Whether you plan to stop eating sugar, run a marathon or save money, how many times have you made New Year’s resolutions and found that a couple of days, weeks or months later your good intentions are impossible to keep?


You certainly won’t be alone, but rather than setting resolutions that don’t make you happy or quickly start to feel unachievable, why not create a ‘wish list’ of experiences or things you’d like to do.

Here’s our handy guide on making New Year’s resolutions you can actually want to keep and how to set yourself achievable goals. It will be more fun – we promise you!

Woman looking out to sea

Reflect on the past year

New Year’s resolutions originate from our Roman ancestors who celebrated Janus, the god of beginnings on 1 January, when people reflected on the past year and looked to the year ahead and exchanged promises, gifts and blessings.

Do as the Romans did and take a moment to reflect on the past year. Find a quiet space and jot down five things that stand out as positive experiences in your year.

Next, write down five things that you feel less positively about. These can be small moments or major life events, but looking back helps us move forwards and is a helpful way to start considering what you’d like to achieve in the new year.

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A woman training for a marathon

Small steps

One of the reasons many people don’t keep their resolutions is that they set themselves goals that are so big they often feel unattainable.

For example, rather than declaring you’re going to run a marathon, when you haven’t run since school, why not set yourself the goal of running a 5K or 10K and build towards your goal in small steps. This is less likely to be as daunting or require such a big time commitment that you’re tempted to stop.

If you still want to achieve your marathon dreams why not go for that the following year?

Keeping a diary of your progress is a useful way to help you stay on track and see how far you’ve come. Enlisting the support of friends and family by explaining what you’re trying to achieve is another good way to help you stick to your goal.

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New Year's resolutions

How to create your ‘wish list’ for 2021

While in the past you may have failed to continue resolutions that involve self-denial, going into the new year why not create a ‘wish list’ of all of the things you’d like to do in 2018 instead.

Before starting, take a look at your list of highs and lows of the year and then start writing down everything you’d like to do in the new year.

Don’t hold back, write everything down. Your wish list can include epic things, such as travelling across South America, climbing Mount Fuji or writing a book to simple everyday things that make you happy, such as going to the cinema once a month, reading a book you’ve always wanted to read or going for a daily walk in your lunchbreak.

Whatever you’d like to see, do, learn, watch, make or visit, write it down and then as the year progresses see how many you can tick off your list.

Come the end of 2021, you might be surprised by how much you have done.

Looking for more New Year inspiration? Get into journalling with our What is bullet journalling? guide and stock up on stationery with our best bullet journal picks.


Photos by Denys Nevozhai, Andrew Tanglao, Thought Catalog and Keenan Constance on Unsplash.