7 Tips for Writing New Year’s Resolutions


Whether you’re a big fan of new year’s resolutions, or just starting out, these tips should prove helpful. I’ve been writing resolutions for many years, and when I look back, I have always found that I only accomplish about 50 percent of them. So I did some research and next year I want a better completion percentage. How about you?

1. Don’t try to lasso the moon. This is the most basic principle, and probably the most important. We all write down resolutions such as, “I want to lose weight,” or “I want to be more efficient,” etc, and rarely reach these goals. Why? You guessed it. They are way too broad. Human beings become dangerous when they focus their energy rather than spraying it all over the universe. Know precisely what you want and write that. Be specific. For example, “I’m going to increase my cardiovascular exercise to 45 minutes, 4-5 times a week, and create a clean eating menu to follow 6 days a week.”

2. Have a lifelong reason for your resolutions. If you’re like me, you’re excited on the first of January and ready to attack your resolutions like a hungry lion a herd of something delicious. But if you make a long list of common resolutions that don’t apply personally to you, they are unlikely to keep, and will only make you more wary of next year’s resolutions. You’ll turn into one of those New Year’s Resolution (N.Y.R.) doomsayers. Oh no! Don’t do it! Better to have a shorter list that you carry around your neck like seashells picked out by the mother of Achilles. When you go to battle, your weighty personal reasons will make a wake through the N.Y.R. infantry like Poseidon’s speed boat.

I want to get in better shape (who doesn’t, right?). Lately, I’ve developed this intuition, well, more of a projection, I guess, about how many books I’ll be able to write given my current health and fitness status. I’m ashamed to admit that I currently fall short of my goal. Interestingly, every time I eat more cleanly and exercise intensely, that number seems to go up. So, next year, I’m asking myself, how high can that number of books go?

3. If you must lasso the moon, at least have a plan for getting there. A way to measure the progress and success of your resolutions is critical. For example, how will you know when you’ve reached your goal? By when next year would you like to reach the goal? How will you measure it? Include this measurement IN your actual resolutions.

I find it easiest to write my resolutions somewhere where I can conveniently and periodically access them, like my iPad.

4. Life always changes, why shouldn’t your N.Y.R.’s? As you come back to monitor the progress of your N.Y.R.’s, don’t be afraid to edit them a little as things change. Remember, as the ancient philosopher, Heraclitus said, “We never step into the same river twice.” Don’t be afraid to alter your step or swimming stroke as needed.

5. Even adults need consequences. Don’t be embarrassed to admit that there’s still a little child inside you, now matter how old or mature you may be, who wants to just sit on the couch and eat cookies and potato chips and binge T.V. watch. It’s okay. I understand.

As you write each of your resolutions, include not only your lifelong reason but also what will happen if you don’t reach or continue to strive for your N.Y.R.

6. It’s okay to continue a N.Y.R. from last year. Yes, we’re not immortals. If we were, N.Y.R.’s would lose their luster, don’t you think? I always look at last year’s N.Y.R.’s while writing my new ones. This is a great time for reflection. Go to your favorite place, whether that’s the neighborhood cafe or curled up in bed with your significant other and cat or dog. Make N.Y.R. writing a fun and important event. I usually write them on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day. Don’t be afraid to carry over N.Y.R.’s that you did not reach last year. Think about why you did not reach them. Apply the tips above and other tips you’ve researched. Then re-write your new ones.

7. Think big but think realistically. You want N.Y.R.’s that are going to stretch yourself, but not goals that are impossible in the coming year, or goals that are outside of your sphere of control. This is critical. For example, “I want to make top paid 100 on Amazon” is a great goal, but not in my sphere of control. However, “I want o increase my readership and expand my book marketing by 25%” in an effort to increase my chances of making top paid 100 on Amazon” is.

I think that most people become N.Y.R. doomsayers because they think big but don’t marry those big thoughts with the reality of the world around them.

So, are you ready to write those N.Y.R.’s? Well, as Rocky would say, “Go for it!” These tips are in no way comprehensive, but I hope they will help you with your endeavors. Please feel free to add any tips below that you think might be helpful.

All the best in the new year!

Yours in literature,


Sources Used:

1. http://gretchenrubin.com/happiness_project/2008/12/new-years-resol/

2. http://www.wikihow.com/Accomplish-Your-New-Year’s-Resolutions

3. http://gradschool.about.com/od/goalsetting/a/newyear.htm


One thought on “7 Tips for Writing New Year’s Resolutions

  1. Annie Jacs January 6, 2014 / 10:47 pm

    Good list, Jesse. Good supportive reasons behind them too.

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