Welcome to 2024! This first week of January is usually all about the new. New year, new you, and often, New Year’s Resolutions. Many of us have already likely taken part in the age-old tradition of setting goals we want to achieve in this next journey around the sun. But, if we’re being honest, how often do we make these resolutions…and how often do we stick to them? So as we start the new year, we want to show you 6 sustainable alternatives to New Year’s resolutions to help you achieve your goals in 2024.
Many of us find ourselves caught in the cycle of making promises to transform our lives, only to see those resolutions crumble way before we’ve seen any real change. But not this year! Not by a long shot! And not if we can help it!
But before we dive into how we’re setting ourselves up for success in 2024, let’s dive a little deeper into New Year’s Resolutions, shall we?
Some New Year’s Resolutions Stats
Here’s a fun fact! (Okay, realistically, it’s not actually a fun fact, but it is interesting…) Did you know that the success rate of New Year’s Resolutions is pretty dismal? So dismal, in fact, some studies suggest that around 80% of resolutions fail by the second week of February. February!
But it gets worse! There are other statistics that show that by the second Friday in January, all those well-meaning resolutions have flown the coop. They even have a name for this occurrence…Quitters Day!
So, why do these well-intentioned resolutions crumble so quickly? There are a number of factors to consider. But on the whole, the answer lies in the unrealistic expectations and the pressure we put on ourselves to make drastic changes overnight.
New Year, New You…NO MORE New Year’s Resolutions!
So, as we enter 2024, we want to propose something new when we talk about New Year’s Resolutions. We want to help you achieve your goals and dreams, but in a way that lasts and yields actual results. It’s time to break free from this resolutions rut and explore alternatives that not only endure but lead to genuine, lasting change. So we have compiled a list of sustainable alternatives to New Year’s resolutions to help you make 2024 YOUR year!
Sustainable Alternatives to New Year’s Resolutions to Help You Actually Achieve Your Goals
1. Set Realistic Goals
First up, when it comes to alternatives to New Year’s resolutions, and swapping out the old habit for something NEW, and sustainable, we start by learning to set realistic goals.
Too often, when we set those New Year’s resolutions, we’re setting the resolutions we think we’re supposed to set. Perhaps even ones we feel pressure to set. But guess what?! Using that method will get you nowhere quickly when it comes to actually achieving your goals for 2024.
So, what can you do instead?
You can set realistic goals. Goals that are realistic for YOU!
And then take it one step further. Instead of aiming for a complete overhaul in whatever areas of your life, set those realistic “for you” goals, and then break down your goals into smaller, more achievable steps. This not only makes your objectives more manageable but also increases your chances of success. And each time you achieve one of the small steps, you’ll get a massive boost of motivation, encouraging you to keep on the path to achieving your goals.
Embracing this incremental approach can help to ensure a steady progression towards your desired outcomes. Remember, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. And each small step is an important stride toward sustainable personal growth.
2. Focus on Habits, Not Resolutions
Up next on our list for better, more sustainable alternatives to New Year’s resolutions is to focus on changing habits, not on pursuing often unattainable resolutions.
Resolutions usually focus on a specific outcome, and we either “win or lose” based solely on whether or not we achieve said outcome. But habits, on the other hand, are the building blocks of lasting change.
Habits form the backbone of our daily routines and behaviors, and making even small adjustments to them leads to realistic, long-term improvement.
So, how do you apply this to you in 2024?
Identify habits that align with your goals and work on incorporating them into your daily routine. Over time, these changes will become your new habits, and this then leads to sustainable transformation.
But you should also take a good look at your goals, and have an honest conversation with yourself. Do you currently have any less-than-helpful habits that are in opposition to these goals? Or ones that could be hurdles on your path to success in 2024? These bad habits need attention, too! Look at ways that you can phase them out, or swap them for better habits. (Remember – this will not happen overnight! And that’s OKAY! You’re after sustainable change after all!)
By doing this, you’re clearing the path to achieving your goals. And you’re helping set yourself up for success by making that success more achievable.
3. Choose a Theme for the Year
Another really effective and sustainable alternative to New Year’s resolutions is to choose a theme for 2024. This could be a word or phrase that encapsulates the heart of what you want to achieve in this trip around the sun. A theme is far less rigid than a resolution, meaning that it allows for flexibility as you pursue your goals.
