How to Make S.M.A.R.T New Year’s Resolutions

Image by chanpipat from

Image by chanpipat from

As we ring in the New Year, resolution-makers the world over are ready tackle 2014 with a new attitude, fresh outlook and optimistic goals for the year to come. While resolutions can be difficult to adhere to throughout the year, DonorNation has a few tried and tested solutions for our goal-setters to make their New Year’s resolutions stick this year.

Scranton University psychology professor and author of Changeology: 5 Steps to Realizing your Goals and Resolutions John Norcross predicted last year that half of those who made New Year’s resolutions would break at least one of their goals by mid-January. Instead of being discouraged by unrealistic goals or failure to meet certain milestones, Norcross suggests a few easy and practical tips to ensure you stick to your goals throughout the year. Here are his top 5 ways to commit to your New Year’s resolution in 2014:

1. Work through failure. Norcross candidly reminds us that we are all human. We are not perfect, and we will inevitably slip up a time or two. The key to sticking with a resolution is to remember that fact of life and to work through a failed attempt. In fact, Norcross stated that 70% of those who successfully achieved their New Year’s resolutions said their first slip-up actually motivated them to stick to their goal even more. Say you slip up on your gym routine once or twice – that’s okay! Don’t be so hard on yourself. Learn from your mistake and get back on track toward achieving your goal with more gusto than ever before.

Photo by winnond from

Photo by winnond from

2.  Make S.M.A.R.T goals. According to Norcross, New Year’s resolutions should be S.M.A.R.T – specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-specific. Instead of generally stating that your resolution is to “get in shape”, define specific, measurable goals, such as “I will go to the gym three times every week for at least an hour” or “I will lose 15 pounds in the next three months by doing x, y and z.” S.M.AR.T goals are easier to track and can be achieved through a step-by-step process.

3. Have a support system. Having a team of family members or friends holding you accountable to meet your goal is an important tool to help you to stick to your New Year’s resolution. Whether you agree to walk or jog twice a week with a neighbor or discuss your goals with your family, being held accountable by others and not wanting to let them down can be a great motivating factor that can help you achieve your resolution this year.

Photo by BrandonSigma from

Photo by BrandonSigma from

4. Track your progress. In addition to being held accountable by loved ones, self-monitoring is another great tool to help track your progress and achieve your goal. Using a planner or calendar to note daily or weekly progress can show you where you stand in attaining your ultimate resolution. Tracking your progress can alert you to warning signs of early slip-ups and help you identify certain situational or behavioral trends that strengthen or weaken progress toward your goal. By tracing your improvement, you can also forecast small accomplishments en route to reaching your final destination.

5. Take baby steps. It is much easier to see progress when you take small steps to achieve your ultimate aim. Instead of struggling to strive for one lofty goal, be proud of small achievements as you work toward achieving that final resolution. Reward yourself with a spa day if you lose 5 of the 20 pounds you ultimately want to shed, or splurge on new workout gear if you’ve stuck to your gym schedule for an entire month. By recognizing even the smallest accomplishment, you will become more focused and excited about finally reaching your seemingly unattainable New Year’s resolution.

Achieving New Year’s resolutions are not easy, but with the right goals, a strong determination and a little bit of planning, it is possible! Making your goal known to the world is just one easy step to hold yourself accountable for meeting your stated resolution this year. So let’s hear it! What is your 2014 resolution? Share your year-end goal with us below, and make sure it sticks with these practical tips and tricks from DonorNation!

Here are some resolutions shared with us on Twitter!

@sandiegoHRmom I am going to stop comparing myself to others. And more importantly, stop comparing myself to myself. As a new mom I am not nearly as organized or as fit as I used to be before the baby. I need to stop looking back at who I was and start embracing and loving who I am today.

@thepulsesd I choose to believe in myself and that all my ideas and goals will be achieved. I chose to Dream Big and to keep striving for what I want in life.  I will be happy and healthy and let go of anything toxic and what doesn’t serve me. It is not good for my soul!  I want to be light!

@TheKimHong Volunteer MORE, watch LESS Netflix. GAIN muscle and confidence, LOSE doubt and fear.

@SDuncovered My resolution is to lose more weight, and my temper less.

@TeacherThankYou We resolve to give out way more “that’a boy/girl”s this year than last year!

@aloha One of our #resolutions: refocus our thoughts towards a more balanced life. Find out how: 


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