Every year, people make New Year’s Resolutions, but over half of them fail. Why? The answer usually lies in our motivation and our goal-setting strategy. Whether you want to improve your fitness, eat healthier, spend less time on social media, this five-step approach will get you started.

Start Small

The excitement of starting a new year afresh causes many to put forth maximum effort on day one. That mistake is the primary reason most people give up days after making a New Year’s resolution. Avoid taking too many steps at once. For example, if your 2023 New Year’s Resolution is to quit smoking, the most effective way to succeed is to decrease the quantity you smoke gradually rather than throw the lighter and the entire pack away. Those microscopic changes are more sustainable and lay the foundation for bigger challenges.

Set Goals That Are STUPID

Starting small means nothing without an effective goal-setting strategy. The STUPID goal-setting framework—strategic, take into consideration, useful, positive, inspiring, and doable—will enable you to succeed without having to sacrifice your peace of mind and relationships with loved ones. What’s the point of reaching a goal if you can’t enjoy the journey toward it? Your success depends a lot more on what you do on the 364 days that follow your New Year’s Resolution than the New Year’s Resolution itself.

Find a Support Group

You can expect your motivation to wane as you work towards your goal. One way to prevent those lazy moments from disrupting your plan is to get a support group. Many research have shown the importance of social groups to individual success. For example, a group of researchers at North Carolina State University found that participants in a fifteen-week online weight-loss program were more successful than those who didn’t have a support group. I encourage you to make a list of possible accountability buddies that will help you after reading this article.

Be Flexible

Being flexible means accepting that failure as an integral part of the process. That acknowledgment begets a sense of agency essential to increase your odds of getting back on course after a failure. And when you fail, make sure you analyze and learn from your failures. To avoid one misstep from sabotaging your entire New Year’s Resolution, create a “back-on-track plan” with the actions to take when you fall short of your goals. Don’t blame. Don’t whine. Remember no one is perfect, so rather than chasing perfection, focus on your slow and steady achievements.

Celebrate Your Wins Regularly

Just as you accept and learn from your failures, remember to celebrate your success regularly. I recommend once or twice per month, but you can choose whichever feels most natural to you. You have gone two weeks without indiscriminate TV watching? Give yourself a pat on the back, you deserve it.


You may have tried consistently and failed, but I’m confident the year 2023 is your year to reach your goal. May you succeed in keeping your New Year’s Resolution in 2023.