Tired of Failed New Year’s Resolutions? Try It This Way Instead

It’s that time of year when most people start thinking about goals and resolutions for the new year.  You know what I’m talking about  – those things we think we should do but we don’t really want to do.  Somehow, though, with the start of a new year, we have fresh motivation and think this time we’ll be able to do it.

Unfortunately, most people don’t have much luck keeping those New Year’s resolutions, at least not more than a month or two.  And there are several good reasons for that:

1. A year is a LONG time to commit to something, especially something that’s most likely difficult.

2. Motivation is strong at the beginning of the year but gets less and less.

3. Often the resolution is something BIG – like lose 30 pounds or exercise an hour a day.  It can be overwhelming.

While it’s a good thing to set goals and make changes in our lives, there’s a better way than the traditional New Year’s Resolutions.

The better way is to set smaller goals every month.  For example, if your New Year’s resolution would have been to exercise an hour a day and lose 30 pounds, setting monthly goals would look more like this:


Exercise 15 minutes, 3x a week

Keep a food journal

Drink 2 glasses of water a day

At the end of January, sit down and evaluate how you did.

Exercise 15 minutes, 3x a week – SUCCESS

Keep a food journal – NO

Drink 2 glasses of water a day – SUCCESS

If you didn’t succeed on any one of your goals, figure out why.  Perhaps you tried to keep an on-line food journal and you prefer paper.  Repeat this goal – unless you decide it was a bad goal – but solve the problem that caused the failure.


Exercise 15 minutes, 5x a week

Keep a paper food journal

Drink 4 glasses of water a day

You can see the goals are the same except the first and third were increased and the second was modified.

Repeat the process each month, and by the end of the year, you’ll have accomplished your goals or at least be a lot closer.

Now, the next really important part of this process is tracking.  If you don’t track, your chances of success go way, way down.  Take a look at these 3 ideas for tracking in your Franklin Planner:

1.  Color coding dots on your monthly pages.  My 2 page per day original comes with two Monthly Indexes.  I use the extra to record my goals.  Then if you have room on your monthly calendar, you can use the color coding dots to track your goals.

2. Highlighters on the extra Monthly Index page.   If you don’t have room on your monthly pages, make a calendar grid right on the page where you list your goals and use highlighters or a multi-color pen to track your progress.

3.  Checkmarks on the Business Expenses page at the back of 2 pages per day sets.  I never use this page for business expenses but I love it for tracking.  If your planner set doesn’t have one of these, you can easily make your own.

There are lots of way to track your resolutions – just be sure that you do! Tracking increases your chances for success and helps you see how you’re doing.

By Patty Gardner

5 Replies to “Tired of Failed New Year’s Resolutions? Try It This Way Instead”

  1. Thanks for sharing!! I love these ideas. Goal setting isn\’t my problem, but keeping track of them is one of my greatest problems. Checkmarks on the Business Expenses page looks like something I can use, it is visual, colorful and I can insert it in-between my monthly pages Jan-Feb.

  2. Great short and easy article to help us think out of the box.
    Tracking is indeed the most import part of setting goals and my tracking system is boring – but it still works.
    With your ideas, I’m going to think of a new way to track my progress and have it at hand in between 2 months.
    Thanks for pointing me into a new direction !

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