How to Choose Your New Year’s Resolution

January 23, 2022

5 mins

Dane O'Leary


New Year's Resolutions are a popular tradition in the US, but many people abandon their resolutions throughout the year. How do you choose the right New Year's resolution for you?

According to the data, an estimated 74% of American adults make New Year’s resolutions. However, as you’re about to see, many of these individuals don’t keep those resolutions for one reason or another. Is this because we fail to realize how hard it can be to keep a resolution through an entire year?

Let’s look at tips and strategies for choosing the right New Year’s resolution so we can maximize the likelihood that you'll achieve your resolution this year.

How Many People Keep Their New Year’s Resolutions?

Most Americans have success staying with their resolutions within the first weeks of the year, but this number drops off dramatically with each passing week. By February 1, we see 64% of Americans keeping up with their resolutions. Then by the time June rolls around, only 46% are still following their New Year’s resolutions.

The success of a New Year’s resolution boils down to being mindful. The symbolism of this tradition can be traced to a couple of different concepts, the first of which is that you’re applying a lesson learned or realized over the previous year. Alternatively, some resolutions result from dedication to personal growth. But how exactly do you choose the right resolution for you? After all, resolutions are extremely personal, and the best resolution for your friend, parent, sibling, or partner may not be the right resolution for you.  

Choosing a New Year’s resolution doesn’t have to be daunting. In fact, you can use this list to determine what resolution(s) could work best for you in this upcoming year.

What Are The Top New Year’s Resolutions?

There are certain New Year’s resolutions that are especially common, such as those related to physical health. For example, people frequently resolve to implement lifestyle changes that will help them lose weight. But in general, many New Year’s resolutions involve self-improvement or growth, which can take the form of a number of resolutions. 

Here are some of the most common New Year’s resolutions in the US:

  • Losing weight
  • Learning a new hobby
  • Saving money or creating a budget
  • Getting organized
  • Travel 
  • Reading more books 
  • Quitting alcohol, tobacco, or drugs

How to Choose the Right New Year’s Resolution

Here are some attainable steps on how to choose an appropriate New Year’s resolution.

Mentally Prepare for Change

Most people are creatures of habit, which can make change difficult. But that doesn’t mean change is impossible. 

When it comes to achieving a New Year’s resolution, the biggest hurdle is often your mindset. After all, changing a daily habit is not an easy task, so without proper planning, you’re more prone to failure. For this reason, you should take a step back and mentally prepare before you actually start working toward your resolution.

To gauge where your head (and heart) are at, ask yourself the following questions: 

  1. What was my resolution last year?
  2. Was I successful in achieving my resolution?
  3. Where did I make progress and how did I make that progress?
  4. If there were areas where I didn’t make progress, what got in the way?

As you answer these questions, you may recognize situations or patterns of behavior that you can use to inform your resolution as well as your strategy for achieving that resolution over the coming year. 

Make Your Goal SMART

SMART goals are goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-sensitive. They are meant to set you up for success from day one because they are clear-cut in their specifications. Here are some examples.


Articulate with as much clarity as possible. For example, "I would like to save $10,000 into my savings account” is better than resolving to simply “save more money.”


Quantify the resolution. Again, setting a specific goal, such as $10,000 if you're resolving to save money, provides a goalpost against which to gauge your progress and measure your success.


Is the goal challenging yet within the realm of possibility? Don’t set an exorbitant goal that you're unlikely to achieve. The idea is to set a goal that's both aspirational and attainable because progress becomes a major motivator.


Set a resolution that is relevant to your life goals.


Choose a realistic time frame to complete your goal, but keep in mind that urgency can be motivating.

Since a SMART resolution offers a clear action plan with a way to track your progress, you become more likely to succeed than with a simple and open-ended resolution.

Make Only One Resolution

It can be super overwhelming to start a bunch of resolutions at the beginning of the year. So just choose one, and this way you can put all of your energy and focus on achieving it. This way, you won’t be disappointed if you don’t get to everything on your to-do list.

Not sure which resolution to choose? Think of the one thing that will make you the most fulfilled in the coming year. What immediately comes to mind when you think of what you want to achieve this year? Go with your gut.

If you still need some extra help honing in on a resolution? Here are some tricks that can help.

  • Write down anything you want to achieve this year on a post-it note. Each post-it note only gets one idea, but feel free to go crazy.
  • Place the post-its on a large surface, like a wall or a table.
  • Group similar post-its together.
  • Place the post-its that you feel the strongest about on the top of the list.
  • See which one calls out to you the most, and choose that!

Remember, a resolution can have a bunch of different components to it. While simple is best, there’s nothing wrong with grouping together a few of the same ideals into one larger resolution.

Pick a Resolution You Haven’t Tried Before

There is most likely a reason that your resolution didn’t work out in the first place. If you have already picked a resolution and it was hard to follow it through, choosing it again may be setting yourself up for failure. Start fresh with something new, and you’ll feel much more inspired.

Choose Joy

The best New Year’s resolutions spark joy. If your resolution doesn’t inspire you or make you happy, then chances are it won’t work out in the long term. A resolution needs to inspire you and bring you joy for you to make it a priority, so think of some changes that burn a fire within you. These are the positive changes you’ll want to experience this year, so develop your resolution around them.

Resolve for Sobriety with Never Alone Recovery

New Year’s resolutions can be overwhelming, but our team at Never Alone Recovery wants you to know that you are not alone! If your resolution this year is to become sober and continue down a path to wellness, then let us help. We’re here to show you how to choose a drug rehab or alcohol rehab in Indiana based on your specific needs and goals. If you need help finding the right care and support to overcome addiction, you have come to the right place.  

Follow Never Alone Recovery on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter today.

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