How to make a New Year's resolution that actually sticks

The clock struck midnight, 2013 began, and you said to yourself, “THIS year is the year that I (insert resolution here).”

Flash forward 12 months, 2014 happened, and how much progress did you make? If you’re like me, the answer is slim to none. And this isn’t the first time it’s happened, either. 2013 played out much like 2012, 2011, and every year you’ve made a resolution that’s gone unfulfilled.

I declared 2013 would be the year I wrote a book. Actually, I knew that was a large task so I went a step below and said 2013 would be the year I at least started to write a book. 2013 is over and guess how many pages I completed?

ZERO. I did not write a single word.

So why did this happen?

We don’t follow through on our New Year’s resolutions because we resolve to do things we don’t actually want to do; we just think we want to do them. We say we’ll do something because it’s aspirational, it looks impressive to others, or because we’re told it’s a good idea. But rarely do we resolve to do something that we really want to do. If we really wanted to do it, we’d find a way.

The idea of writing a book sounded very appealing to me, and I greatly enjoy writing. But an entire book is a daunting task, and I always found excuses to not start on this resolution. I did a lot last year, and almost anytime I had an opportunity to do something, I opted to not start writing a book. Clearly, this is something I didn’t really want. I just thought I wanted it because it’s aspirational, looks impressive, and was told it’s a good idea. This is not to say I will never write a book. It may happen in the future, but it's not something I wanted last year.

In 2014, make a resolution that will stick by looking past what looks good, or what you think sounds good. Be honest with yourself--find something that’s a reasonable extension of your personality or lifestyle. Something that, if you don't do it by the end of 2014, your year will be significantly altered. Think of something you truly desire of yourself, and, as the word 'resolution' suggests, resolve the desire.

Think about what you actually want next year and go after that.

Here are some of my major resolutions/goals for 2014

  • Become a skilled photographer
  • Travel twice per quarter
  • Release my 3rd mixtape and perform a show in front of a live audience

Martin and I use a goal-setting method that holds us accountable by structuring the goals in a way that they build upon each other, so if one thing falls off you risk breaking the chain entirely.

On January 18th, we are hosting a goal-setting workshop where we'll help you pick the right resolutions for yourself in 2014 and create a roadmap for success.Join us if you'd like to make next year your most successful year yet.

What are your goals for 2014? Send us an email at

Happy New Year everyone!

Rajiv Nathan is the co-founder of Idea Lemon with a background in digital and mobile strategy. He is passionately curious, a people-meeter, and lives by the motto, "you miss 100% of the shots you don't take."

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