Plan It! 8 New Year’s Resolutions {Goals vs. Systems}

At the start of the New Year, many of us make a resolution or two to try to better ourselves in some way. Unfortunately, the majority of us fail at actually keeping our resolutions. This is because we set a goal, but don’t have a plan in place to accomplish it. That’s why using a system is a better option. If you are wondering about New Year’s Resolutions Goals vs Systems and which works best, read on!

Why Do New Year’s Resolutions Fail?

When most people decide on a New Year’s resolution, they pick a specific goal. These goals can be a bit vague, like losing weight or traveling more. As nice as these goals are, they are impossible to accomplish without some sort of system in place.

Flaws in Using Goals

The first problem with goals is that they affect your happiness in a negative way. You may be heading to the gym or writing a few pages of that novel every day, and that’s great. But if you miss a day, you feel like you’ve done something wrong. This causes feelings of failure, even though you have been doing great up until this point. You may also feel like you aren’t a success until you actually reach your goal. Goals cause you to base all your happiness on that finish line instead of what you’ve already done.

new years resolutionAnother issue with goals is that they lead you to believe you can control every action. This is never possible. For instance, if you prefer to run outside, but it is pouring rain, you may feel the need to skip your workout. Again, this causes feelings of failure. It shouldn’t, though, since you know perfectly well you can’t control the weather. There could also be a family emergency that causes a conflict with your goal. This is another situation you can’t control, but it won’t stop you from feeling that guilt.

Another problem with goals is that you focus so much on one, but if another one is made, you may put the first one aside. Or, you may come up with a list of goals for the year, but not have the time or willpower to meet them all. This causes failure in one, a few, or all of your goals, which lowers your self-esteem and confidence levels. Even if you do set a goal and keep it, this might not benefit you. For instance, if you plan to run a marathon, you may train faithfully every day. But once the marathon is over, you will lose the drive to continue training. This leaves you with nothing to focus on until you come up with another goal. 

Why Systems Work

Though goals can give you something to aim for, they don’t work without a system in place to reach them. Systems allow you to make changes in your daily habits to reach your goals. These can be small habits or large ones, depending on what you’re trying to accomplish. Systems also allow you to set specific times and places to perform those tasks. While goals are temporary, systems alter your behavior permanently. And if you miss a day or two because of unforeseen events, you won’t stress about them. After all, you’ll be back to your system the next day. The best part of systems is they can be updated at any time to fit into a changing schedule. You can get rid of a goal without harming your system, but you can’t reach a goal without one.

New Year’s Resolution Systems

#1 – Working Out:


There are many reasons we want to work out. The most popular one is to lose weight. But staying active is also a part of a healthy lifestyle. So, why is this resolution so hard to keep? Well, usually we try too hard at the start. We decide to work out every day at the gym. Then, when we miss a workout, we feel bad about ourselves. Or we try activities that take us out of our comfort zone. If you don’t like to work out in front of people, you’ll hate going to that class you joined. Instead, we need to start with baby steps.

Instead of “I’m going to work out” we should focus on increasing activity. Start with baby steps, like using the stairs instead of the elevator. Park farther away so you have to walk a bit more. Try out a yoga or Pilates class before you sign a year-long contract. If the crowds bother you, there are countless apps you can download to work out at home. Once you’ve chosen your favorite activity, set a place and time that works with your schedule. And if you miss a day, don’t fret. You’ll be back at it tomorrow.

#2 – Eat Healthy:

healthy food

In our world of fast food and pre-made meals, it can be hard to eat healthy. This is especially true for those with busy jobs. Throw some kids in there with sports and other extracurricular activities. That’s a recipe for disaster. But it can be easy to eat healthy if you set up a system. The first thing you need to do is get those unhealthy snacks and food items out of the house. Then make little changes. First, replace the soda and coffee with water. Most of us don’t drink enough of it, so this is a must.

Keep fruit and veggies on hand to replace those chips and cookies. The kids might complain at first, but they’ll get used to it, especially if you pick what they like. If you aren’t much of a cook, find some cookbooks or recipe apps to help you in your healthy meal preparation. Another way to ensure you’ll eat healthy is to plan out your meals for the week. This allows you to buy everything beforehand and removes the stress of deciding what to make. Before long, eating healthy will become second nature.

#3 – Reduce Stress: 


There are very few people who can claim that stress isn’t a daily part of their lives. Whether the stress comes from your business life or your personal life, it won’t disappear. Since you can’t control what causes the stress, you need to alter how you react to it. The best way to help reduce these reactions is through meditation. Mediation is beneficial because it creates that sense of peace and calm. This balances out your emotional state by relaxing your mind. But it can also help your overall health by relaxing your body as well.

