Managing Resolution Expectations in the New Year

Tips for setting realistic, health centric goals that will stick.
Every year, we all experience the pressure to set new year’s resolution goals. Unfortunately, many of us make these goals and we fail to complete them, which can leave us feeling like a failure. In fact, of the 41% of Americans who make New Year’s resolutions, research indicates only 9% will remain successful in sticking to their resolution goals. If you’re interested in learning how to set manageable goals for the year ahead, we can help! We’ve put together a few of our favorite tips to help you set realistics, health centric new year’s resolutions that will stick.

Ditch the “resolution” mentality

The phrase “new year resolutions” is a loaded statement. It implies that if you don’t meet your goals you can simply try again the next year. Case in point, 23% of people who set resolutions quit during the first week, and only 36% make it past the first month of the year. Rather than thinking of these goals as new year resolutions, think of them as long term goals. If you fail, you can start up again without the pressure of waiting for the new year. This simple change in thinking will provide you the grace and forgiveness you need when you have minor setbacks.

Manage expectations

We often get excited and carried away when we set new goals. As a result, we may set goals that are all but impossible to achieve during the span of a year. To avoid feelings of frustration or disappointment, set your goals with realistic expectations. We recommend selecting five goals that are relatively easy to achieve. For example, rather than saying “exercise more” or “lose 50 pounds,” consider challenging yourself to take three 30 minute walks a week or eat out only once a week. This will not only get you exercising and forming healthier eating habits, but it will also work towards your larger long term goals. When we achieve smaller goals we are more likely to succeed in our long term goals.


For a goal to be motivating and successful, it must be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-specific). Being SMART places our goals in a clearly defined framework to track consistent progress. For example, “eating healthier” is a vague goal that will not work to motivate you to succeed. Instead, you could challenge yourself to cook dinner every night rather than eating fast food. This level of detail helps us stay in control of our goals while measuring specific achievements.

Take it in pieces

There is the old saying, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Seeing a resolution through is challenging and you should approach it as a marathon and not a sprint. Create short-term goals that work towards your long term goals. For example, if your goal is to get a promotion, focus on the smaller tasks that will help achieve that goal, such as attending a training seminar or meeting a monthly quota.

Track your progress

Regardless of your goal, it’s important to track your progress. As you track your progress you will be able to celebrate your small triumphs and it will help you bounce back from any hiccups along the way. Tracking will also help you realize when you’ve fallen off track, which inturn helps you get back on track again.

Don’t be to hard on yourself

You will fail from time to time and that is okay. Even the most thought-out plans will experience the occasional setback. The important thing is to not let it get you discouraged or too quick before you’ve really given it your all. It also helps to surround yourself with people working towards their own goals. You can all motivate and encourage each other to keep going.

Cypress Counseling

The new year is a great time to set goals for a healthier and happier you. At Cypress, our team of mental health professionals leverages their expertise and experience to help our clients develop the skills and solutions they need to live their best life. We work with children, teens, adults, couples, and families from all backgrounds and walks of life and want to help you live a life where happiness and fulfillment are the focus, not anxiety or depression.

Contact a member of our team to learn more.