New Year's resolutions: How to formulate and implement them correctly

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New Year's resolutions: How to formulate and implement them correctly

"Next year will be my year, and I'm finally turning my life around completely!" - Well, do you recognize yourself here? On New Year's Eve we outdo each other with New Year's resolutions, but the next day it's all forgotten. "I need to rest first on New Year's Day, I'll start tomorrow," "It's the middle of the week, I'll start implementing my resolutions on Monday," or "It's always so stressful at work at the beginning of the year, I'll wait another week." - all of these are popular excuses that keep putting off resolutions.

Eventually they are forgotten and everything stays the same. So how do you manage to finally get over yourself and follow through with your resolutions? And what are meaningful and realistic resolutions? Questions about questions - but we have the answers!

The typical New Year's resolutions at a glance

Statista and YouGov asked more than 2,000 people over the age of 18 in December 2020 what their plans were for the new year. The topics of health, environment and family were almost always on the list. 31 % of respondents resolved to eat healthier from now on. This was followed by 30 % who said they would eat more Sports or to finally start doing so. Paying more attention to your body and getting fitter has always been one of the most popular New Year's resolutions.

But the respondents were also concerned about finances. After all, you can never have enough on the side, right? 19 % see it the same way and therefore wanted to finally save more. This resolution was closely followed by more environmentally conscious actions.

In the stressful everyday working life Time a scarce commodity. So often family just comes far too short and when was the last time you actually got together with your friends? 14 % of respondents were keen to work on this.

About health and love

From sixth place onwards, health came to the fore again. It is one of the most valuable things we have, so we should not take it for granted. Numerous preventive examinations are available to us completely free of charge. So why not take advantage of these opportunities? 11 % of the survey participants felt the same way and had resolved to go for health check-ups more regularly in 2021.

Smoking less and drinking less alcohol followed in 7th and 8th place. And what is just as priceless as health? That's right, love. For 6 % of the respondents, the New Year's resolution for 2021 was therefore: "I want to find a partner!"


Why New Year's resolutions so often fail

According to their own data, about one in two actually manages to implement their New Year's resolutions. So what are the remaining 50 % doing wrong? Do they simply not have enough self-discipline or simply too little time to implement certain things? Possibly, but in most cases the sticking point lies elsewhere: resolutions are not clearly defined and binding goals. They are wishes that are often simply said in a hurry.

Let's look at an example of this. "I want to exercise more!" Great resolution, but what does "more" mean? Have you gotten more exercise in one workout than you did last year?

You may have kept your resolution, but you certainly didn't mean it that way, did you? If you don't make your goals specific, you don't make them measurable. That creates an incredible amount of buffer for excuses.

Do you really want to carry out the resolution and can you maybe even do it together?

Let's take a step back again. Why did you make your New Year's resolutions in the first place? Because you really want to make a change or did you just go along with it because everyone said so? If you don't fully stand behind your resolutions and almost have to torture yourself into making them happen, you're making it incredibly hard on yourself. This is also true if you don't have anyone to talk to.

Especially with topics like sports, it is often helpful to look for a partner with whom you can date regularly. By the way, it is exactly this resolution that fails most often. This is not necessarily due to a lack of MotivationIt's frustration. You go through your workout every day, you can't even remember the last piece of chocolate and still you don't get in shape. You think all your efforts are pointless and give up.

But they are anything but pointless. You may simply lack the necessary knowledge. No sports pros have fallen from the sky yet. So get support from someone who knows something about it. You will see, once you have found the right way, you will walk it by yourself.

Maybe you were aiming a little too high?

Maybe you simply overshot the mark a bit and formulated your New Year's resolutions in a completely unrealistic way. For example, you resolved not to eat a gram of sugar from one day to the next? You'll be surprised at the small amounts of sugar hidden in all kinds of foods. Besides, a small piece of chocolate to reward yourself every now and then is not the end of the world at all. Instead of cutting something out completely, try consuming less of it first.

Keeping resolutions: Tips on how to really achieve your goals

We prefer to set goals for the new year that turn our whole lives upside down. That these are often doomed to failure is then no wonder at all. Who can manage to turn their entire everyday life upside down from one day to the next and maintain it without any problems? Don't be so hard on yourself and take it one step at a time. Break down your big, overarching goal into several small ones and keep working your way forward.

With partial successes you spur yourself on even more. We know from motivation research that the closer we get to our goal, the greater our drive becomes. This is known as the goal gradient effect. Are you having a hard time even getting started? Then write down your New Year's resolutions and visualize them!

