I don’t know about you, but I’ve broken many New Year’s resolutions over the years. New Year’s resolutions are easy to set, but so hard to keep!
Instead of setting resolutions though, here are several realistic alternatives to New Year’s resolutions to help us keep up with and accomplish our goals through the year.
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1. Choose a Word or Phrase of the Year
You can do this as an individual and/or as a family. Choose a word or phrase to focus on all throughout the year. You could even choose a word for each month if that works better for you.
Read more about choosing a word of the year in this post How to Choose Your Word of the Year.
2. Write a Letter to Your Future Self
You can open your letter on New Year’s Eve of the next year, or at another time you’ve selected. For example- after you’ve accomplished a certain goal. Write multiple letters for different reasons if you want.
In your letter, you might congratulate yourself for completing a goal, and describe how you felt.
Or write down what you want to accomplish through the year, and how you’d like your year to go, and find out if your predictions were correct.
You might feel funny doing it, but writing down your goals and envisioning how you’ll feel once you accomplish them will put you in a positive mindset, and give you more motivation to work towards them!
You’ll be more likely to write down realistic goals too, because otherwise you’ll feel a little saddened on New Year’s if you wrote down something totally unrealistic that you didn’t accomplish!
3. Create a Mission Statement
Family or personal mission statements can make you more focused in your life. Each time you expend time, energy, or money towards something, you can ask yourself how it fits into your mission statement.
4. Create a Bucket List
If checking off boxes gives you a great rush, then create a bucket list for the year.
Bucket lists can also be by month, season, or however you want to want to use them.
Related Post: 75 Summer Family Fun Ideas [FREE PRINTABLE!]
5. Do 30, 60, or 90 Day Challenges
30 day challenges are short enough that you can keep your focus and motivation high, and see relatively quick, realistic results.
You can often complete these with a group of people online, so there’s a good sense of community support too.
Here’s a long list of 30 day challenges to give you some ideas to start with.
Try a different 30 day challenge each month, or look for a 60, 90 or even a 365 day challenge to switch things up!
6. Set a Goal for Each Month
Using the month to complete a short-term goal can keep you focused, and relieve the overwhelm that comes with trying to accomplish a huge list of goals.
Use a goal setting planner/journal to guide you through the process of achieving your goals. Here are two top picks to get you started:
7. Track Your Habits
Would you like to change your habits, or keep better track of your current habits, to for example see if you really drink as much water as you say you do?
There are a lot of resources out there to help you with this. Both electronic or on paper.
On paper, you could use a bullet journal (this is a simple, yet pretty and inexpensive one with thick pages), regular notebook, planner, or paper calendar, or specialized habit tracker to keep track of your habits.
8. Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
One reason I think a lot of goals are broken is that there’s not an immediate negative thing that seriously impacts us.
For example, if I don’t exercise and meet my weight loss goal, I can just say I’ll try harder next year. But if I could lose money if I didn’t meet my goals, that’s another story!
There are several sites out there that allow you to “bet” against yourself and get paid for achieving your goals, or lose money for not staying on track.
9. Take Stock of Your Time
Does the day go by and you wonder where your time went and why you didn’t get anything done? What do you spend your time on? Are you being as productive as you’d like?
Choose a couple of days (ideally a week) to track what you do every 30 minutes and write it down. Use your phone’s calendar, write it down, or find a time tracking app online.
After you record all of the information, categorize it into areas and look at what you’re spending your time on. Is it what you thought you were spending time on? What areas do you want to make changes in?
10. Create a Vision Board
A vision board is something that helps you envision what you want your future to look like.
Make a collage with whatever represents your goals- pictures, words, inspirational phrases, or other things that encourage or motivate you.
It can be on a poster board, bulletin board, in a journal, or wherever is most convenient for you to see it everyday.
There are some really cool boards and board decor out there, like the ones below. If you need some ideas on what to put on your vision board, Etsy even has printable kits!
Read more about creating your own vision board in this post from Jack Canfield.
11. Do a Refresh of An Area of Your Life
Need a fresh start in an area of your life? Or want to do a reboot or reinvent your whole life? You don’t have to wait for the new year to do it. Pick a day and go!
Break down larger goals into small with easy, short-term goals. Once you have success with those, you’ll be more motivated to keep going with your changes.
Create Your Own
Or pick and choose aspects of these ideas to create your own realistic alternative to setting New Year’s resolutions.
Don’t make it too difficult on yourself though. The more complicated you make it, the more you work against your own success.
Start small and work up to bigger goals/achievements.
A Bonus Tip for Making Goals
If you decide to set goals for yourself, goals like “get healthy” or “save money” are good, but too vague and not likely to last long when there’s not a way to measure your progress or achievement. To give yourself the best chance of completing your goals, remember to make S.M.A.R.T. goals:
This is used a lot in business and an easy way to help you create realistic goals that are the best for you.
Happy New Year! I wish you all the best in achieving what you want in the new year!
Do you make New Year’s resolutions, or how do you approach productivity and goal-setting in the new year?