3 Tips for Making and Sticking to New Year’s Resolutions

Photo by Julie Hotz

Is anyone else still in shock that it’s nearly time to ring in another new year?! I swear this year flew by faster than the last (I might say this every year though). With 2018 quickly approaching, now’s a good time to start reflecting on the year behind us and to think about the year ahead.

Are you a fan of New Year’s resolutions?

Do you end up accomplishing them or do you slowly lose momentum and finish the year with a list that’s only half checked off?

What if this year were different?

What if this year is the year you accomplish the goals you set for yourself at the start of the new year?!

Check out our 3 tips for making and sticking to New Year’s resolutions.

Photo by Triptographer Ryan Tuttle

1. Start Small

If running the mile in high school was the last time you laced up your shoes to go for a run then running a marathon might be a pretty lofty goal. Why not start off with a goal of running a 5K (3.1 miles) or 10K (6.2 miles) race? If you find that you’re progressing well you can always add “run a marathon” to your list or put it at the top of next year’s list. New Year’s resolutions can be made or modified at any time!

Photo by Tony Carranza, The Hungry Trail Runner


We’re all smart but do we all make SMART goals when it comes to our personal lives? This mnemonic acronym first appeared in the journal Management Review in 1981. It includes goal-setting criteria and is used in many work settings to help professionals set work goals but the same technique can be applied to our personal lives. Goals are more likely to be achieved if they are:

  • Specific – Include details of what it is you really want to accomplish. Don’t just say you want to take back your weekend. Do you want to spend your weekend hiking/biking/running/walking? Be specific.
  • Measurable – Make sure there’s a way to track your progress. How many miles do you want to hike in a month? How far do you want to bike or run each month? Log your progress.
  • Achievable –  Be realistic. Most likely it hasn’t crossed your mind to include “become an elite mountaineer” and “climb Mount Everest” as a New Year’s resolution. If you’re an experienced mountaineer, maybe it has and in that case, summiting (or at least making it to or past base camp) might actually be a realistic goal. Stretch yourself but be realistic.
  • Relevant – Make sure that your resolutions truly mean something to you and that you are intrinsically motivated to accomplish them. Giving an example for this one is tough because it’s up to you to decide what’s important to you!
  • Time-Bound – Be realistic when setting time goals. When crafting your resolutions, don’t forget that you can’t be an expert/professional in anything overnight! Think of one large goal as a journey and set smaller goals as steps along the way.
Photo by Triptographer Clare Healy

3.  Utilize Apps (or People)

Applications exist for everything from tracking your fitness to eating healthy or saving money. Check out Real Simple’s List of 10 Apps to Help You Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions.

There’s an app for that!

You’re not alone in the New Year’s resolution game! Talk with your friends and set group resolutions, identify one person to act as an accountability partner, or join a community! Want to go on your first backpacking trip? Join Shoestring Adventures on one of our hikes or backpacking trips and meet other adventurers! Want to start running? Find a running group to join – running stores and athletic stores such as Nike and Lululemon often have weekly runs that start and end at the store (for free).

Photo by Cameron Gardner

After all this resolution talk, if you decide you’re not a fan of the hype and would rather just set goals for yourself throughout the year as it progresses, that’s cool too!

At the end of the day, you know yourself!

If you want to live more intentionally and improve your life, think about what motivates you and what means the most to you and don’t lose site of that as you create your resolutions. Good luck and enjoy the journey!

Photo by Kyle Miyamoto; Doodle by Shani Leead

Feel free to share your suggestions for sticking to New Year’s resolutions in the comments below!

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