Tips, Tips, and More Tips about Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions.

For all of you who make New Year’s resolutions — it’s Day #2! How’s it going?

In case you need a little help making and keeping your resolutions, I’m re-posting a round-up of many posts about resolution-keeping.

Note: Some of you are thinking, “If making some resolution is important to me, sure, I’ll make and keep it, but I don’t do it as a New Year’s resolution. January 1 is just an arbitrary day.” If this describes your view, let me guess–are you a Questioner? It’s crazy to me how often Questioners will make this remark, in almost exactly the same words. Upholders (such as me) usually love New Year’s resolutions.

But I digress.

One thing I’ve learned from my happiness project: keeping resolutions (also known as making habits) is a key to happiness. If you want to make a positive change in your life, you need to figure out what to resolve, and how to keep that resolution.

Because resolution-keeping has been so important to my own happiness project, I’ve written about it several times. So, to give you a boost as you launch your 2014 New Year’s resolutions, here are some of my favorite discussions about resolutions:

Five tips for planning effective New Year’s resolutions.

Twelve tips for sticking to your New Year’s resolutions.

The resolutions NOT to make for your New Year’s resolutions.  (You’ll see that the person interviewed is clearly a “yes” resolver, as discussed in the second post above – in fact, it was her comment here that got me thinking about the distinction between “yes resolvers” and “no resolvers.”)

Should you have goals or resolutions?

A menu of resolutions for your consideration.

Six tips to hold yourself accountable for keeping your resolutions.
Accountability is the essential element for keeping resolutions. Especially for Obligers.

How you, too, can copy Benjamin Franklin. Benjamin Franklin inspired the design of my Resolutions Chart, which turned out to be a key part of my happiness project. (If you’d like to take a look at my personal Resolutions Chart, email me here—write “resolutions chart” in the subject line.)

Why I stopped drinking alcohol (more or less). I always get a big response on this issue.

Why NOW is the time to start keeping your resolutions.

The movie “Twilight” inspires me to do a better job with some of my resolutions.
I have to admit, this is one of my all-time favorite posts that I’ve written.

Don’t try to keep that resolution. In which I give up my longstanding resolution to “Entertain more.”

Don’t try to keep that resolution – Part II. In which I realize that giving up the resolution to “Entertain more” actually allowed me to plan a party.

Want to be free from French fries? Or, why abstaining may be easier than you think. This is another one of my favorite posts.

Onward and upward in 2014!

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  • peninith1

    I always MAKE resolutions at the New Year, but the ones I keep longer are the ones I make ‘anytime’. That’s just a fact. (Questioner here) Still, I love the ‘New Year’ feeling. That said, this year I am going to keep in mind my chosen theme word (KIND) and keep on working on my food and fitness regime, which I actually started on October 3, 2013.

    I have a habit-building regime underway, and find that your new avenues of thought are super helpful, interesting and inspiring as always!

  • Calebmiester

    Daily habits trackers have been the key for me. I started tracking the habits I wanted to consistently do a few months ago. The great thing is, even if I “fail” to do those things daily, I still do them more than I would have if I hadn’t tracked things. Win!

    I decided to write a book on habits (it’s free today for Kindle) to share what I learned.
    http://www.amazon.com/How-Wow-Habits-Carrie-Willard-ebook/dp/B00GZ81FTQ

    I am a huge fan of yours and of habits, and was so excited when I saw it was the theme of your next book!

    • gretchenrubin

      I love tracking – what I call “the Strategy of Monitoring.”

      Very happy to hear that you’re interested in the new book – hold that thought until 2015!

  • Congrats on being included in the list of books for meaningful change – you and your book deserve it, I can honestly say that the first time I read The Happiness Project, I felt like you had written it especially for me. Many of the lasting habit changes I have made in my life came from that book. (I often think about the “empty shelf” section when overwhelmed by the domestic responsibilities in life, and have been sure to have an empty shelf in several rooms of my house.)

    • gretchenrubin

      Terrific! I’m so happy to hear that my work resonates with you.

  • peninith1

    Oh my! This morning I got to January 3 in my “Happiness Project One Sentence Journal”–now I have two previous years to compare. I thought I had forgotten my word for 2013–it was “RENOVATE” But I didn’t forget it, I DID it–I had two bathrooms completely torn out and redone, one equipped for handicapped use for my Mom, and I had two bedrooms repainted and added built-in bookshelves. I must say the refreshed look of my bedroom and the terrific bookshelves make me happy every day, not to mention the lovely tile bathrooms and nice appointments. THEN, I embarked on a self-renovation project that I am continuing now. I feel a lot better about my supposedly ‘forgotten’ word of the year for 2013.

    Thanks Gretchen, your idea of an annual theme has worked out great for me, twice, and the one-sentence journal you designed was the tool that allowed me to recall that for myself!

    • gretchenrubin

      Terrific! So happy to hear that.

      • Aleisha

        Gretchen, did you ever decide on your 2014 word? I checked here and twitter but seem to have missed it if you did. Just curious.

        • gretchenrubin

          I’m still debating…”Now” and “Onward and upward”.

          But now I’m thinking that a word that would be better, though I would choose it reluctantly, would be “Delegate.” I need to do a better job of not doing things that I don’t need to do, so that I can focus on what only I can do. But delegating is very hard for me. So I don’t want it as my theme, even though that’s probably a sign that it SHOULD be my theme. Also, it’s not very zippy.

          • peninith1

            “Details” didn’t seem very zippy to me–until the end of the year of details when I saw all the mountain of stuff I got through that year, taking care of details! (Which I hate to do, by the way.)

          • Aleisha

            For me personally, “now” and “onward & upward” are too vague so I like “delegate” better. Maybe you could change it to “partner” to give it some zip? Happy New Year.

  • Jo

    I wonder if making and keeping resolutions is a key to happiness only for Upholders or for everybody? Upholders like to obey rules and tick boxes, right? Even their own rules. I’m interested in the idea you posed once (I think) that Upholders are the ones who write books about changing habits, organisation, how to be happy. Do these things work for rebels and questioners too?

    • gretchenrubin

      VERY interesting question!

      I think you’re right, these kinds of things appeal very much to Upholders.
      Questioners will do resolutions IF they think they make sense. And they won’t wait for new year’s, which they consider arbitrary—they’ll start whenever they decide they should start.
      Obligers struggle to keep resolutions/make habits unless they have some sort of external accountability. That’s the key for them.
      Rebels do best when they WANT to do something, so they must decide, each time, they feel like doing it.

  • BKF

    I have habits I would like to either nurture or discard but I am reluctant to call them New Year’s Resolutions. The very phrase seems like such a cliche and doomed for failure (in my mind anyway.) So there are some habits I’m inculcating and some that I’m shedding (using your helpful pointers and suggestions) DESPITE it being a new calendar year.

  • Pingback: New Year's Resolution Ideas & Balance in 2014- Diary of an ExSloth()

  • Vanessa Diamond

    My resolution is to walk more. Walking is a great way to get
    exercise. I try to get in at least 10,000 steps a day. Each 2,000-2,500 steps is
    about a mile. I use a pedometer. I love the exercise and it keeps me in shape. I
    got a great pair of insoles called SmartSole Exercise Insoles. http://www.smartthingz.com/products/insoles-for-flat-feet-plantar-fasciitis-shin-splints
    that are really helping me with my workouts. It has great arch support and a
    special gel in the heel that helps my legs from getting tired and sore at the
    end of the day.