New Year’s Resolutions for People Who Hate Setting Goals

Resolutions can fail if they’re not specific enough or if they make you feel too overwhelmed. Here are some tips to help you reach your goals next year.

Girl staring upwards at all of her New Years resolutions

If you roll your eyes at inspirational memes, or unfollow people who are unfailingly upbeat, there’s a good chance you really hate New Year’s resolutions. After all, what’s the point of setting goals when most of the time they’re simply not reached? It’s frustrating to fail, and some people choose to avoid the whole thing by just not setting goals.

Related: Realistic Resolutions

The only problem is that if you never try to improve, you’re just not going to improve. And life is about improving, not just playing it safe. Most resolutions fail because they’re just too broad a goal.

Have you ever set a resolution to lose weight? If you didn’t reach your goal, it’s likely because “lose weight” is undefinable. How are you going to lose weight? How much weight? What are you going to do to improve your eating?

The trick to setting resolutions when you dislike making them is to start small. Make microscopic goals that you’re almost guaranteed to hit.

Then, get specific. Here’s what that looks like in action:

Instead of:

Lose weight

Exercise more

Drink more water

Be kinder

Reduce stress


Eat 2 servings of vegetables per day

Increase your steps by 2000/day

Drink 2 more glasses of water each day

Write one thank you letter per week

Start a new hobby such as scrapbooking, or writing in a journal

See the difference? It’s impossible to hit a vague goal, but when you set a defined, measurable resolution that isn’t too far out of your normal routine, you’re almost guaranteed to succeed.

And once you succeed, you’ll keep going. If you fail at one resolution, you’ll be too frustrated to continue with the others, so make your first resolution a sure win. It’ll give you the motivation to keep going.

Related: Stop Making Excuses and Get Fit

Also, bear in mind that real lifestyle change requires repetition, so don’t make this experiment a one-week thing. If you need a reminder of what your goals are, write them down and post them somewhere you'll see them every day.

Look, as corny as New Year’s resolutions are, they do serve a purpose: They can instill good habits and make you a better person. Plus, you can totally write a Facebook status about how you’re winning at everything.

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