7 Tips for Setting Successful New Year's Resolutions

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Once again, it is almost time to set those dreaded New Year’s resolutions. That time of year where we set unrealistic targets for the year ahead; vague intentions to 'loose weight,' 'be healthy' and 'give up all of our terrible habits.'

It is not surprising that only eight percent of New Year’s resolutions are actually successful, since we establish our intentions after spending an entire month eating, drinking, spending, and indulging. We're often setting our intentions in a panic-stricken state with the new year looming ahead—without too much thought or planning and whilst in a negative mind-frame about our bodies, our finances, and often, our relationships. 

I think we can all agree, these are not the ideal conditions for creating a happy, healthy, and balanced 2017.

It is essential to set ourselves positive, personalized, and achievable intentions in order to be successful in creating the lifestyle that we really want for the new year. Below, find seven tried-and-true techniques to consider when setting your New Year’s intentions. 

1. Reflect on 2016

Reflecting on the last 12 months is key to discovering how to move forward to the year ahead. 2016 holds all the answers to what most fulfilled you, what was most beneficial to your life, and what didn’t work for you. 

Take the time to reflect on your relationships, career, finances and lifestyle to determine what you want to move with you into 2017 and what you want to leave behind.

2. Create Your Perfect Life

Allow your imagination to go wild for a little while. If you were without limitations, what would your ideal life look like? What would be your perfect day? Write it in your journal or create a vision board. Be creative and honest about what you really want your perfect life to look like. You’re one step closer to understanding what it is that you really want from 2017.

3. Transform & Recreate

Make a list of the components that you would like to change, reduce, or completely eliminate from your life. From reducing your caffeine intake to eliminating debts, changing your exercise regime to transforming your career. Understanding what you want to change in each area of your life will guide you to transforming your 2017.

4. Small, Simple, Specific

Vague, unrealistic, grand goals for the future could be setting you up for instant failure. Keep your resolutions small and achievable—specific to your needs and desires and simple enough to pursue. Intentions such as ‘make a million dollars’ when you earn $30,000 per year are highly unlikely to be successful in 2017. A more realistic and specific goal might be, ‘develop an online, side-project to earn an extra monthly income and save x-amount per month’. This is a small, simple and specific intention that may take you closer to making that million dollars.  

5. Make a Plan

Now that you have reflected, recreated, and renewed your intentions, make a plan on how you will achieve your goals for 2017. It is one thing to set the intention but it takes a much bigger step to execute it. Start thinking about how you can make your goals happen. 

What steps do you need to take in order to achieve your goals? What do you need to change, eliminate or add to your current life in order to succeed with this intention? For instance, if your intention is to change your career, you can plan to spend 3 hours per week researching other career options, re-train in an area that you’re more interested in, or apply for internships. Remember to be specific. 

6. Monthly Focus

Rather than going full-steam ahead on January 1st in an attempt to achieve all 20 of your resolutions before the end of the week, plan out your first 6 months so that you can focus on two or three intentions per month. Prioritize and be patient with yourself. 

7. Self-Belief

In order to move into 2017 with confidence and determination, you need to believe in yourself and your goals. Ignore all self-doubts, judgements, and negative opinions from your external and internal environment. If you believe in it, then you can achieve it. 

Photo by Ali Kaukas 


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Laura McEgan is the founder and senior teacher of Divine Light Yoga,  and the ultimate traveling yogi, leading Therapeutic Yoga Retreats, Adventure Yoga Tours, and certified Children’s Teacher Trainings across the globe. Laura’s yoga journey began 17 years ago, with her Grandmother as her first and most playful yoga teacher...READ MORE