Internet Self Improvement

3 Tactics To Really Make Your New Year’s Resolutions Stick

James Bruce 08-01-2012

how to keep new years resolutionsNew Years Resolutions are generally well intentioned attempts to kickstart ourselves into learning something new, losing weight, or saving money. Realistically though, they’re exceptional if they aren’t forgotten by February.


In fact, we’re now one week into the new year and how many of you actually stuck to your goals (or even bothered with them at all this year)?

But seriously now, let’s make this year the one where we really stick to our well made plans and finally achieve something worthwhile. Agreed? Read on for 3 solid ways to make those resolutions truly stick and make a difference in your lives.

Actionable Goals, not vague nonsense

The trouble with most of our New Years Resolutions are that they tend to be rather vague:

  • Save $10,000
  • Learn some Chinese
  • Work out everyday

As any entrepreneur and serious self-improvement guru types will tell you, these are useless. They don’t describe anything about the steps needed to get to that goal, and things like “learn some Chinese” don’t even define a specific endpoint. Although specific goals such as “save $10,000” are admirable, they sadly aren’t actionable – meaning there isn’t a specific, defined action you can take to work towards that goal (other than say, moving $10,000 from your checking to savings account, in which case you probably don’t need to make that a resolution anyway). No, no, these will never do. Instead, make your goals into smaller daily or weekly actionable items – like these:

  • Save $200 every week
  • Complete one full Rosetta Stone Chinese session everyday
  • Do 20 wall push-ups everyday
  • Do 30 minutes of aerobic exercise everyday

Can you see the difference? We’re still saving $10,000 a year, but it’s something we can check the action for every week, or tick off every day.


If you’re having trouble thinking of some specific actionable items for your vague goals, check out anti-resolution [Broken URL Removed] from MeYouHealth [Broken URL Removed]. It’s a simple web app that’ll present you with some real, actionable items after you’ve selected your vague goal.

how to keep new years resolutions

Now, you should have a much better resolution list consisting of many small, finite actions that you can check off as you complete each day. The next step then, is to track your progress.

Tracking Progress

Tracking your activities, or how much progress is being made in the case of weight loss etc, is in itself a huge motivator. In fact, it’s often said that simply measuring your waist every day is a great way to lose weight as it makes you eat more consciously. Here’s a mixed bag variety of tools that I think might help you, but remember that a trusty Excel/Google Docs spreadsheet can work just as well sometimes.


EpicWin (iTunes Link – $1.99)

This is my personal tool of choice, and can be summarized as a comprehensive to-do list with RPG game elements. After having created your character and added some repeating actions with associated point value, you hold the action for a few seconds to trigger some battle music and complete the item, thereby adding the points, maybe levelling up, and possibly even finding some loot!

Ok, so there is no actual roleplay ‘game’ in that there are no real fights or adventuring, but it’s a lot more fun than simply ticking off a daily item, and you could even compete with friends if you agreed on point values I guess. Check out the awesome video:

If your goals revolve around spending time on a task or saving money daily, this might be the perfect tool for you. The interface is incredibly simple and allows you to track multiple projects with ease.

year end resolutions


A single purpose web app that would be great for your homepage. Unfortunately, it literally only tracks daily actions, so if you have weekly or monthly actions then forget it. Very simple, very fast.

year end resolutions


We covered this in the directory before – it allows you to break down large goals or projects into a number of smaller steps, rather than a repeating daily task, as well as having social features. The interface isn’t exactly friendly though.

year end resolutions


Still Got No Ideas?

If you’re in the mood for some change but really don’t have anything specific in mind, try the Daily Challenge. Saikat covered this Better Your Life & Relationships One Day At A Time With The Daily Challenge Very few of us realize that the old maxim of – every journey begins with a single step – applies so well to our lives and our efforts to improve it. The single step easily... Read More in depth last year, but basically the system will email you random challenges every day which you can either skip or complete in one click.

how to keep new years goals

Get Motivated!

Even with specific small steps to our goals, it’s often easy to forget to do them for a day, then another day, until ultimately we just don’t care anymore. No amount of web apps is going to help you there, but it does help to be in the mental state of constantly thinking about self improvement. Sign up to some newsletters or RSS feeds from motivational speakers and self improvement experts to keep yourself on track and motivated to complete your goals.

When I was first into self-improvement, Steve Pavlina was a big influence and motivation for me, and while his blog is still active it does seem to have moved away from the core teaching lately. I highly recommend the old podcasts and article archives though.

TheChangeBlog is a great general-purpose self improvement blog with a fantastic zen design to help you focus on the fantastic advice within (like learning how to set specific goals!)

how to keep new years resolutions

That’s all from me today, as I’m busy sticking to my rigorous new daily action schedule! Don’t forget to check out all our other Self Improvement tagged posts too. Here’s wishing you all the best – happiness, health and prosperity this year! If you’ve found some other great tracking tools or motivational podcasts etc, do please share with us all in the comments – or maybe you’re brave enough to tell us your new year resolutions?

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

Whatsapp Pinterest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Anonymous
    January 9, 2012 at 3:05 am

    Is Epic Win still working for you? I reinstalled it recently, and found it's not playing nice on iOS 5. It crashes when it tries to post things to Twitter. I've levelled up three times, but am still showing as level one, and I keep getting the same loot drops.

    • James Bruce
      January 9, 2012 at 8:35 am

      I'm using iphone 4, ios 5.0.1, and latest epic win. I havent experienced any issues yet, though I admit I havent tweeted any of my results. 

      Are you using a 3g; or perhaps run a lot of 3d games? I think epic win makes use of the 3d engine, so it could be a memory issue? Does it work ok after a restart? That would indicate memory I think...

      • Anonymous
        January 17, 2012 at 6:31 pm

        I'm on an iPhone 4. I do play games, though not many. The issue persists after a restart. I've cleared my Twitter integration and all the problems have gone away. Unfortunately I've tried to contact the developer about these issues and haven't heard anything. Given that the last update was after iOS 4 was released, I think this app is probably abandoned. Ah well, it's working passably for now.