The Right (and Wrong) Way to Approach New Year’s Resolutions

We made it! 2021 is here. And with the new year, new resolutions have been made. 

But if there has ever been a year to rethink how we approach things, this is the one. 

So let’s talk resolutions, because as you have probably noticed...they don’t work all that well.

I’m sure there are a select few who stick to a resolution, but for most of us, we set great goals for ourselves, and then by February have given up.


The Wrong Types of Resolutions

The reason that resolutions fail is the same reason why all goals fail -- they tend to be overly ambitious and have no long term plan.  

So here are some examples of goals that don’t often work out: 

  • Lose 50 lbs this year
  • Stop smoking
  • Stop drinking
  • Get off all medication
  • Get into (insert new hobby here)

These are all great goals, but without a plan or a clear path to success, you are going to struggle.

For some people, they just go back to life as usual and don’t think about it again until the next year.

For others, they see it as yet another failure. 

Either way, the problem was in the let’s take a different look at how to tackle New Year’s.


Set Themes, Not Goals

The best thing you can do as you think about what you want out of 2021 (or any new year) is to set a theme for yourself.  

Themes are powerful because they can encompass all areas of life and can be a guiding force through every decision you make in a year.  

For example:

  • Goal: Lose 50 lbs
  • Theme: Self-care

  • Goal: Get into a new activity
  • Theme: Embrace change

And I don’t want you to think that you have to “convert” your goals into themes. The point is to think about what motto you want to live your life by this year and make that your theme.

My theme this year is “Life is Good” because I want to see every experience, challenge, or obstacle that I encounter through that lens.  

Regardless of what is going on, life is still good. There are still so many things to be grateful for. 

And if I can always remember that, then no challenge or obstacle will ever feel that big or scary.

How to Make the Most of Your Theme


If you decide to take this approach, here are a few guidelines to help get the most value from your theme:

1) Keep it vague

Single words or short phrases are best. You want this theme to guide all areas of life, so the less specific you are, the better. For example, instead of saying “Go for the sale”, just make your theme, “Go for it”.

2) Make it visible

It is easy to forget your theme if it is not right in front of you. Write it down and put it up on the fridge so that you remember!

3) Do a monthly “check-in”

Once you have a theme that feels right, set a reminder on your calendar each month to “check-in” with yourself on how things are going. Have you been using your theme to guide your choices? When you have, how did things go?

Also, this is a good time to see if your theme still feels right. Sometimes what you come up with at first is not exactly right for what you want.

You might choose “Have fun” but after using it you realize that what you really want is “Enjoy the moment”.

There is nothing wrong with changing as you go because, in the end, the point of a theme is to guide you to be your best self. Whatever you need in the moment is what is best.

Let's Review...


Most New Year’s resolutions fail because they are goal-focused. While it is great to have goals, there is a much more powerful approach you can take when planning your year: themes.

The reason themes work is because they can be applied to all areas of life. If you have a theme of “Adventure”, that can guide you in your work, diet, relationships, and hobbies all at the same time!

When you do pick a theme, follow a few simple guidelines:

1) Keep it vague

2) Make it visible

3) Do a monthly check-in

This will help you get the most value from your theme and make sure that you are always improving it to fit your needs throughout the year.

Now, if your theme ends up having something to do with self-care, I would like to invite you to check out our 28-Day Kickstart Program.

This program is designed to help people start putting themselves and their health first again.

In this program you will get:

  • Full fitness and goals assessment
  • Personalized fitness coaching
  • 1-on-1 success coaching (nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle)
  • A simple meal plan

So, if you are ready to make a meaningful change in your life and start taking care of yourself so that you have more to give to others, click here to learn more and take back control of your health and fitness today!

Mint Condition Fitness is the leading fitness coaching studio for men and women over 45 to lose weight, build strength, and stay active for life.