Rather than a “black and white” outcome – that you either hit or miss and so either pass or fail – a theme becomes an adaptable framework on your road to success and personal growth. It’s a really freeing way to set and then work to achieve your goals. A theme for the year also helps to provide room for those inevitable setbacks, hurdles, or “hiccups” as you pursue your goals. A theme can help you see these as part of the process, rather than failures.
With a theme for the year, you are free to explore all kinds of different strategies and opportunities, or simply feel the freedom to try new things that align with your chosen theme. Rather than that feeling of being on a strict deadline with no room for error that is often a by-product of resolutions.
4. Create a Vision Board
Creating a vision board is another of the fantastic and actually sustainable alternatives to New Year’s resolutions.
Vision boards are a practical, tangible way to set your goals for the year. And they can also be a powerful, visual motivator on your journey to achieving your goals. Vision boards empower you to stay connected to your aspirations with a sense of purpose and enthusiasm throughout the year.
A simple way to create a vision board is to take your goals and your theme for the year, and then use images and words that resonate with and reflect these. Place it somewhere visible, and it will serve as a bright, daily reminder of your objectives and will keep you inspired to stick to your goals throughout the year.
The act of creating a vision board is also mindful practice (more on that in our next strategy!), and can help reinforce your goals within you, serving as an extra motivator to make those habit changes we spoke about previously.
So, let your creativity flow, have fun with your vision board, and use it as a way to change habits, propel you forward a little step and a time, and successfully achieve the goals you set for yourself this year.
5. Practice Mindfulness and Reflection
Our next pick for better alternatives to New Year’s resolutions is to start the practices of mindfulness and reflection. No matter what your goals for 2024 may be, learning to practice mindfulness could be the key to helping you stick to your plan and reach those goals.
Mindfulness is the practice of intentionally bringing one’s attention to the present moment and being fully present within it. This means that you are aware of where you are and what you’re doing. But mindfulness also involves not being overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around you.
How can this help you achieve your goals? And why is mindfulness a better, more sustainable alternative to setting New Year’s resolutions?
Well, it’s because the goal of mindfulness is to be fully engaged in the current experience. And this, in turn, promotes mental clarity, emotional balance, and a sense of overall well-being. And it’s in this state that you can realistically set and work towards your goals. By practicing mindfulness, you will be more aware of the right goals to set for yourself.
Through practicing mindfulness, you’ll pick goals that are realistic. And through practicing regular reflection, you’ll be able to gauge your progress, and make the necessary small adjustments that will help keep you on the path to your goals.
The practices of mindfulness and reflection allow you to stay connected to your goals as well as to your progress. You are able to adjust your plan as needed, helping you make sustainable change. Achieving your goals then becomes a process. And you’re able to then appreciate the journey rather than fixating on the destination.
6. Embrace a Growth Mindset
And now we’ve come to our final better alternatives to New Year’s resolutions. Instead of focusing solely on outcomes, work on cultivating a growth mindset. A growth mindset means simply that rather than having an outcomes-based mindset, where you’re only successful if you hit the mark, your mindset is now one that values the process. And encompasses all avenues of that process. A growth mindset values the learning and evolving, rather than only placing value on a specific, set outcome.
The shift from a fixed outcome-oriented perspective to a growth mindset is a game-changer in the pursuit of lasting change. It allows us to appreciate the process of working towards our goals and the journey of improvement, rather than constantly beating ourselves when we’re not “measuring up” to some rigid end goal, or resolution.
Embracing a growth mindset transforms the way we perceive challenges, setbacks, and success itself. And it helps us see that the pursuit of our goals and dreams is a dynamic journey. It’s not only about the destination.
As we enter 2024, we say, “Out with the old way of setting New Year’s Resolutions,” and, “Hello to a new way of setting ourselves up for success in this new year.”
By putting these strategies for sustainable alternatives to New Year’s resolutions into place, we’ll remove the unrealistic expectations, tone down the pressure, and form sustainable habits, and we’ll all be well on our way to making 2024 a year of genuine, lasting transformation. So together, let’s break free from the resolutions rut, and let’s make 2024 the year we experience real change and tangible growth! Cheers to the new you, the new year, and to no more New Year’s Resolutions!
Related read: The Best Self-Improvement Podcasts