Making Goals and Keeping Them!

Happy New Year!! It’s the time of year for a fresh start, a clean slate and of course new year’s resolutions. The most common resolutions made each January after the holiday season surround health, nutrition and wellness. Whether that be trying to lose weight, eat healthier or exercise more, it seems almost everyone has sets at least one goal to become a healthier person. Although most people start with the best intentions, research in the Journal of Clinical Psychology discovered that by the end of the first two weeks in January over a quarter of people that made resolutions had already stopped working towards their goals. Here are some reasons people may fall short of their resolution and how to become successful with healthy habits!

Road blocks of New Years Resolutions

1. The goal is overwhelming!

As we enter a new year, it is easy to dream big and set goals high! But setting goals too high can cause a person to give up and become discouraged easily.

Solution: Start small! If your overall goal is losing weight, start with stepping stone goals of 5 pounds. Beginning small with more attainable goals will help to stay positive in working towards your long term goals.

2. Too many goals set!

It’s easy on the first of January to go through a laundry list of things you would like to go differently in the new year (especially after full holiday season full of sweets and rich foods)! There can be too much of a good thing when it comes to setting goals.

Solution: Setting fewer goals increases the likelihood that the goals will be accomplished. Start with one or two concrete goals!

3. Setting non-specific goals

One of the largest mistakes is setting a vague goal. When setting a new year’s nutrition goal, the more unspecific the resolution the easier it is to break the resolution.

Solution: Set “SMART” goals. The acronym SMART stands for: Specific Measurable Attainable Realistic Timely. Using the smart criteria will make it easier to follow through on the goal. Check out this template by Colorado State University for help setting up your SMART goals.

4. Stress and life get in the way of goals

Sometimes things out of our control happen that cause us to stray from our goals. Stress is a common reason people stop perusing nutrition goals and fall back into the same, easy pattern.

Solution: It is important to not get discouraged when getting off track with your nutrition goals! You can also jump back into it. If stress is a regular part of your life, here is a strategy from the TED stage for handling stress.

4 Healthy Tips for the New Year!

  1. Set a SMART nutrition goal – Pick one area you want to focus on and go for it!
  2. Meal planning – Meal planning saves on money, time and helps to create healthier dishes!
  3. Each more fruits and vegetables – Try adding a few more servings of each during the week or even trying some that you have never had!!
  4. Be active, move your body – It takes time to exercise, but moving your body 150 minutes per week decreases blood pressure and bad cholesterol and maintains muscle mass.


  1. Mukhopadhyay, A., & Johar, G. (2005). Where There Is a Will, Is There a Way? Effects of Lay Theories of Self‐Control on Setting and Keeping Resolutions. Journal of Consumer Research, 31(4), 779-786. doi:10.1086/426611
  2. Norcross, J. C., Mrykalo, M. S., & Blagys, M. D. (2002). Auld lang Syne: Success predictors, change processes, and self-reported outcomes of New Year’s resolvers and nonresolvers. Journal of Clinical Psychology,58(4), 397-405. doi:10.1002/jclp.1151