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Ditch Your New Year’s Resolution — Here’s What to Do Instead


For most, January represents an interesting switch in our thoughts. The new year brings a renewed sense of hope for how we can change our habits to improve our lives. This rings especially true for members of YMCAs, JCCs, and community rec centers. 

Studies have shown more than 60% of us create New Year’s resolutions for ourselves. Incredibly, less than 8% of people reported actual success in achieving those resolutions. Those numbers are grim, but there is hope. A change in how we help our community approach their New Year’s resolutions may lead to increased success and happier, healthier communities.

As we approach 2020, ditch the resolutions. Encourage your members to set goals instead of the typical resolutions. Then offer to help them achieve those goals.

Why goals? It’s simple — goals are specific, whereas resolutions tend to be broad and vague. Goals are much more actionable, which makes them more effective.

The more specific we get when breaking down our goals, the more likely it is we will accomplish them. When they’re broken down into manageable and measurable pieces, we are able to track our progress and stay focused.

Here are few goal-setting tips:

  1. Choose three or four goals to work on so you’re not overwhelmed.
  2. Break those goals down into actionable steps, and check in daily and weekly on your progress.
  3. Plan time each week to review your progress.
  4. Make working on your goals a habit that becomes part of your daily routine.

As you make your way through your facility over the next few weeks, make it a point to check in with your members about their resolutions. Ask them questions, encourage them to use the goal-setting tips above to move from broad and vague resolutions to specific and measurable items that become daily habits. Be sure to check back regularly to see how they are progressing. 

In 2020, ditch the resolutions, and help strengthen your community by supporting the goals of your members. As 2019 comes to a close, we get a fresh start, a renewed sense of hope for what lies ahead, and the opportunity to help everyone achieve their goals. 

Happy New Year!


Courtney Harrness is a multi-site executive director for the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities.


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