you’re in the exact same situation—or worse!—than you were last year.

Just because most people (including you) fail to keep their resolutions doesn’t mean the whole process is useless.

Here are 5 good reasons to make new year’s resolutions:

  1. Because the first of the week, month, or year is when your motivation is at its highest, so take advantage of it!
  2. Because you’ve spent the past 2 weeks eating cookies and binge watching TV shows on Netflix.
  3. Because you actually care about reaching your goals, following your heart, and achieving the dreams on your bucket list.
  4. Because it’s better than moping about your weight gain, sucky job, or lack of a sex life.
  5. Because planning for the new year costs nothing but it will make your life much richer.

Keep reading to learn the difference between resolutions and goals, the best way to create a resolution, and how you can stick with it long after your friends have thrown in the towel.

What’s the Difference Between Resolutions and Goals?

In my eguide, The Habit Transformer System, I talk about the differences between goals and resolutions.

A goal is a specific endpoint or target that you want to reach. A resolution is an over-arching framework of how you want to live your life and the type of person you want to be.

Let me break it down for you with one of the most popular new year’s resolutions: to lose weight.

The goal of losing 20 pounds is part of the big resolution of “I want to live a long healthy life, be a good role model for my kids, and treat my body with care and respect.”

To reach that goal that supports your resolution, you’ll need to reach daily mini goals such as exercising for 30 minutes every day or packing a healthy lunch.

Got it? Once you have your big-picture resolution, it’s time to look a little deeper at the feelings that are at the root of what you want.

Get Clear About Your Feelings

In Danielle LaPorte’s popular book, The Desire Map, she explains that we don’t really want the things we say we want. It’s not that we want to lose 20 pounds, drive a sports car, or have a million dollars…we want the feelings that we believe those things will give us.

Do you really want to lose weight? Maybe, but you probably want the feelings of confidence and self-respect even more.

Do you want a million dollars? Or maybe what you want is the security of paying off your debts and the ease of knowing you’re prepared in case of an emergency like an illness or natural disaster.

When you know the underlying feelings you want, you can make choices in your life that help you feel that way as you continue to work on your goals.

You might have a while before you lose 20 pounds, but you can feel confidence and self-respect if you wear exercise clothes in bright colors that actually fit your current figure.

Get Specific About Your Goals

I swear, I will beat you over the head with my vision board if you don’t rewrite your goals into SMART goals. One of my biggest pet peeves is when I ask people what their goals are and they respond with some crap like, “to get healthy” or “to relax more.”

What the heck does that even mean?

SMART goals are Specific, Measureable, Actionable, Realistic, and Time-limited. Click here to learn more about how to break down vague goals into SMART goals and get a free worksheet to start your goal setting.

Now here’s the part where other lifestyle gurus would tell you to focus on very simple, completely realistic goals. But I say the best resolutions are the ones that fall just a touch outside the realm of reality.

My clients will recognize these as “stretch goals.” Think of yourself as a rubber band. A rubber band can stretch pretty far, much farther than it looks like it should. And it always bounces back into shape.

Except when it doesn’t. Have you ever snapped a rubber band in half because you stretched it too far? Yee-ouch! In terms of resolutions, I want you to stretch further than you thought possible, but not so far that you snap.

You might be surprised by how much you’re able to accomplish.

Get Motivated Daily

I’m not gonna lie—you WILL lose your motivation sometime during the next year. Probably many, many times in fact. That’s why most people don’t keep their resolutions. They don’t know how to cope when they face obstacles or when their resolve is waning.

I’ve written before about the 3-Day Hump. It’s when your motivation runs out on the third day and you revert back to your old ways and quit. The way you get over the hump is to recommit to your goals every single day.

I know a few people who’ve had a lot of success by choosing “one-day goals.” The idea is simple: you choose a goal such as walking for 30 minutes, but you only commit to do it for today. Just one day.

By narrowing their focus to just the current day and present moment, they’re able to do what they need to do without getting overwhelmed by how far they have to go. The next morning they (you guessed it) recommit to the goal…but just for that one day.

I love the following quote about why you need to re-motivate yourself daily.

“Of course motivation is not permanent. But then, neither is bathing; but it is something you should do on a regular basis.” Zig Ziglar

Pumping yourself up about your goals isn’t something you do the first week of January and then forget about it. It’s a continual process of reminding yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing.

Study your vision board, write in your aspiration journal, and imagine yourself they way you want to live.

What’s the bigger picture? How do you want to feel? What can you do today to support that feeling?

Remember why you want to make changes in your life.

It’s a new year, and you have permission to become a whole new you.

[Tweet ““Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come whispering ‘it will be happier.’” Alfred Tennyson”]

Do you make new year’s resolutions?

In the comments below, share your resolution and one thing you’re doing to achieve it.


  1. Rachel G on January 9, 2014 at 6:36 pm

    I think I’m more likely to articulate goals than overall resolutions–my personality definitely works well with having measurable goals to work towards!

    • Sage Grayson on January 14, 2014 at 8:22 am

      Measurable goals are the key. You wouldn’t believe how many people make vague goals with no clear endpoint and then they’re confused when nothing changes. Good for you for figuring out what works best for you!

  2. Dewi on December 30, 2013 at 5:27 am

    Such an interesting article! Very useful & inspiring ^^

    • Sage Grayson on December 30, 2013 at 9:02 am

      Hi Dewi! Glad you liked it. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  3. Sarah @ Long Island Nerd on December 29, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    I wish I would have read this post before I posted about my resolutions 😉 First, thank you for reminding me about the vision board!! I’m definitely going to make one within the next few days so I can head into the new year with a visual reminder and motivation of my resolutions. My framework (yes! I love this word and description of it!) that I’m building is one of health and as you read yesterday I’m planning on achieving better physical and emotional/spiritual health by doing three things: a 100% raw food challenge for 21 days, creating a chemical/toxin free environment for myself and by de-cluttering my room and life. It’ll take time and effort and I know people won’t understand but I need to do this for me… I have spent 30 years living to help others and now it’s time to help myself!

    • Sage Grayson on December 29, 2013 at 5:15 pm

      Awesome!!! I’m so happy you’re putting yourself first, Sarah. 🙂 Resolutions are the “big idea” of how you want to feel, and then there are lots of little goals that support that framework. I think improving all areas of your health (physical, emotional, spiritual) is a fabulous resolution, and I’m looking forward to following your journey in the new year.

      And I totally want to see your vision board!