As the final days of 2020 count down, and we all prepare for the new year, one thing is on all our minds.
We’re not just asking, how you spending new year’s eve, but what’s your new year’s resolution?
Although it’s an exciting holiday talking point, there’s something personal and private about writing a new year’s resolution.
Like a wish made on a birthday candle, it feels like an exciting secret we should keep to ourselves.
Words, wishes, hopes, and dreams for the new year ahead. What does 2021 have in store for you?
The truth is that most of us will fall into one of two groups: those who set new year’s resolutions, and those who don’t. Like licorice or cilantro, you either love writing new year’s resolutions or you don’t. Which are you?
Do you believe in the power of setting new year’s resolutions? Or do you think those who make resolutions are foolish and silly?
The honest truth is that writing a new year’s resolutions is a tradition, not a tactic for success in the new year. Research shows that 80% of people failing their resolutions by February, and only 8% actually keeping their resolutions.
So, should you even bother writing a new year’s resolution for 2021? If the odds are stacked against you? Of course! You should embrace this new year’s eve tradition because it’s a fun and inspiring way to begin a new year.
Do it with your eyes wide open, knowing that it’s not the end-all and by all of making your goals and dreams come true! You need to do more than just write a new year’s resolution to keep a new year’s resolution. But, with these resolution writing tips below, you’ll be on your way to belonging to the 8% that defies the odds and achieves their resolutions.
Here are 7 ways to write a new year’s resolution that you’ll actually stick to all year long. Plus, get your FREE New Year’s Resolution Printable.
The Origins of New Year’s Resolutions
Mind if we talk a minute to discuss the history of new year’s resolutions? It’s relevant, promise!
Over 4,000 years ago, when the new year started in mid-March, the ancient Babylonians made new year’s resolutions to the gods. For them, keeping their promises to repay debts and return anything they borrowed would bring them favor and blessings in the new year.
The key lesson here is that it was all about keeping their new year’s resolutions, not just making them. The same can be said for the ancient Romans who celebrated the new year with reflections on the past year, and preparations for the new year.
Many cultures, religions, and groups of people throughout the ages have marked the new year with a reflection on the last year and recommitment to be or do better in the new year. These are the two main ingredients for writing a new year’s resolution.
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One BIG difference between then and now is that your writing a new year’s resolution for you, not the gods or anyone else. This is a “promise” to yourself, that needs a plan to achieve it. It’s not up to some higher power to bring it to pass, that’s all on you. You can bet that’s something the 8% understand.
With this in mind, here are 7 ways to write a new year’s resolution for 2021.
7 Ways to Write a New Year’s Resolution
Before we get to some easy to follow formulas for writing your new year’s resolution, let’s go over a few ground rules. Think of these are the top mistakes people make when making resolutions.
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- Forget what you think your resolution should be, write whatever you want
- Write out of hope for the future, not fear of what might happen
- Your resolution doesn’t have to be big and epic, it can be simple
- Don’t worry what anyone will think or say, your resolution is for you
- Make it all about what actually matters the most to you
Got it? Awesome, that’s how you choose the right new year’s resolution for you, that you can actually keep.
#1. Using Guiding Prompts
Why stare at a blank sheet of paper, when you can get help from guiding prompts. If you’re not sure what a prompt is, they’re a short phrase that starts a sentence. You simply complete it!
Since we’re using them to write a new year’s resolution, the perfect guiding prompts will include catch-phases for the new year and positive affirmative statements like “I will.”
Here are five guiding prompts to help you write your new year’s resolution:
- In 2021, I will…
- My best year ever is…
- This year, I’m going to…
- New year, new me means…
- My best year yet will…
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Remember, your new year’s resolution is for you, and you alone!
#2. With Action Words
What will you do in 2021? Do you know? Need some ideas thinking of the perfect new year’s resolution for you?
To help you brainstorm new year’s resolution ideas, use verbs and action words like “start,” “stop,” “create” and “become.”
Here are ten more powerful action words to help you write a new year’s resolution:
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Just like your guiding prompts above, use these action words to help you think of all the things you’ll do in the new year. Click here to get your free New Year’s Resolution Printable with an entire page of action words.
Isn’t this a fun way to make a list of all the amazing things you’ll do in 2021?
#3. Ask Reflection Questions
We ask questions so we can get answers! That’s why answering self-reflection questions about the new year are one of the best ways to write a new year’s resolution.
Remember, that reflecting on the past and thinking about the future is the ancient recipe for making a new year’s resolution.
