7 Expert Tips for Making Your New Year's Resolutions Last

7 Expert Tips for Making Your New Year's Resolutions Last

Experts recommend making goals smaller and more manageable
runner’s resolution for 2022

On Dec. 31, many of us set resolutions for the upcoming year, with goals that often revolve around making major improvements toward personal wellness. But whether the resolution is to save money, get in shape or otherwise, many who set a goal won't see it through for very long.

According to a new survey from health and wellness platform Burnalong, setting a goal isn't enough to motivate new behavior in itself. The survey, which gathered recommendations on how to establish and maintain healthy habits, includes the top recommendations from health and wellness instructors on how to make resolutions more effective.

How can you make a lasting resolution?

New Year's resolutions are notoriously short-lived. According to a recent survey from health and wellness company Medifast, not only did a mere 1 in 10 adults uphold their New Year’s resolutions in 2021, but nearly half (47%) reported breaking their resolve before the end of January. These numbers reflect a fundamental flaw in New Year's resolutions — buying a fitness wearable or gym membership may be a first step, but according to Burnalong's survey, these moves aren’t the key to sustainability.

Instead, respondents offer these top recommendations for both setting and sticking with a new goal:

  • Start with small and manageable goals (66%)
  • Write your goals down and make them visible (46%)
  • Celebrate small wins as you go, rather than waiting until the end (44%)
  • Use "habit stacking" (adding your new habit to an existing habit) (34%)
  • Commit to a "where, when, and what" schedule for consistency (32%)
  • Get a friend or family member to commit to the habit with you (24%)
  • Mentally visualize your end-goal (23%)

The advice from Burnalong's experts is generally supported by other findings, too. In the Medifast survey, some of the top reasons that respondents' 2021 resolutions failed were due to not following the tips listed above. Many reported having no plan for execution (30%), lacking the right support (22%), setting too many resolutions (19%) and pursuing overly-ambitious goals (15%).

Reaching financial goals

There is also the option to automate certain goals — financial goals, in particular — that wasn’t covered by the Burnalong survey.

When it comes to financial wellness, creating a positive new habit could be as simple as setting up a small but recurring automatic deposit to your savings account, or a monthly contribution to your employer-sponsored retirement. Once you're accustomed to making that contribution (even if it's just $50), you may consider increasing the monthly amount.

Those expecting a pay increase in 2022 have an additional opportunity to meet a financial goal. If your previous pay was enough to cover your expenses, you could automatically deposit the extra monthly income toward one of your financial goals for the year, like saving for a down payment or paying off credit card debt.

Methodology: Burnalong surveyed 2,500 credentialed health and wellness instructors on its platform; this survey was conducted in December 2021.