3 New Year’s Resolutions Mistakes You’re Making PLUS a Free Printable for an Actionable New Years Resolution!

Y’all. The year is almost over and I have to admit, I’m really not ready for 2017 to end!

So many good and amazing things have happened to me this year, from graduating from my university with my Bachelor’s, starting my first full-time job, starting my blog, celebrating my one year anniversary with my boyfriend . . . and the list goes on! For real, 2017 has totally defied my expectations and I just want the good things to keep on rolling. But it’s also part of the reason why I’m so excited for 2018 to be here, because I’m so ready to really take control of my habits and start making the changes I need to make in order to get the results that I want in my life!

So you know what that means?

The dreaded New Years Resolutions.

Now, I have to be real with y’all . . . have I ever kept a resolution for the entire year?

Ehhh . . . no.

Wanna know what ends up happening, without fail, every year? I’m really good about sticking to my resolution for maybe three or four weeks — like, really good. I’m always a part of that post-New Years rush at the gym that regular gym-goers despise, I make sure to cook healthy, I revamp my study habits, I keep my room spotless, etc . . .

And then one thing happens to throw off my game and it all. goes out. the window.

But not this year! I realized after I moved into my new apartment in June and made some pretty drastic lifestyle changes at the same time that I was approaching my resolutions all wrong!

So if you find yourself making these 3 New Year’s Resolutions Mistakes after just a few weeks and are ready to make a change, I’m sharing my three infallible tactics to help your resolutions become true lifestyle changes!

3 New Year's Resolutions Mistakes You're Making + FREE PRINTABLE

You’re changing a habit without changing your lifestyle.

If you’re on my email list, you know that my New Year’s Resolution last year was to completely cut soda out of my diet and stick to water for the entire year. And if you’re on my email list, you also know that I maybe lasted a total of three or four weeks before that resolution went completely out the window.

As an RA, I had a meal plan through my university’s department of housing which I would most often use at the Subway on campus instead of going to the dining hall. I would get the same meal deal every time I went: a six-inch ham and provolone sub on honey oat bread with lettuce, tomato, and black olives, with baked Lays chips and a diet Pepsi.

Even after I made my resolution to give up soda I would still go back to Subway and get the same exact meal — but with water this time. After one week of particularly high stress I caved and ordered the Pepsi to make myself feel better. It was all downhill at that point.

You see, I had decided I no longer wanted to drink soda (a habit) but I wasn’t doing anything to change my diet (a lifestyle) to make sure that I stuck with that resolution!

The Solution: Make sure your resolution addresses a change to your lifestyle instead of just adjusting a habit!

Even the most well-intentioned resolutions that feel like a lifestyle change often only address a habit that affects a part of your life, which makes it very, very easy to fall back into bad habits the second life throws you a curve ball.

Had I decided to focus on healthy eating as a whole, or even made a resolution to cook more often instead of just focusing on ending one of my habits, I wouldn’t have even had the opportunity to drink soda because I wouldn’t have been eating out!

Don't just focus on changing a habit for your #NewYearsResolution, make sure your lifestyle supports your resolution instead of working against it! Click To Tweet

Which brings me to the next point . . .

You’re focusing on the end result instead of the journey.

We’ve all done it, and chances are you’re already planning to do it now! Your goal is to lose X amount of pounds, gain X amount of followers on your social media accounts, raise your salary by X amount, etc., etc., etc. . . .

I’ve done it basically every year, specifically in regards to losing weight. It’s no secret to basically anyone in my life that I’d like to lose a few pounds and when New Year’s comes around (conveniently after two months of binge eating holiday food) that goal is always at the top of my list. It’s why you’ll generally see me in the gym or at a workout class religiously when the new year rolls around in an effort to get a jump start on my goal.

And, just like the soda resolution of last year, by the time February rolled around it had basically fallen to the wayside in favor of things that were more immediate: my thesis, exams, job interviews, etc.

The problem? I had a clear goal in mind but I had absolutely no plan for how in the world I would get there.

New Years Resolution Mistakes Printable

The Solution: Make sure your resolutions are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, Timely).

Goals and resolutions are great and all, but if you don’t have any idea or plan in place for how you’re going to effectively achieve those goals, they mean diddly-squat. 

So ask yourself these questions:

  • Is my resolution SPECIFIC? Do I have a clear resolution in mind that I can build a plan around, or is it too broad to effectively plan for?
  • Is my resolution MEASURABLE? Will I be able to quantify it so I know exactly when and how to hit it, or how to adjust in case I’m not on track?
  • Is my resolution ACTIONABLE? Can I actually build a plan with specific steps to reach my goal? Is it something I’ll be able to work for consistently and keep up with?
  • Is my resolution REALISTIC? Am I actually going to be able to achieve this goal or is it just lofty thinking?
  • Is my resolution TIMELY? Can I build a realistic timeline to achieve this goal, or am I going to get frustrated with how long it’s taking and give up?

If you can answer YES to all of these questions, then you’re already well on your way to achieving your resolutions!

Making sure your #NewYearsResolutions are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, Timely) is the best way to make sure you reach your goals in 2018! Click To Tweet

You’re not being realistic about your resolution.

I know we talked about setting realistic goals in the last bullet, but this is something that I really want to take a minute to focus on with you. Take a second to think about your resolution and what it is you want to achieve, how you’re going to achieve it, and how good it will feel to complete it. Go ahead, think about it!