You can take some time to review your year with questions like,
- How do you feel about your last year?
- What about 2020 feels unfinished, or incomplete?
- Did you accomplish your goals? Why or why not?
- What would you do if anything was possible?
- How can you make your life better in the new year?
- What’s one thing you would change about your life?
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You get the idea! The point of these questions is to get to the heart of what you really, truly want to achieve in 2021. Keep it simple remember, focus on what matters to you the most, not what you think you should.
#4. Make it SMART
One of the best ways to write a resolution you can keep is to make it a “SMART” resolution! Essentially, it’s a SMART goal that you’re calling your resolution.
In case you’re not familiar with the term, S.M.A.R.T. goals are the gold standard in goal setting. Being specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound, they’re one of the best ways to avoid goal-setting mistakes and failure.
So, why not use this framework to help you write a new year’s resolution? Sounds like the perfect plan.
To write a new year’s resolution that’s also a S.M.A.R.T. goal, it needs to check each of these boxes:
- Specific: What exactly do you want to achieve?
- Measurable: How will you measure success or failure?
- Attainable: Can you actually achieve this?
- Relevant: Is this the best resolution for you?
- Time-bound: How much time do you need?
Examples of SMART New Year’s Resolutions:
To help you make sure your own resolution meets these requirements, here are two of the most popular new year’s resolutions rewritten as SMART resolutions.
#1. “Get rich” or “make more money”
- I will increase my income by $10,000 in 2021 by cutting back on spending and starting a side-hustle business so that I can save up a down payment for a home for my family.
#2. “Get fit in the new year” or “lose the weight”
- By October 2021, I will lose 25 lbs and keep it off for good with daily exercise and eating healthy meals so that I can finally breath better and keep up with my kids.
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Take your resolutions and make them SMART goals too.
#5. Reflect on Your Life
Want to write a new year’s resolution that really matters to you? Take time to reflect on all the areas of your life to find the perfect focus for 2021.
Sometimes it’s hard to think of the best resolution to set when you’re reflecting on your life as a whole. Questions like, “what’s your greatest challenge” or even “how would you change your life for the better,” can be hard to answer without a point of reference.
If these questions make you go glossy-eyed, then taking the time to reflect on each individual area of your life is the right choice. Don’t think about everything at once, just one area at a time.
There are ten distinct areas of your life, where do you stand in each?
- Physical Health and Fitness
- Emotional Wellbeing and Wellness
- Finances and Money Habits
- Spirituality and Connection
- Experiences and Everyday Life
- Relationships, Family, and Friendships
- Career and Worklife
- Education and Learning
- Community and Belonging
- Mind and Mental Life
Not sure what’s most important to you? Take the FREE New Year’s Resolution Quiz to discover which is your #1 concern for 2021.
#6. Think Less and More
If you’re looking for a super simple way to write a new year’s resolution, this is it! Think in terms of doing less of this, and doing more of this in 2021.
Grab a sheet of paper, and make two columns (or get your FREE New Year’s Resolution Workbook). Then write down everything you want to do less of in the new year, and all the things you want to do more of.
Is there a more simple formula for living a happy life?
Here are some examples to help you with your list:
- Do less complaining, feeling guilty, thinking negative thoughts, eating junk food
- Do more meditation, things that make me smile, mental health days, taco Tuesdays
Keep it simple, even slightly silly if your life, remember it’s your new year’s resolution.
The best part about thinking in terms of less and more is that you’re already making a list of perfect daily habits to start in the new year. It’s the small changes that make a big difference.
#7. Use Power Words
Have you heard about power words before? They’re the types of words that excite, inspire, and motivate you when you use them. Power words are full of emotion and feeling. When you read them, you can literally feel it!
Similar to the action words above, power words are perfect for writing your new year’s resolution. You can also add them to your already written resolution for an extra bit of something.
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There’s an endless list of power words for you to choose from, but here are some truly spectacular ones:
New Year’s Resolution Printable
Ready to write your new year’s resolution for 2021? Get your free 6-page New Year’s Resolution workbook, with action words, less and more of life reflection, and power words pages.
There you have it! Seven ways to write a new year’s resolution you not only care about but can actually keep.
May you have endless ideas for new year’s resolutions and make the most of 2021.
Don't just set any old new year's resolution for 2021! Click here for how to write a new year's resolution you can keep. Plus, get your FREE Printable New Year's Resolution Worksheet. #NewYearsResolution
How do you write a New Year’s Resolutions?
Last Updated on July 11, 2021