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How to keep New Year's resolutions

8 Oct 2015
News 5 min read

How to make and keep your New Year’s resolutions heading into 2023.

Author: VicHealth works with health promotion experts to create a Victoria where everyone can enjoy better health and wellbeing.


It's January 2023, and many people are thinking about setting goals for the year ahead.

But as anyone who has set themselves a New Year’s resolution before will tell you; it can be hard to stay on track.

In this article we look at:

  • Are New Year’s resolutions more harmful than helpful?
  • What sort of resolutions should we be setting ourselves?
  • How to stay motivated to tick off the goals you set for yourself

Be Healthy was created by VicHealth to provide helpful tips and advice on how you and your family can stay healthy. You can read more Be Healthy articles here.

As we bid farewell to 2022, you might be setting goals to do things you weren’t able to do in 2023.

VicHealth CEO Dr Sandro Demaio has previously spoken about this topic on ABC Radio Melbourne. Here's what he had to say about how we can approach the new year, and how to set ourselves up for successful resolutions.


Are New Year’s resolutions good for us?

Although it’s common for people to set themselves one (or even a handful) of goals to achieve at the start of a new year, Sandro says they can be both a help and a hindrance.

“For some people, setting goals for the year ahead can be very helpful,” he said.

“But I also think they can be a bit harmful sometimes and place extra stress and pressure on an already busy schedule.

“The last thing we need is more expectations and pressure and potentially judgement if you don’t live up to the goals you set for yourself.”


What sort of resolutions are the best?

There are plenty of common resolutions that people like to give themselves every year. Losing weight, overhauling your diet or joining a gym are common health-related goals.

But Sandro says often setting smaller goals can leave you feeling more positive and fulfilled, rather than trying to jump over a very high bar straight away.


“What’s really important for New Year’s resolutions is to think about things that are small, realistic and achievable,” he said.


“It’s much better to shoot past your goal and really feel as though you’re doing a great job and you’re going over and above, than to set yourself a tough goal that may feel you leaving disappointed if you don’t quite achieve it.”

Sandro also notes that you don't have to come up with a goal from scratch - one of the best places to start with a New Year’s resolution includes building up on things you started doing last year.

“Maybe you had a little bit more time to cook things from scratch, had time away from phones and social media, more time in nature or daily exercise. Simple things like that which you may have really enjoyed,” he said.

If you spent more time cooking in previous years, you could try adding more recipes to your repertoire this year. Or aim to get through some of those books you bought but never finished by trading screen time for reading time.

“It’s really just about making sure that it’s realistic, it’s achievable and you set yourself up for success. You need to be patient with yourself if it takes you a few weeks to start working on that goal.”


How to stay motivated to achieve your resolution

It’s also fairly common for people to set themselves a resolution, but as the daily routine settles back in during the new year other priorities get in the way.

So how can we give ourselves the best opportunity to succeed when we set ourselves a goal?

Sandro says it’s important not to rush in trying to tick off the goals you set yourself in the new year.

“Give yourself as long as you need [to work on your goals]. It will be different from person to person,” he said, adding that it's totally okay if it takes you a couple of weeks to get into the swing of things - "as long as you’re looking after yourself and if you do need help you reach out and seek that.”


Tips for making and following through on New Year’s resolutions

  • Don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself. Putting extra pressure and expectations on yourself can lead to stress, which is the last thing you need when you're tying to start afresh.
  • Try not to set the bar too high initially. It’s tempting to think of something big to achieve, but often smaller goals can provide just as much satisfaction. You might even just like to continue doing some of the things you started doing last year, like picking up a project you started but didn't get around to finishing or continuing.
  • Be patient with yourself. We all have lots going on in our lives, so don’t get too frustrated if ticking off your goals takes a bit of time. Delayed gratification is worth the wait!


By starting 2023 off with a few positive goals in mind and taking good care of yourself, you can spring into the new year in style!



For more VicHealth articles on how to look after your health into the new year, check out:

Artwork by Dexx (Gunditjmara/Boon Wurrung) ‘Mobs Coming Together’ 2022
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Artwork Credit: Dexx (Gunditjmara/Boon Wurrung) ‘Mobs Coming Together’ 2022, acrylic on canvas. Learn more about this artwork.