18 Dec 2023 Article

Dry January, Veganuary and other new year resolutions: how to make your resulution a success?

Many people come up with at least one New Year’s resolution. It is difficult to say exactly how many people. Research shows different figures. In any case, this concerns a large part of the population. And most New Year’s resolutions are related to health in one way or another. We want to exercise more, drink less or not at all, stop smoking, and have less stress. And we see January 1st as the best day to give our lives this healthy twist. It is not surprising that most people would like to start something new on the first day of the new year. The start of the new year often feels like the beginning of a new phase of your life.

Unfortunately, there is only a very small part of the population who can actually translate their good intentions into concrete actions. It is not clear how many people succeed in achieving their new year health goals or other goals. The percentage is probably somewhere around 5%. Why is it so low?

The main reasons why you fail to achieve your (health) goals include lack of motivation and setting goals incorrectly or not specifically enough. So, you should pay attention to these two aspects before formulating your good intentions.


To succeed with your new year resolutions (or any other types of resolutions), you must be well motivated. Otherwise, it won’t work. So, you have to be honest and ask yourself how much you want something. And also, why you want this. Because sometimes people want something because it sounds nice, or because it should be that way, or because it is a fashion phenomenon. So, think carefully about what you want and why you want it.


Change your self-perception. If you are convinced you lack discipline/abilities, you won’t get far. I CAN DO IT is your mantra now!

Set concrete and realistic goals

The new goal must be concrete. So not “become healthier” but “lose three kilos” or “eat plant-based four days a week”.

The goal must also be realistic. And not too big. For example, suppose you want to go to the gym (more often). In your ideal picture, you go to the gym for five days. But will that really work in practice? If today you go zero to once a week, then five days a week is not a realistic goal. Just start with two days. Only when the new routine of going to the gym two days a week is well ingrained in your life, can you scale up your goal again to, for example, three days a week.

The consequence of setting goals that are too high to achieve is that you become easily demotivated. A victory, no matter how small, gives you a feeling of satisfaction and motivates you further.

Prepare for setbacks

Due to circumstances, you may not be able to act on your intentions for a while. Think in advance what you are going to do if things go wrong. An example: you have decided to cook for yourself and no longer have food delivered. But there will probably be a situation where you come home from work too late and too tired, and you don’t really feel like cooking. What are you going to do in this situation? Think about it in advance. You might decide to freeze a homemade meal for such an emergency. Or think of something else. It’s about being prepared. Then you actually have no excuse not to continue with your resolution.

And if you ever “fall”, you just get up and keep going. We all fall. Don’t immediately get into a negative mindset (I’m worth nothing; I can’t do it) but just continue with your good resolution as if nothing is wrong.

An important factor that can sometimes also lead to a setback is social pressure. Especially if you have decided to drink less, eat less, snack less, smoke less, you are often confronted with social situations that consciously or unconsciously force you to do “just for once” what you no longer want to do. Don’t underestimate social pressure. Think carefully in advance how you are going to approach it.

Share your resolution with your social circle

Friends can also make a positive contribution. Your new year resolution can become a success thanks to the positive peer pressure. If you share your intention with family or friends or Insta followers, you will automatically experience positive pressure to work towards your goal. No one will call you to account, but you will still feel obliged to put your words into action.

Have fun and don’t forget about balance

Having discipline is great but being too strict on yourself is not. Don’t become desperate if you happen to have a misstep. Leave it behind and move forward.

A good resolution must not only be good/healthy/socially responsible but also fun for yourself, otherwise it becomes a self-imposed punishment.


I wish you all a very nice New Year and see you in 2024!