Creating New Year’s Resolutions that Last

Ah, New Year’s resolutions. Maybe they motivate you each year, or maybe you think, “Why bother?”. Studies show that by the end of January, over 40% of those who made resolutions at the start of the new year quit. There are many reasons for backing out on a new goal- life changes, unrealistic expectations, and lack of accountability, just to name a few. However, following a few simple strategies when creating and implementing resolutions can make you more likely to achieve your goals this New Year.

New Year’s resolutions don’t have to feel daunting or unachievable.

New Year’s resolutions don’t have to feel daunting or unachievable.
Hannah Shifflette, ©2024, Clemson Extension

Set a Specific and Realistic Goal

The first step in creating your resolution is thinking about what you’d like to change in great detail. Instead of making your goal to lose a certain amount of weight, consider what actions you can take to achieve that change. For example, this could be by adding 20 minutes of walking into your daily routine or eating healthier by adding a serving of vegetables at each meal. You also want to make sure that your goal is realistic to set yourself up for success. Does committing to 20 minutes of walking every day or a veggie at each meal seem unrealistic? Then, start off smaller with a 20-minute walk 3 times per week or a serving of vegetables with just dinner each day.

Set Yourself Up with a Supportive Environment

Once you’ve nailed down your goal, think about the tools you will need to be successful. You may need certain exercise equipment, workout clothing, or foods to help you reach your new goal. Also, think through any roadblocks that could derail your path and come up with an alternative plan. Bad weather may discourage you from going outside to exercise, so instead, think of all your indoor exercise options, like going to the gym or an at-home exercise video. If healthy eating is your focus, keep tempting foods out of the house or make them less accessible in your kitchen. In addition to tools to support you, social support is also fundamental to achieving goals. Friends and family members can exercise or cook healthy meals with you and hold you accountable, so you’ll be more likely to stick to your goal.

Monitor and Track Your Changes

While social support is a key component for reaching goals, self-monitoring is also important for accountability. Exercise diaries and food logs are great ways to help you track your progress each day. Some people find it helpful to write their achievements down with pen and paper, while others prefer the convenience of a smartphone app. However you choose to keep track of your progress, you will find yourself feeling accomplished with every entry.

Reward Yourself

With healthy rewards, of course! If you’ve been crushing your goals lately, reward yourself with a non-food or healthy incentive. A new fitness watch or water bottle will continue encouraging you to stick to your goal while helping you reward yourself along the way. You could also get a pedicure or massage or attend a sporting event to celebrate your achievements. If you prefer sweet treats, try learning how to make a healthier version of your favorite baked goods.

Stay Flexible

Did you get off track with your resolution? That’s okay! Life changes, and so will your goals. Instead of feeling down or giving up on your resolution altogether, do your best to get back on track as soon as you can. Also, feel free to modify your goal as you go. If you find the goal you originally decided on is not challenging anymore, amp it up! Or if your schedule changes and your initial goal is no longer realistic, alter it to fit your life!

New Year’s resolutions don’t have to feel daunting or unachievable. Start small and remember to go easy on yourself as you implement new changes into your routine. Using the steps above, we can turn our 2024 resolutions into healthy changes that will last a lifetime.

Related Resources:

HGIC Goal Setting Factsheet

Clemson Extension Rural Health Programs for Support


  1. “How to Create New Year’s Resolutions That Last!” Colorado State University. College of Health and Human Services. Jan. 2022. Web. 18. Dec. 2023.
  2. “Making Your Resolutions Stick” National Institute of Health. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dec. 2010. Web. 18 Dec. 2023.
  3. “Why Most New Year’s Resolutions Fail” The Ohio State University. Fisher College of Business. 2 Feb. 2023. Web. 18 Dec. 2023.

If this document didn’t answer your questions, please contact HGIC at or 1-888-656-9988.

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