Building a mediation system is one of the easier ones to accomplish. All you need is 10 minutes each day. You can do it anytime. You can get up a bit early in the morning and do it before work, or on your lunch break. Meditation before bed can help you relax for a better sleep. After your session, you should feel less negative, with higher levels of patience. It can also help you focus and gain a new perspective on those stressful situations. It may even help to increase your creativity while allowing you to focus on the important things in life.

#4 – Get More Sleep


With our busy lives of work, kids, chores, and a bit of fun thrown in there, it can be hard to get more sleep. Instead of setting a goal to sleep more, build a system to make it happen. The best way to do this is by adjusting your day and night routines. During the day, limit your caffeine intake. A cup of coffee or tea in the morning is fine, but once afternoon hits switch to water. Work out in the morning as well. This will give you the energy you need to get through your day. Spend some time outside, to get some sun and fresh air.

When night comes, make sure your room is relaxing and comfortable. Use blackout or dark curtains to block out streetlights. Keep the electronics and T.V.s out of the bedroom. The blue light emitted from these electronic devices can be disruptive. If you must use them, try smaller screens or turn down the brightness. Once you have your day and night systems in place, you’ll find it easier to stick with them on a regular basis.

#5 – Quit Smoking:

stop smoking

Quitting smoking is another popular New Year’s goal. But making that happen is hard to do, even though there is absolutely no benefit to smoking. Along with the smell and the high cost, it is terrible for your health in so many ways. But the nicotine in the cigarettes is addictive, making this a difficult habit to break. That’s why those who want to succeed need help.

One method I’ve seen for myself involves vaporizers. These use an e-liquid, which is heated up, becoming a vapor that is then inhaled. The e-liquid can contain anywhere from 0 to 20mg/ml, or 2.0%, of nicotine. The person in question started at 1.8% and slowly began lowering the percentage levels over time. After a few months, he was using 0% e-liquid and realized he was no longer dependent on the nicotine. Now, he doesn’t use cigarettes or the vaporizer at all. Another method is to use nicotine gum or patches to help reduce your addiction. Speak with your doctor to get a prescription. They will help you figure out the best products and system for you to break your habit.

#6 – Drink Less Alcohol:

drinking alcohol

When you’re in your early twenties, going out to bars or parties a few nights a week seems like a good time. But if you enjoy it too much, this can turn into alcoholism, which can be a hard habit to break. Many people vow to drink less after a wild New Year’s Eve, but doing it may be harder than it seems. Thankfully, there is a system you can implement to ensure you’ll achieve the goal you set. First, reduce the number of times you go out to drink in a week or a month. Just because your friends are going for happy hour, doesn’t mean you have to.

If you are going out to eat, have only one drink, or stick with water. Or, instead of going out at all, invite some people to your house for dinner or games. This way, you can limit the amount of alcohol you drink. Another thing to consider is not keeping too much in your house at all. Most of us keep some on hand for visitors, but you don’t need to drink it just because it’s there. After a few months, you won’t even miss it.

#7 – Spend More Time with Family and Friends:

spend time with friends

Many of us set a goal to spend more time with our loved ones. But after a few weeks, busy schedules can kill these goals. The result is feelings of failure for ourselves and neglect for our family and friends. Instead of trying to fit everyone in at once, take one small step at first. Begin with phone calls to let those in your life know you are thinking of them. Make time to meet up with them once every week or two. This can be easy to do if everyone takes turns hosting dinners. If you have favorite activities or hobbies you share with anyone, do them together. Paint nights, book clubs, even gym time can be more fun if you have a few friends in the group. And for those who live too far away to see more than once or twice a year, use Skype or FaceTime to stay in touch. Social media like Facebook or Instagram are great for this. And if you don’t have time for long chats, a simple text can go a long way.

#8 – Enjoy Life:

enjoy life

It’s easy to state that you’re going to enjoy life to its fullest, but actually doing so can be a bit tough. We spend so much time working, doing chores, and paying bills that it’s hard to enjoy anything. But you don’t need to alter every detail to enjoy your life. Instead, focus on the little things. There is nothing I love more than taking a walk with my children. Not only do I get to take in everything nature has to offer, I can see it from their young perspective at the same time. Going on vacations allows you to experience other cultures or get some time to relax. But these can be expensive. If funds are limited, camping, hiking, and backpacking are cheaper options. Extreme sports like skiing, snowboarding, or skydiving are also great alternatives.

Even simple things like watching the sunset or taking in a free show at the park can give you those happy feelings. Pick something new, fun, or relaxing to do for at least a few minutes each day. You’ll be surprised how quickly this system meets those happiness goals.

New Year’s Resolutions Final Thoughts

New Year’s resolutions seem like a great idea on January 1st. But after a few weeks, most of us put these goals off, feeling like failures as we do so. Instead, we should focus on systems instead of goals, changing our habits a bit at a time. This will help us improve our long-term progress, one step at a time.  If you are looking for more, check out our buyer’s guides.


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