How to Make (and Keep) #NewYearsResolutions

An article by Richard James Rogers, author of The Quick Guide to Classroom Management: 45 Secrets That All High School Teachers Need to Know

Every year I find myself writing out a big wish list of things I’d really like to change about myself, believing that the New Year will bring new outcomes, new successes and a new me.

What I’ve now learned is how the system and tradition of New Year’s Resolutions is completely flawed at it’s core, and only serves to disappoint those who fall for its false promises (but only when approached in an unfocussed, unstructured way).

I’m writing this article to show you how I have overcome this yearly ‘personal defeat’ ritual, how I’ve seen through the deception and how you can make your resolutions really work for you.

The Stats

  • According to Forbes, only 8% of people achieve their New Year’s Resolutions
  • A University of Scranton. Journal of Clinical Psychology report found that only 46% of people who make New Year’s Resolutions carry them through past the first six months of the new year.
Do you make promises to yourself without following through?



How to put things right

Step 1: Call them NEW YEAR’S ACTIONS: The word ‘resolutions’ doesn’t really emphasise the effort needed to undertake your new decisions. Make a list, with the title ‘New Year’s Actions’.

Step 2: Make SPECIFIC  statements about the actions you will undertake in the new year (see this table for examples):

God vs bad resolutions

Step 3: Schedule your New Year’s Actions by creating RITUALS: Your new year’s actions will only work if they are scheduled efficiently (e.g. By writing them down in your diary, or scheduling them in your electronic calendar). That way, when you devise and look at your plan for the day (each day) you’ll be able to see the exact actions you need to take to work towards your end goals.

Step 4: Record your progress somehow. You’ll never know if you’re on the right track unless you have a record of the actions you’ve taken each day. A method I use for this is:

  1. Write down the actions I wish to take for that day in my diary (e.g. Drink a pot of green tea. Go for a morning jog. Leave the house at 06.30)
  2. Tick all of the actions I actually did/achieved that day
  3. Work out a precentage score
  4. Be happy with what I’ve achieved
  5. Aim to raise my score by only one percentage point the next day

Step 5: Take at least one day off per week. If you don’t take at least some time off, you’ll get bored, tired and resentful of your new routines. Friday is often a good day to chill and wake up a little later and go out in the evening to let your hair down and reward yourself.


I would like to recommend a great and famous book by Anthony Robbins: Awaken the Giant Within. Whilst I haven’t used material from this book in this article, my ideas have been influenced by Anthony’s philosophy on taking massive action, embedding rituals into your life, raising your standards and making believable and achievable goals.

All images used in this article have no attribution.


High School Science and Mathematics Teacher, Author and Blogger. Graduated from Bangor University with a BSc (Hons) degree in Molecular Biology and a PGCE in Secondary Science Education. Richard also holds the coveted Certificate in Mathematics from the Open University (UK). Richard is the award-winning author of The Quick Guide to Classroom Management: 45 Secrets That All High School Teachers Need to Know

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