Want real change? Ditch the New Year’s Resolutions and focus on supported goals instead

Ditch the New Year's Resolutions According to a recent Marist Poll, 44% of Americans are planning to make a change in the New Year. Many of the survey respondents are making New Year’s resolutions for better health or a happier life, with the largest amount aiming to lose pounds, exercise more or eat better. However – no surprise here – only 8% of people actually keep those resolutions according to a University of Scranton study.  Bummer, right? But it doesn’t have to be that way anymore. Here are a few steps you can take to create real, positive change in 2014:

  • Set realistic, clear goals. Let’s say that you vow to be happier in 2014. What does that actually mean? Do you crave more alone time, want less stress, desire a new job or a better relationship? Break down that big desire into a clear goal in order to make it actionable and obtainable. For example. if decreasing stress is your objective, then your action steps could include installing a smart phone app that takes you through a guided meditation three times a week and stop checking emails at least two hours before bedtime to give your mind time to rest.
  • Plan ahead. Haven’t tried to exercise since George W was in the White House but now understand that moving more will give you more energy? Awesome goal. But don’t just try to jog on the treadmill wearing flip-flops and street clothes (no lie, saw a dude in just that garb at our hotel gym in the Bahamas last week). Do some research and create your fitness plans in advance to ensure better results and minimize injuries. Many gyms offer a complimentary session with a personal trainer who can teach you the most effective ways to exercise. Search online for “how to” videos and content on running, Yoga, swimming better or just about any other activity. Tell the  Zumba instructor this is your first time in class so he/she can give you pointers and keep an eye out for you. And dress for exercise success to maximize your performance and comfort.
  • Make it real. The more you can bring a goal to life increases your chances of long-term success.  One of my big goals for 2014 is to finish writing and publish my book, which focuses on helping people get unstuck and have the life of their dreams.  I’m visual, so making this goal a reality for me includes journaling about it, having it become one of the cornerstones of the vision board I’m creating this weekend with friends, posting positive messages about it on the edge of my computer screen and more. Pick one of your goals for a moment and think about how you can bring it to life. Since weight loss tops the list of so many people, could it be motivating to take photos of your progress each month to share via social media, pick out clothes you plan to buy in advance when certain milestones are met, put a photo of yourself at your hottest on the front of the fridge as a motivator to make healthier food selections?
  • Get support. Sharing a goal with like-minded, positive souls can increase your chances of success. My husband, who is already fit as an Ironman triathlete, is about to start a 30-day Paleo eating program to clean up his nutrition. His triathlon coach is doing the same, which creates a direct connection of support, while I’m reinforcing my own clean eating habits by ensuring we won’t have any processed foods, sweets, items with gluten or dairy around that don’t meet his goals or mine either. Even this little circle of support will help us all succeed in our healthier eating objectives. Whatever you are focusing on, talking about your goals and sharing milestones, challenges and tips with others can really make a difference.

What are some of your goals for 2014? Do you set New Year’s Resolutions and if so, what makes or breaks them?


  1. Flip flops on the treadmill. Nice.
    I’ve got some personal goals and some business goals for 2014, but I think I’ll keep them under my hat. :) Happy New Year!
    Pamela Hernandez recently posted…Alcohol and Fat Loss Don’t MixMy Profile

  2. Great post!!!!! I am like Pamela – I keep them secret – just my way… :)
    Jody – Fit at 56 recently posted…To Resolve or NOT to Resolve in 2014: My Blogging ScheduleMy Profile

  3. One of my goals was to get a new updated blog up and running, mostly done today! Beyond that I have a few achievable goals that I am focusing on like my first marathon. Like you I am visual and my desktop is a picture of the trail I will run on and I did the same thing for my first half. Happy New Year!
    Jenn Speer recently posted…My Favorite Things About 2013My Profile

  4. Oddly enough, the only thing I feel causes me frustration on a regular basis is that I spend too much time at the computer. So I need to set some time goals, then get up and walk away.
    AlexandraFunFit recently posted…Rethink Your Day: Move Just a Bit MoreMy Profile

  5. Getting support is so important! I would say that’s the #1 difference between goals that I’ve achieved and ones I’ve quit on. I have way too many goals, I’m currently trying to narrow them down!
    Sarah @ Beauty School Dropout recently posted…The Bobsleddies, Part 2My Profile

  6. I love this, and why? Because people love resolutions. They’re fun and motivating. Who are we to squash that just because of statistics? We hear how “wrong” it is to set resolutions… instead let’s help make them more effective. Cheers!
    Suzanne @WorkoutNirvana recently posted…Your Training Year: Looking Back Before You Look AheadMy Profile

  7. Great post! I hate resolutions for the simple reason most are broken by January 15th, but your tips are a great way to help people actually keep those resolutions. I am not making resolutions this year, my one and only goal is to get to the NYC Marathon injury free!!!!
    Toni recently posted…NYC Half-Marathon Training PlanMy Profile