New Year Resolutions: How to make them and actually keep them

During the last 2 weeks of the year our TV, email, peers and even social media floods our brain with the idea that we NEED to make a New Year’s Resolution. I am not sure who came up with the first resolution but I can assure you that it is not a requirement of entering into a new year. What is a resolution anyway? A resolution is simply a firm decision to do or not to do something. So if you are hoping to make a New Year’s Resolution let me give you 6 steps to follow.

1. Before getting started on a resolution ask yourself three questions: Am I making this change for someone else? Am I making this change because this is something I’ve been told to do? Am I actually in a place in my life where I can commit to this? If you’ve taken the time to answer those three questions and are ready to proceed let’s create some goals for 2016!

2. We will start by identifying what SPECIFICALLY are you planning to accomplish. Being specific means you need to be as detailed as possible in what you are trying to accomplish. This is the time to include the who, what, when, how and why!

3. How will you know when your goal is complete? In the world of psychology we like to call that being MEASURABLE. Example: if your goal is to lose weight ask yourself is this specific enough? How much weight do you want to lose? When a set expectation is made that helps keep you accountable and able to gauge how much progress you’ve made.

4. Is your goal ATTAINABLE/REALISTIC? The hope is that you’ve identified something that you really want to accomplish but also something that you can actually achieve. When goals are not realistic we become discouraged and often give up with little to no progress actually being made. If you set a specific goal to lose 70 lbs in 30 days, while the goals was specific it is not realistic. Think about it from the perspective that when you set realistic goals, you get real results, that make you really happy.

5. Now that you have created a specific, measurable and realistic goal. Is it relevant to where your are right now in your life? If your goal is the lose weight but your still emotional eating that might present as a challenge. Or if you are looking to find a mate but you never leave the house then that as well may be an obstacle. To get optimum results goals work best when they are RELEVANT to your current position. Think about how much more motivated and committed you would be to accomplish your goal if it was meaningful to you.

6. Lastly, I want to reiterate how important TIME is for real goals. While the goal is specific and measurable at this point and your sure that this is what you want to focus on. The next and most challenging part is setting and sticking to the time table you’ve placed on your goal. You have to create a deadline for your goal, meaning by _____ date will have ______. While creating a time table it’s important to consider at action steps that may be required to complete your goal.
My hope is that these 6 steps have helped you to create goals that are specific to your needs. If at any point you become discouraged or need an accountability partner feel free to email me at

About Janee V. Henderson

Janee' V. Henderson is a licensed professional counselor, coach, and consultant. She is based in Kansas City, Missouri, and holds a license to service those located in Missouri, Texas, and New Jersey. Janee received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Hampton University and a Master's in Counseling Psychology from Temple University. She is currently pursuing her Doctoral degree in Counseling Psychology. Janee has certifications in Anger Management and Trauma-Informed Care.

Leave a Comment