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How to turn your new years resolution in to a habit

Happy New Year!

New Years Eve is the most common time of the year for people to decide they want to make changes in their lives. It’s a brand new year and a fresh start. Indeed a recent survey found more than 50% of all adults make new years resolution. Sadly, several studies have found that less than 10% of people stick to their resolution for more than two months. There are two main reasons people give up. First, they don’t make their resolution SMART. Second, they don’t make their resolution a habit.
Let me give you one common example – “I want to lose weight.”
How much weight do you want to lose?
When do you want to lose the weight by?
Is that realistic?
How are you going to lose the weight?
What habits are you going to change?
How are you going to ensure you are successful?

SMART goals

SMART goals are a tool used in business that can help us create new years resolutions. A SMART goal is:
For a goal to have a good chance of success it has to meet the SMART criteria. Specific means there is no ambiguity around what you are trying to achieve. Measurable means you can tell for sure when you hit the goal. Achievable means it is within the realms of possibility. Relevant means it aligns with your larger objectives. Time-bound means you know when it has to be completed by.
An example of a SMART goal is “I will lose 15 pounds by March 31st following the Scandi Sense diet.”


The motivation from the excitement of setting a new years resolution usually wears off within two weeks. To persist longer you have to develop a habit that will help you achieve your SMART goal. (You knew I was going to say that didn’t you?!) I have written a lot about habits in the past. You can learn more about building habits herehere and here.

How to turn your new years resolution in to a habit

According to Yougov, the most common new years resolutions are:
  • Eat better.
  • Exercise more.
  • Spend less money.
  • Self-care.
  • Read more books.
  • Learn a new skill.
  • Get a new job.
  • Make new friends.
  • New hobby.
Eat better. Start by writing a food log. Several studies have shown this to be a keystone habit and leads to naturally improving a persons diet.
Exercise more. Schedule time to exercise and make it a habit.
Spend less money. Start tracking what you spend. This is another keystone habit that will naturally lead to improving your finances. (E.G. “I had no idea I was spending $50 a week on Starbucks!”)
Self-care. The most common example is to get more sleep. The best thing you can do is set a bedtime and stick to it every night of the week.
Read more books. The most common excuse for not reading more is “I don’t have enough time.” Find another activity you can substitute for reading. For example instead of binge watching Netflix on a Sunday night, binge read a book!
Learn a new skill. Very much like exercise, you have to schedule time to learn a new skill. Sign up for a class or block out two hours every Saturday morning to practice woodwork, public speaking or whatever your skill is. Make time to do it, don’t wait for there to be time (because it will never happen.)
Get a new job. Treat getting a new job as a job! Set aside time to work on it every day. Network (this is honestly the best thing you can do to get a new job.) Work on your resume. Practice your interview skills. Search for jobs every day. Don’t wait for your new job to fall in to your lap.
Make new friends. People like people like themselves. The best way to find people with common interests is to join a club. If playing Dungeons and Dragons is your jam – join a club. You will immediately be surrounded by like minded people and are bound to find a friend. If cars are your thing, join a car club. If you like to read – join a book club!

Final thoughts

Start thinking about the change you want to make. If you pick one change, make it a SMART goal and build a habit to support it, you can be one of the 10% who succeeds with their new years resolution. Happy New Year!


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