Forget New Year Resolutions… Try This Instead

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It is only normal to review the previous year, take stock and make new year resolutions. I bet you already did this towards the end of 2017. But if you are late to the game in setting your new year resolutions, I’d suggest you don’t do it.

New year resolutions are a myth. Why? We romance ourselves to believe that whatever we’ve been putting off doing for the entire year will become automatically possible when we give it a new name “new year resolutions”

Waiting for a new year to begin making certain changes in our lives is more like waiting until February 14th to show love to your spouse.

Most of us are familiar with the cycle: You’re all jazzed up in January only to find yourself derailed and demotivated within a few weeks. You beat yourself up for failing to achieve your full potential despite your best intentions.

Many of us only stick it out for a while. A quarter bomb in the first week. A third don’t make it past the first month. Fewer than half are still plugging away after six months. Fewer than 10 percent of us are actually successful at the end of the year.

I’m sure you have your own personal stories of starting the New Year strong only to get busy, fall behind, and eventually lose motivation. It has happened to me. Several times. More times than I would like openly acknowledge.  And it’s exactly why I don’t bother making New Year’s resolutions anymore—at least not the usual kind. When I think of my health, my family, my spiritual life, personal development and my business, I know some dreams are just too important to entrust to a faulty system.

Why do new year resolutions fail? Michael Hyatt from his latest podcast gives 5 reasons: 

  1. they’re usually vague.
  2. they are not compelling and exciting enough to cause action. 
  3. they’re too easy, not challenging enough and always within our comfort zone.
  4. they’re overwhelming. In other words, your focus is too broad. You set too many goals. And you’re going to be overwhelmed if you set goals that aren’t relevant and considerate of your season of life.
  5. they’re easily forgotten. Out of sight, out of mind. Life is busy, and forgetfulness, especially as we get older (don’t ask me how I know this)…
SEE ALSO:  Step 5: Set Goals...

So what do you do instead?

I am recommending 3 things you can do to have a better year instead of new year resolutions. I am sharing this with you because I have used this system for 3 years and counting. But, reading the steps is easy, doing them is something else altogether. I hope you give this a try;

1. Create a personal mission statement: 

There’s a reason we keep hearing the idea that the key to success is to know your why—your purpose and mission. It’s because it’s true. There’s nothing worse than going through years of blood, sweat, and tears pursuing the wrong goals. Mission statements work for individuals as well as it works for companies and organizations.

Having a personal Mission statement: 

  • helps clarify your values and priorities in life,
  • gives your broad vision clarity and focus
  • allows you to forgive yourself by forcing you to admit your weaknesses AND your strengths

How to create a personal mission statement — the easiest way I’ve found.

Once you have followed the steps in the article shared above, use this site to put it all together.

2. Find a ‘one word’ for the year.

For the last 3 years, I’ve been choosing a single word to guide me for the new year. A single word that sums up the essence and focus for the next 365 days of my life.

Change is possible, but focus is required. You don’t need a gym membership or more willpower, a new organizational system or a financial planner to make the changes you desire this year as much as you need clarity and sustained focus over time.

So instead of a huge list of new year resolutions that I’ll eventually forget before the end of January, I set goals based on my personal mission statement and my one word for the year.

It allows me to step back and look at the big picture.

SEE ALSO:  Step 15: Be Willing to Pay the Price


  • What do you want to feel this year? 
  • What kind of experiences do you want to have?
  • What kind of a person do you want to become this year?
  • What qualities does the person you want to become possess? 
  • What results, effects, or changes do you want to see? 
  • Think of 5 words that best describe your answers.
  • sum it all up. Pick one word that stands out or describes all the 5 words.

Once you have your word, keep it visible, as a reminder of what you’re working to create this year.

3.  Set Goals:

Goals have to be specific, actionable, time-bound, etc.

Your goal is who you intend to become by the end of this year. The end result.

If my one word for 2018 is intentional. My 2018 goal becomes ‘to be intentional’

Now, this begs the question, ‘intentional’ in or about what? So to be more specific, I break it down into different areas of my life. E.g;

  • To be intentional in my business.
  • To become intentional in my relationship with God etc.

This again will lead you to ask ‘how’ How do I make this happen? This is where you write out your action plan. What you intend to do to achieve your goals. Your implementation strategy for each goal.

Give a due date for each goal.  Break it down into monthly goals, then weekly and then you are good to go.

This system has worked for not just me, but also in the lives of countless people.

So what would you rather do? New year resolutions? or follow my 3-step process to getting your best year?

Waste no time on new year resolutions. Follow this process and you won’t regret it. I will love to hear how it worked for you when you do try it.

You will need a goal setting template to help you work faster. Enter your email in the link below to gain access to my goals setting templates. 


  1. mfon says:


    This is a great and inspiring post.

    Kudos for giving us a sense of direction.

    1. You are welcome dear.
      Thank you for dropping by. Have a great year.

  2. This was such a great read! Really motivational! Thank you for sharing and giving all these tips!

    1. I’m glad you liked it. Thanks for dropping by.

  3. i love the idea of creating a personal mission statement. ive NEVER thought of this. to actually define your mission, that could be so powerful!

    1. Oh yeas it is powerful.

  4. I think everyone is putting a resolution with a start of a new year because everyone feels so motivated at the start and as you mentioned it is always vague like i want to be a better person ☺️☺️. Your blog will make it easier for people to set goals for the new year

    1. Thank you Lamees.

  5. LOVED this post, Grace! So much yes! I couldn’t agree with you more. 🙂 My one word for 2018 is also intentional. Can’t wait to see what this year brings for us both!

    1. Dear Amanda, 2018 has a lot in store for us, it unfolds, one beautiful day and event after the other. Thank you for dropping by. I’m glad that you love this post.

  6. Victoria Henderson says:

    You’re saying don’t bother setting New Year’s resolutions, but no matter what you call it, your strategies for a better year are just that; resolutions for the new year. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for figuring out what you want in life and going after it, so whether it’s at the first of the year or 6 months in, narrow down your goals, plan strategies to make them happen, reassess 3 months in, and adjust accordingly. Great post, since it helps us remember to be “intentional.”

    1. Resolutions and strategies are two different words and mean different things. Yes, I am encouraging people to forget new year ‘resolutions’ (a wish or an expression of their desires) but rather, go further and more specific by turning those desires or wishes into goals with concrete implementation strategies.
      And that’s completely different from just wishing in your head to do or stop something.

      Thank you for stopping by.

  7. This is a great post. love the questions they really make me think about the direction I want to go. this year! And writing out a mission statement is brilliant. I’m on it..

    1. I’m glad you loved it Judee. Thank you for stopping by.

  8. Great ideas! I choose a word, or rather God gives me a word. For 2018 it is simplify!
    Nice to meet you!
    Your Front Door Neighbor,

    1. Nice to meet you too Tammy. I use one word too as my focus for the year and set my goals around it.

      I’m glad you took time to read my blog.

  9. Thanks for the reminder, Grace. We do need to be intentional about the changes we want to see. And be willing to put in the work too!

    1. O yes. That’s very true.
      Thanks for reading my blog.

  10. Great post Grace I have a one word for the year, and use my planner to set up tasks to do each week. Works really well.

    1. Yes, It works really well. I use the same system, but I’m yet to get a planner.
      Got anyone you might recommend?

      Thanks for reading.

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