How to make a new year’s resolution and stick to it

We’re very close to the new year and that means lots of us are thinking about what we can do in 2024 to improve ourselves. You might have one big goal you want to work towards or lots of little resolutions you’re thinking about. Sometimes it can all feel a bit overwhelming, and entering a new year can be a little daunting. Here are some ways to help you start the new year in the best way possible and hopefully set you up to achieve some of your New Year's resolutions.

Don’t try to do everything at once

Just because it’s a new year doesn’t mean it needs to be a whole new you all at once. If you want to completely reinvent yourself that’s fine, but it’s a pretty huge task! Try and break your goals down into more manageable targets. That way you can space everything out over the year instead of trying to do everything all in one go!

Are you being SMART?

When thinking of New Year’s resolutions it’s easy to be vague and say what it is you want to achieve at a surface level. But this can sometimes come back to bite you further down the line. That’s why you want to make SMART goals:


For example:

“Exercise more”

This is not a particularly SMART goal. It’s vague, there’s nothing set out to measure your success by, it’s so broad that it may not be achievable or realistic and you haven’t set out a deadline. We can make it SMART by instead saying:

“Complete my weekly recommended exercise of 150 minutes a week every week by April”

This goal is very specific, it’s easily measurable by the minutes of exercise completed, it’s achievable and realistic as you’re using government guidelines to back it up and it’s timely as you’ve set yourself a deadline to achieve it.

Try thinking about your resolutions in this way and see if you can break them down into SMART goals for the new year.

Have a plan

We massively agree with this famous saying: A goal without a plan is just a wish. If you don’t have a plan in place to achieve something then you’re not giving yourself the best possible chance. Think about how you are going to reach your goal and what you might need to get started.

If we stick with the same example of exercise then you might need to think about:

  • Kit – do you have the right footwear/clothing to get going? Depending on what you’re interested in you might need to get some specific kit!
  • Location – do you know where you’ll be going to do your exercise? You can research local gyms or nice walking routes in your area.
  • Support – Do you need any help from a professional? It might help to look into local walking/running groups or personal trainers

Once you’ve organised all of that then you can put a weekly plan together. Decide when in the week you are going to work on achieving your goal whenever it may be and most importantly…stick to the plan!

Track your progress

The best thing about setting goals is achieving them so make sure you keep track of how you are doing. This could be in the form of a list that you tick off as you work through your plan or in a diary or journal or simply a note on your phone. That way you can look back at what you’ve achieved and use this as motivation to keep you going.

Share with friends and family

By telling those closest to you what your resolutions are you can look to them for support. If they know what you are hoping to achieve and how you are going to do it then they can be there to lean on if you need it and they might even be inspired to join you. This could be a fun little moment during your new year’s eve celebrations to share what you want to get out of 2024.

Set a start date

You don’t need to start first thing on New Years Day! As long as you give yourself a specific date to get going that’s fine, especially if you have multiple resolutions, you can set different start dates throughout the year. This will give you even more structure and make your New Year’s resolutions feel less intimidating.

New Year’s resolutions can be hard and not reaching them doesn’t mean you have failed. Throughout the year, allow yourself to make mistakes and work through them. You’re only human and you won’t get everything perfect. Reward yourself for the little wins and be kind to yourself while making big lifestyle changes. If you need any support during the year our GPs are always available to provide healthy lifestyle advice and support.

We hope you have a great time celebrating the new year and that you smash your 2024 resolutions!