Now think about your worst week this year. I’m serious. That one week (or maybe month, or couple of months) where you were barely getting enough sleep or meeting your mandatory deadlines or eating real food, you know the one.

Would you have been able to stick to your plan for your resolution this coming year during your worst week of last year? Or would you have given up on it for that one week, promised yourself you’d get back to it, and then never really came back to finish it?

That one fabled week that we all know too well is the exact moment when most New Year’s Resolutions go flying out the window regardless of where in the year it falls.

The reason? Most of us go into our resolutions with an all-or-nothing mentality so the second that we hit that week where “nothing” happens, we pretty much give up immediately.

The Solution: Make sure your resolution has a clear AIM (Acceptable Minimum, Ideal, Median).

Most of the plans that we create to achieve our New Year’s Resolutions focus on what we consider to be the ideal scenario, AKA what we really want to happen every time but at the end of the day will probably only happen some of the time, not even most of the time. But if you outline your plan with an Acceptable Minimum, Median, and Ideal in mind from the very beginning, you’re much more likely to continue working towards your resolution even after you have a rough week where you didn’t get as much as you wanted done!

Let’s say your New Year’s Resolution is to start living a more healthy lifestyle and lose 15 pounds. To do that, you plan on going to the gym or exercise classes much more often than you have before. A plan with a clear AIM would look like this:

  • ACCEPTABLE MINIMUM: Attend at least 1 workout class / gym session per week.
  • IDEAL: Attend at least 4 workout classes / gym sessions per week.
  • MEDIAN:  Attend at least 2 workout classes / gym sessions per week.

So even if you have a really stressful week and only manage to make it to the gym on Sunday instead of three more times like you’ve planned, you still managed to stick to the Acceptable Minimum you planned to achieve your goal!

Don't forget to have a clear AIM (Acceptable Minimum, Ideal, Median) to your #NewYearsResolutions plan so that one rough week doesn't make your goals go out the window! Click To Tweet

What is your New Year’s Resolution for 2018? Don’t forget to share this post with that friend who can never complete their resolution!

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20 thoughts on “3 New Year’s Resolutions Mistakes You’re Making + FREE PRINTABLE

    1. Awww thank you so much Emily, this really means a lot to me! You’ll have to let me know how making your resolutions goes with that printable! 🙂

    1. I know, right? It’s so easy to just procrastinate making one when it’s been so long since you’ve completed one! It’s a problem that I hope to change this coming year too!

  1. I absolutely loved this post & I can totally relate to you. I am SO good with my New Year’s Resolution but the first month & then I just go back to my old habits. I love the idea of my resolutions having an AIM. I feel like I’ll be much less hard on myself. Cheers to 2018 being the best year yet 🙂


    1. Honestly when I learned about the whole AIM method I was completely blown away and I knew I needed to write about it! The idea of having those contingencies was something I had never thought of before but I know it’s definitely going to help me a lot this coming year.

      I wish you the best of luck with your New Year’s Resolutions and with 2018! 🙂

  2. I make goals at the end of every year, and it’s so important for me to have goals that are achievable and I can actually cross off. I want to gain social media followers, but that’s so vague, so setting an actual goal like “I want to have at least 2k followers on [insert account here]” is actually doable. Or saying “I want to be more giving” isn’t necessarily achievable because it’s immeasurable, but saying “I want to volunteer at least twice a month” is. Being able to cross things off of my list is definitely high on the priority list for making my new year’s goals. I also agree that it’s so important to be realistic. Even when you’d like to do more, you have to make sure you leave room to achieve your other goals too (and to keep your sanity). Love this post!

    1. Thanks Emily!! Honestly it’s my favorite tip too, when I learned it it was so eye-opening and makes me more excited about setting my resolutions. One of my goals is to lead a healthier lifestyle, too, so here’s to us achieving that!

  3. I love this post. I’m the same in that my New Years resolutions never seem to stick and I find that I don’t change my lifestyle to change a habit or achieve my goals. Thanks for sharing and I’m definitely grabbing the worksheet!

  4. Great tips, Logan! I especially love that you included making our resolutions and goals AIM. I just learned about 3 different types of goals recently that I’m incorporating into my own goal-setting: realistic, stretch, and super stretch. I like having a range so it’s much more achievable and if I make my stretch goals I feel SUPER accomplished.


    1. Thank you so much Sheila!! I agree, having different levels for goals is a great way to keep you motivated in case you want to overachieve, and also to make sure you’re not de-motivated if you can’t hit your ideal. It’s honestly the most valuable tip I learned this year when it came to making my resolution!

  5. I’m definitely someone who tends to focus on the end result rather than the whole picture. Very difficult to reach your goal when you’re expecting everything to go smoothly and to change right off the bat!

  6. Focusing more on the journey rather than the end result – LOVE THIS!! It’s so important and definitely something I’m working on!

  7. SO many good points here! I have a few goals/resolutions in mind for this year, including exercising more and getting that ‘summer body’. I know that’s going to take a lifestyle change though. Great post!

  8. I never thought about having an AIM for my goals. I usually shoot really high and then when I can’t hit the gym 5 days a week I just skip the next two weeks. I’ll go with a minimum of 2 days and an ideal of 5 days a week. Thanks for your tips!

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