How to set New Year's Resolutions you can actually achieve {and a free printable}

If you sometimes feel like you’re as busy as the Looney Tunes Tasmanian Devil day after day, month after month and year after year but you don't seem to make any real progress, you may need to set some goals. At the end of all that hard work, you want to look back and see that you actually achieved something more than just getting to the bottom of the ironing basket.

The task of setting goals is not very difficult and it can be fun imagining what you can do or be down the track. Setting goals helps you focus on what you really want in life. Your goals are for you, and no one else.


1 | Understand S.M.A.R.T. Goals

As you set your resolutions, make sure they are S.M.A.R.T. - Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound - to give yourself the best chance at success.


What exactly do you want to achieve? Specific resolutions are more easily achieved than general ones.

eg rather than ‘I want to lose weight’, your resolution could be ‘Lose 10 pounds by next Christmas’.


How will you determine if and when you’ve achieved your resolution? Where possible add numbers.

eg rather than ‘I want to be a runner’, your resolution could be ‘Be able to run 3 miles in 30 minutes’.


Your resolutions should make you stretch to achieve them but not be out of reach or you’ll feel defeated.

eg rather than ‘I want to be wealthy’, your resolution could be ‘Pay off all of my debt by July’.


Make sure your resolution isn’t made on a whim but is in line with the direction in which you want to go.

eg instead of ‘I want to live in Italy’, your resolution could be ‘Go on a holiday to Italy in July’.


Assign a deadline to your resolution to keep you focused and on track as you work towards achieving it.

eg instead of ‘Earn more money’, put ‘Gain five new customer accounts by 31 March’.

2 | Review last year

Begin by reflecting on last year and what has been going well. Brainstorm where you have been experiencing success and happiness, no matter how big or small.

Next, consider what areas of your life have been causing you stress or you haven’t been making progress in. Write down where you think you can improve in each area.

3 | Consider your lifelong goals

What do you want your future to be? What do you want to be doing in five, ten, 20 years’ time? Note your lifelong goals. They don’t need to be S.M.A.R.T. resolutions, just general goals for now.

4 | Set your resolutions

Choose some of your lifelong goals to focus on and break each one down into the New Year’s Resolutions you will set for the coming year. Make sure they are S.M.A.R.T.

Then list the action steps that you will need to take to achieve each resolution and add a deadline for each.

Put these action steps in your planner - achieve these and you'll achieve your New Year's Resolution!

4 | Reward yourself

At some point your willpower may waiver so to maintain motivation, plan to reward yourself for your hard work.

Choose a larger reward for when you achieve your actual resolution but make sure you also reward yourself for the smaller steps you take to get there. Having something to look forward to along the way can help you maintain focus and makes creating new habits less arduous.

5 | Review yourself

Brainstorming, planning and recording your New Year’s Resolutions are important steps but unless you review your progress, they can be easily forgotten. Reviewing them regularly keeps them front of mind and keeps you on track. Plan to check on your progress regularly and make notes here.


After setting your New Year's Resolutions, you'll often find that some of the action steps you made are habits that you want to continue even after you reach your goal.

While you work towards seeing the long-term benefit of your resolution, you may want some short-term satisfaction which can be as simple as ticking a box to have a visual reminder of how far you’ve come. Maintaining your habit streak is sometimes all you need to keep you on track.

Simply download and print your free printable Habit Tracker sheet. Either type or print then hand write your habit at the top and then tick each day that you maintain your habit.

Add a reward at the bottom, even if it's very small, to encourage yourself to keep it up. Good luck!


To get your New Year's Resolutions Ultimate Planner Kit click the button below below and start setting your New Year's Resolutions in a matter of moments.

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To download your free Habit Tracker, click the button below to head to the Printable Library.


Happy planning!