The new year is approaching, we may still be focused on Christmas, but some of us have started thinking about resolutions… You know, those promises we make to ourselves and announce on social media, then a week later we are breaking all those promises! According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, only 46% of people who made New Year’s resolutions were successful!

So why even bother with a New Year’s resolution when you’re just going to give up a week in? Consider this, is it something you really want? Is it feasible? (Philippians 4:13  “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’)

The top two resolutions people make are to lose weight and exercise more. Set goals that you are motivated to reach. So, let’s talk about a weight loss goal. Let’s say you want to lose 20lbs, why? To be healthier, to be more active, to prevent diabetes, maybe you just to feel more confident. But when month two of your diet and exercise plan comes around and you’ve only lost 1lb are you going to continue to feel motivated? Or will you just resign yourself to being overweight and grab that cookie you’d been denying yourself?

Manage your expectations

As you start thinking about the changes you want to implement prevent burn out by staying positive. Celebrate your victories and remember your successes and give yourself a little wiggle room for when you mess up.

Set smaller more attainable goals that will help you see your progress towards your ultimate goal. For losing 20lbs, rather than committing to exercise every day try a walk 3 days a week. It doesn’t have to be a marathon. Get up, get moving and don’t overdo it.

Make the changes gradually. Walk around the block and slowly increase it. Commit to drinking a gallon of water a day but don’t get upset when you miss that target, just try a little harder the next day. And whatever you do don’t step on a scale every day. Just check your weight before you begin your journey and check in once a month. As you walk more and drink more water, your activity will go up and your food intake will naturally adjust. Build on those smaller changes!

Allow yourself some grace when you mess up. You’re not going to do everything perfectly, especially in the first 66 days that you are building your new habits.

Help yourself reach your goals by being realistic, set SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-sensitive {giving yourself a time frame provides some urgency and gives you a time to celebrate}).

Write down your goals

You may be thinking “I don’t need to write down my goals, I think about them all the time,” right? That may be but writing down your goals will help you clarify what you want to achieve and force you to make a decision about your goals. Writing down your goals also helps you remember; we get distracted by life and resolutions and goals go by the wayside. If you write down your goals, you can refer back to it when you come to a crossroad to help you decide which way to go. Habakkuk 2:2 says, “Then the LORD answered me and said: “Write the vision And make it plain on tablets, That he may run who reads it.” When you write down your goals  you can also document and celebrate your successes!

Find accountability

Changes, big or small, don’t come easily. Making changes alone without any accountability rarely works no matter how determined you are. Share your goals with a like-minded friend. Meet and check up on each other to see how you are both doing. Share your struggles and successes. There is nothing else quite in the world like knowing you aren’t alone.


There are so many apps to help you track and achieve your goals! And when your phone is giving you alerts and alarms, they get harder to ignore. Schedule reminders and events in your calendar. Download an app to help you track your steps, or your water, or your calories. They can be fun to use and help you track your progress, which as we discussed is necessary for success.

Review your resolution and goals often! Be reminding yourself of where you were, where you are and where you want to be. Depending on your goal you may need to check in on your resolution every day, does that seem like overkill? Maybe, but if you really want that change sometimes you have to go after it.

Don’t give up when you make a “mistake”

If you fall off track and find yourself missing your reminders and tasks, get back on track as soon as possible. Don’t let it derail you. Struggling to get out for a walk? Call your friend to walk with you. Missing a task, skipping a step towards your goal isn’t disastrous. Having a bad day? It’s ok! Missteps are part of life. Bad days happen to everyone. What matters is what happens afterwards. Get up, dust off your pants, and get back in the swing of things. The key is to avoid a defeatist attitude at all costs, i.e. “Well, I screwed up once, why should I even try to do this anymore.” Don’t wallow in self-reproach either. “Forgetting what lies behind and straining towards what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14)