Tips for setting resolutions and keeping them

Young woman with party hat with noisemaker on a yellow backgroundMany of us have just survived the holidays, and after that chaotic, stressful, and indulgent part of the year, we are beginning to think about some New Year’s Resolutions. Resolutions can be exciting, but they can also be daunting when we start to create a long list. Here are a few simple tips in setting and keeping New Year’s Resolutions.

  • Talk About It

    There is no need to keep this resolution a secret. Sometimes we think we can surprise family and friends with our change, or that if we do not tell anyone and we do not exactly follow through then there is really no harm, no foul. Sharing with others can be a great way of holding yourself accountable, providing motivation and lets family and friends be there for support when things get hard. You never know, you may also be inspiring them to make some positive changes for themselves too!

  • Stick to It

    It is estimated that it takes about 21 days for new habits to form and an additional six months to make it a permanent change. That means one bad day did not undo everything.  It means that each day is a new opportunity to try. Many people stop with resolutions after a single falter, but that does not mean you lost or failed, it means you worked really hard and you had a human moment where things did not go as you planned or hoped. Sticking to it does not mean you have one chance to do it, it means you keep giving yourself chances.

  • Keep it Simple

    Self-improvement can be enticing, and you may feel like, “Why not do it all at once and get it over with?! Getting it all done in one go has to be the easiest, right?” Wrong. Doing it all at once is what makes it feel overwhelming, and it makes it feel like even more of a failure when we do one thing wrong, regardless of how many things we have done right. Pick strategic small things that can really make an impact. Choose your goals carefully. Create smaller steps to your larger goals and choose deadlines. There is no need to change anything, let alone everything, about you, so focus on the things that you think will really bring you joy and make a difference in how you perceive yourself.

Happy New Year from all of us here, and may it be a year where you make resolutions that you do not ever have to make again!


Kimberly Burke is the director of the Adult Fitness Program at Colorado State University, an outreach program through the Department of Health and Exercise Science. Adult Fitness offers exercise opportunities for employees of CSU as well as community members, while providing hands-on learning experiences for health promotion students. To learn more about the program, visit the Adult Fitness website. More health tips are also available at the College of Health and Human Sciences Pinterest board