Need Help Keeping those New Year’s Resolutions?
Wednesday, January 12, 2022

As we ring in the new year, many of us find it’s the perfect time to set personal goals for the coming months. With the new year also comes a clean slate. This sense of a “fresh start” allows us to reflect on the previous year and offers us the opportunity to discover what we want to do differently in 2022. New Year's resolutions are common, but can be challenging to stick with. Although these individual goals are set with the desire to improve our lives in some capacity, the failure rate for New Year’s resolutions is about 80%, according to U.S. News and World Report. Another statistic shows that only 4% of people report following through on their resolutions. 

You shouldn’t let these statistics dissuade you from creating a New Year’s resolution. Resolutions are beneficial because they provide a refreshing opportunity for change and growth and offer a sense of control over your life, which can be especially valuable as we continue to navigate through a global pandemic. Now more than ever is the time to focus on yourself, and perhaps COVID-19 has even encouraged you to want to be the healthiest version of yourself or achieve a particular goal.   

While completing your goals can prove to be difficult, there are various actions that you can take to help you stay on track. 

Keep in mind, New Year’s resolutions can focus on anything you want to improve in your life – some goals may focus on improving your career, interpersonal relationships, mental health, financial responsibility, learning a new skill or hobby, and much more.  

If you’re ready to start a new path forward with the help of some strategic habits and goal setting, then join us in using some of the tips below. 2022 here we come!  

Here are five tips to make your 2022 New Year’s resolutions successful: 

Note: For each tip, we will use personal fitness as an example goal scenario. 

1. Choose a specific goal: When it comes to setting goals, it’s important that you be specific about what you want to accomplish. Being specific about your goals makes it easier to formulate a plan and come up with actionable steps to help you achieve what you want. One simple way to create a specific goal is to answer the well-known “w” questions. 

• Who: If applicable, consider who must be involved in order to achieve your goal. 

• What: Be very detailed about exactly what it is you’re striving to accomplish. 

• Where: If applicable, specify if there is a particular location or event involved in completing the goal.  

• When: Set a timeframe for when you hope to accomplish the goal. 

• Why: Identify the reason for wanting to achieve the goal. 

The next step to create a specific goal is by following the SMART goals acronym. 

• S – Specific (simple, sensible, significant) 

• M – Measurable (meaningful, motivating) 

• A – Achievable (attainable) 

• R – Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based) 

• T – Time Bound (time-based, time/cost limited, time-sensitive) 

Creating and defining SMART goals can help with clarifying your ideas, focusing your efforts, determining how to use your time and resources productively, and increase your chances of accomplishing what you want in life. 

Example: Instead of simply stating that you want to exercise more this year, make your goal more detailed. An example of a SMART goal would be: I want to exercise at the gym three to four times per week for at least 30 minutes. 

 2. Be realistic: You should also set goals that are realistic and attainable. Realistic goals are ones that are practical and planned in a manner that would be easy to implement in real life. Think about the tools and skills that are needed in order to obtain the desired goal and ask yourself: 

• Do I have the capabilities and required resources to achieve the goal?  

• If not, what am I missing? 

One 2017 study revealed that when goals felt achievable, a boost in systolic blood pressure was more pronounced than in cases where the goal felt too difficult. Meaning, setting realistic goals can have a physical impact on our bodies, giving us extra motivation to achieve them. 

Example: Rather than making it your goal to exercise every day of the week, perhaps aim for three to four days per week. Sometimes life can become hectic and time conflicts may not allow you to exercise every single day. Aiming to exercise a few times a week is more realistic and can help you stay on track to achieving your goal.  

3. Track your progress: If you are not making progress toward your goals, it can become difficult to stay on track, which is why it’s a good idea to document your progress. Tracking your progress is a great way to help you stay focused. A few ways to do this include: 

• Writing down your successes and challenges each day in a planner or on a calendar. 

• Creating a checklist to help you track what you have already accomplished throughout the day/week/month and determining what remaining tasks you need to accomplish. 

• Downloading a free goal tracking app of your choosing. 

Another fun way to track your progress is by creating a reward system (see below). 

Example: Using a planner, keep track of which days you were able to exercise and make note of what exercises you completed, whether it was a bike ride, walk, etc. and keep track of the amount of time you exercised. 

4. Reward yourself for achievements: Every victory, no matter how small, should be celebrated because it shows that you are actively pursuing your goal. In a 2016 study, it was found that individuals who rewarded themselves after completing an activity specific to their goal were more likely to stick with it. A few ways to reward yourself may include: 

• Treat yourself to a fancy meal or dessert. 

• Host a get-together with friends/family. 

Make sure to gather safely by following all of the LA County Department of Public Health's COVID-19 guidelines. Learn more at here. 

• Buy yourself something reasonable that you have been wanting. 

• Turn off all distractions and relax for an hour. 

• Watch your favorite TV show.  

• Enjoy some time outdoors. 

You may want to consider creating a reward system that works for you – a guide for how you plan to reward yourself for reaching different milestones and goals. Pick a reward that encourages you to keep working, but doesn’t interfere with the goal itself. For instance, when you reach a goal, perhaps you can add a small sum of money to a shopping, travel or desired activity fund. 

Example: Consider breaking up your goal into different timeframes. Write down or set aside a specific reward for each month of the year, such as a night out to the movie theater for the month of April. If at the end of April you were able to reach your goal of exercising three to four times per week for at least 30 minutes, treat yourself to the reward that you planned. 

5. Find an accountability buddy: Sharing your goals with someone can help motivate you to accomplish your goals. A recent study found that participants who shared their goals with someone whose opinion they valued felt more committed to achieving their goals. The study revealed that sharing your goals with someone you admire does more than just keep you accountable, it also makes you more driven, simply because you care what this person thinks of you. Find an accountability buddy who: 

• Has your best interest at heart. 

• Can motivate and push you to accomplish your goals. 

• Is open to scheduling check-ins and having frequent goal-orientated discussions. 

• Is dedicated to your success and is willing to celebrate your milestone accomplishments. 

Example: If a work colleague has also made it their goal to be more active, make a pact with them! Perhaps create a plan to check-in on each other at the end of each week to make sure you both met your exercise goals for that week. Hold each other accountable, challenge each other and motivate one another. You can even make plans to work out together. 

Whatever your goals may be this year, they are certainly not impossible. Remember to be patient with yourself and stay positive. Make sure to encourage yourself along the way — leave encouraging notes around your home, recite words of affirmation or envision yourself completing the goal. May your 2022 New Year’s resolutions fulfill and reward you! 

For Beach Cities Health District resources that might be relative to your goal, follow these links below. 

Health & Fitness  

Fitness challenges: 

Center for Health & Fitness gym membership: 

Try Beach Cities Health District’s Center for Health & Fitness with a free 3-day pass: 

Mental Health & Happiness 


Health-Related Resources and Referrals  

Find health-related resources and information for adults and families within the Beach Cities. Need additional assistance? Contact Beach Cities Health District’s Assistance, Information and Referral Line, (310) 374-3426 and press option 1, Monday – Friday: 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.