Yes, it sounds trite, but it can help you! Put notes in places where you can see them. You want to eat healthier? Then put the note on the fridge, the pantry or the countertop. You want to exercise more? Then place the note on your wardrobe to remind you every morning to pack your gym bag and get ready.

Get company

Ideally, you'll find someone else who has the same goal as you. Your partner also wants to eat healthier? Great, because then the risk that you decide to eat frozen pizza in the evening is much lower. You're not just sticking it out for yourself, but also for your partner. You don't want to drag him/her down with you, right?

Your colleague has also resolved to spend less time on the smartphone? Then compare your usage times from the previous day every day at work. Make it a little competition!

Get started right away and stay on the ball!

Have you ever heard of the 72-hour rule? It says that you should start anything you set your mind to within 72 hours. If you don't, it becomes less and less likely that you'll ever start. Of course, the same goes for New Year's resolutions.

On New Year's Day you need to recover from the long New Year's Eve? You're welcome to it. But on 3 January at the latest, you should overcome your bastard - and do it with determination. Then it's time to stick with it! They say, until something becomes Habit it takes 21 days.

A study by University College London found that the average is 66 days. So you have to keep at it during this time. Don't be put off by minor setbacks. Once you've made it through the first few weeks and actually integrated your New Year's resolutions into your daily routine, you'll be incredibly proud of yourself. You'll probably even notice the first successes and that will motivate you even more, won't it?

Stay confident and do not lose your positive attitude

Will and conviction: These are the two main ingredients for successfully implemented New Year's resolutions. If they were just a fixed idea that no longer has any meaning for you the next day, there is no serious reason that drives you to implement them. If, on the other hand, it is something you really want to change, the motivation is completely different. Why? Because you are convinced that the Change will do you good and therefore be full of willpower.

Always keep in mind the positive effects that your New Year's resolutions will have. For example, you resolved to quit smoking? Then don't say, "I don't want to smoke anymore." Instead, opt for a positive phrase like, "I'll stay away from cigarettes and stay healthy." Sounds a lot more pleasant and motivating right away, doesn't it?

New Year's resolution ideas for inspiration

Let's start with the topic of health, because we all can't have enough of it, right? Classic New Year's resolutions like eating healthier or dieting are old news and often doomed to failure anyway. How about resolutions like:

  • There are no more convenience foods.
  • Alcohol is only served on special occasions.
  • In the evening only light food is served.

But you don't just make an important contribution to your health with your diet, but also with exercise. Your New Year's resolution could therefore be to move more in everyday life. Instead of sitting on the couch in front of the TV in the evening, a nice walk can become your new ritual before bedtime. Or simply dust off your bike and cycle to work when the weather is nice.

good ideas

More time for the important things

What is more important than family? Do you often miss out on time with them too? Then your New Year's resolution could be to declare Sunday a family day. Finally there is time for excursions, play afternoons or movie nights.

You can extend the resolution by stating: Family time is cell phone-free time. A day of reduced screen time is sure to do not only you good, but everyone else good too. And you'll have even more time for each other!

Or dinner becomes a family affair from now on. It's a great opportunity for daily interaction that will bring you even closer together. And food tastes so much better together, right?

Finally getting a grip on finances

The topic of money also occupies you day in and day out? Do you think you live relatively frugally but still wonder at the end of the month why your bank balance says otherwise? Then make writing a budget book your New Year's resolution. Write down all your expenses, even small amounts of money. Every week and every month you add everything up and get a great overview of how much you actually spend.

Often it adds up to more than you think. It's helpful to categorize your spending to see where you can save money. You can even reduce your spending by simply throwing away less food - a second New Year's resolution that could be on your list. Did you know that 1.3 billion tons of food just ends up in the trash worldwide? In Europe, it's estimated that each person throws away up to 300 kg a year.

That's a fair amount, which we should also reduce for the sake of the environment. It's helpful to plan your meals in advance, shop accordingly and don't forget to check the best-before date at the supermarket. Have you cooked too much again? Then freeze the rest in portions! This way you not only save food, but also time later on.

Happy through the new year

We wish each other happiness on every occasion, not just at the turn of the year. But how does one become really happy? Can you just determine to suddenly be really happy next year?

It's all a question of mental attitude. In our mini course "Being Happy", Christina and Walter Hommelsheim, our Greator Coach The coaches and trainers will show you how personal development can actually make you happier. With their valuable tips, you'll start a new year full of happiness!


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Reviewed by Dr. med. Stefan Frädrich

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