Make progress your resolution

Make progress your resolution

Achievement relies on our mindset while completing our goals throughout the year, and it doesn’t have to be complicated.”

Every year it seems like we go through the same thing with our New Year’s resolutions. Set some goals and do pretty well for about a few weeks and then give up by March. The point is, most people find themselves losing steam on their New Year’s resolutions after one month. 

Are people setting unrealistic goals? Is it simply impossible to achieve them while we have a million other things going on like work, family, or trying to get a good night’s sleep? It can feel that way, but it’s not necessarily the case. There are several different reasons why people seem to lose their motivation so quickly. 

Achievement relies on our mindset while completing our goals throughout the year, and it doesn’t have to be complicated. With some easy reflection and planning around what it is that you really want out of this year, you can avoid the dreaded February burnout.

Some New Year’s resolutions are outdated.

More than just setting goals better, we need to remind ourselves how our understanding of health is changing. Smoking cigarettes were only confirmed to be linked to lung cancer among various other serious diseases starting in the 1950s. Now quitting smoking is one of the most well-known resolutions out there. 

Why should our standard for goals stay the same as they always have been?

Using weight as an example, we’ve become accustomed to hearing that weight loss is a great way to live healthier and longer lives. However, that’s been changing for some time now. Studies are finding that exercise and fitness are improving health significantly more than just losing weight.

That’s not to say losing weight should never be a goal or isn’t important. Exercise usually brings some amount of weight loss depending on your routine anyway. It’s going to be different for everyone and health professionals can help determine if that’s a specific motivation right for your body.

Remember: Mental health is health too.

It’s not just your physical health that needs some rethinking around the new year. Creating self-care goals for your mental health is important too. While most resolutions set are physical health-related, those set around self-improvement and psychological health are still very common, especially for Millennials and Gen Z. 

Mentality can either stand in your way of improving your health or it can help give you the motivation to progress towards your goals. Taking care of your mind is often the first step to taking care of your body. 

What are healthier goals? How do I stay motivated?

If you ask someone from a younger generation, as of 2020, finding love, saving money, dressing better, and advancing in your career are all solid goals you can set. Meanwhile, someone from an older generation might likely focus on their physical health. 

Looking regionally also affects how people value improving themselves with differences like people in the midwest wanting to lose weight compared to those on the west coast who’d like to focus on exercise.

Those aren’t necessarily healthier goals on their own either. Let’s workshop those goals to prioritize wellbeing.

  1. Instead of finding love, think about what you are looking to find out of love. Start by setting aside time each week for meeting new people, keeping up with family, and yourself. Make it something you can manage and work towards, be it truly companionship or higher self-esteem.
  2. Identify what you’re saving for and create a spreadsheet of your weekly/monthly costs to limit non-essential spending and save money. For extra help, talk with a financial advisor to set up a savings plan.
  3. Define what “dressing better” means to you. Buying higher-quality clothing or apparel that better reflects who you are, might be the right goal to set this year. On the other hand, if dressing better is only something that you feel like you have to do, maybe your goal should be learning to let go of that pressure.
  4. Work with your company or mentor to set specific goals if you’re trying to get ahead in your career. Check out Udemy, Masterclass, Grow with Google for a variety of classes that help build onto your skillset.
  5. Talk to a doctor or health coach to figure out what the healthiest dieting and exercise regiment is. Set goals and milestones that you can progress in with them. Check out resources like our 10 (easy) healthy recipes guide for some extra inspiration!

Personally, I’ve set the popular New Year’s resolution of losing weight a few times and it only lasts for a couple of months before my motivation sort of fizzles out. It wasn’t until I figured out what I really wanted to see out of myself that I started seeing success. Instead of losing weight, I achieved 9-minute miles, benching above my body weight, and reaching a certain BMI set by my trainer.

These goals, like for many others, were easier to complete because I had something reasonable to help guide me. It felt like I had a finish line to reach each month and a clear path to reaching it.

What exactly goes wrong with setting goals?

There are different ways to set goals, and some of them work out better than others. Can you complete your New Year’s resolution without the goal-setting process? Maybe, but not likely.

Let’s look at motivation.

When you’re setting goals, are you looking within and truly asking yourself what you really want? Or are you simply doing what you think you have to do? Finding authenticity within your motivation will make success more realistic.

Extrinsic goals require validation from others. Intrinsic goals come from within and what you really want deep down. So when we ask ourselves what we really want, we’re looking for intrinsic motivation to get us through those inevitable roadblocks like feeling overwhelmed at work or your favorite show being canceled.

It’s harder to give up on something that you’re passionate about deep down compared to something that’s only externally pressured onto us.

Planning a New Year’s resolution with specific goals that you actually want to do will make a larger impact in your life.

The ultimate secret to getting past burnout.

Take your goals step by step.

Break it up little by little throughout the year. Take pride in the progress, no matter how small. All of your hard work will add up over time so celebrate every little milestone.

Remember why you’re doing this.

You wanted to make a positive impact on your life, that’s the true essence of a New Year’s resolution or any goal you set out for yourself this year. It’s okay if your year gets messy, your plans change, or you’re just not feeling it. 

Progress means you’re on the right track.

What to do after setting your goals

  1. Get some sleep!
    • Studies show that sleeping well helps with a wide variety of activities. Don’t treat rest as a luxury that you can go without, your mind and body demand it.
  2. Use calendar and project management apps to manage your routine.
    • This makes it simple to set time aside for self-care.
    • Asana is a good place to start for project management.
  3. Share your goals with others.
    • This can come in handy if accountability personally motivates you to stay on your routine. I can safely say that it helps me, which is why I don’t mind sharing mine any chance I get. (I’m going to focus on my mental health and not talking down on myself this year.)
    • Share in the comment section of this article to start!

Motivation doesn’t need to come first, and it often doesn’t. Let action lead to motivation.


New Year’s Resolution Statistics (2021 Updated)” Discover Happy Habits, 13 November 2021,

A Brief History of Smoking” Cancer Council,

Why Exercise Is More Important Than Weight Loss for a Longer Life” Gretchen Reynolds, 20 December 2021,

Want to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions? Get More Sleep” Michigan Medicine, 20 January 2017,

join the conversation


to top