Making Realistic New Year’s Resolutions [in 2023]

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2022 was financially unstable.

As the year comes to an end, you may feel a sense of disappointment and frustration about the lost opportunity to achieve your financial goals. You may feel overwhelmed by the thought of starting the next year from your current position.

On New Year’s Eve, you envisioned how the coming year would turn out.

You probably didn’t envision the situation we are in now.

The plans have changed.

Whatever your situation, start planning how you will get out of this with minimal damage.

Now is a great place for the fresh start effect.

You don’t have to wait to reset your life. Today is the first day of the next 365 days you can achieve something!

new year's resolutions

I hope you will get better from now on!

Your year will be as good as you make it.

Set and achieve new goals. What can you do in your professional life to manage the crisis? Love others and be loved in your personal life. This will never change. Make new friends and fix old relationships. Help others, and when the year is over, you can say it’s better than you now hope it would be.

Evaluate what you have achieved and commit to being better for the next 365 days. Use the fresh start effect.

Here are the goals and how to reach them:

  1. The Fresh Start Effect
  2. Family Goals
  3. Improve Your Health
  4. Exercise More
  5. Work and Professional Goals
  6. Way Towards Financial Freedom
  7. Invest for Your Kids
  8. How to make New Year’s Resolutions that Stick
  9. Next Steps to Achieve Your Goals

Write down your goals to get results faster. In this post, you will find goals that are important to most people and techniques that will help you reach your goals.

Make a New Year’s resolution for 2023

New Year’s resolution is a great way to set yourself up for success. One study found that people who make a resolution to change their behavior are 10 times more likely to succeed.

If you want to ensure your success, then do not promise too much. Approximately 60% of people drop their resolutions by the 6-month mark.

If you want to succeed, set yourself one or two goals, and focus on those. If you want to tackle more areas, then the goals overwhelm you, and you won’t get the results you want.

new years resolution quote Gaiman

Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, do it. ― Neil Gaiman

Check out our huge list of habits that you can develop over the year 30 Ways to Improve Your Life, Get Results, and Be Happier.

The Fresh Start Effect

The popularity of New Year’s resolutions suggests that people are more likely to tackle their goals immediately following important dates. This phenomenon has the potential to help people overcome significant willpower problems. Across three archival field studies, the authors provide evidence of a “fresh start effect.”

They propose that these dates define the passage of time, creating new mental accounting periods, which relegate past imperfections to a previous period, induce people to take a big-picture view of their lives, and thus motivate aspirational behaviors.

The authors of the study are Hengchen DaiKatherine Milkman, and Jason Riis.

Let’s look at different areas of your life where you could improve over the next six months.

Family Goals

Relationships take work. Even the best relationships can fall apart when you are not working on them actively. Here are some of the ideas you can implement in your life.

Be a better partner

Say “I love you” – For some, this comes naturally, but for others, it’s important to make it a habit. Show your love and say it, too. Saying “I love you” will improve your life.

Helping at home – Share the work with your partner even if you put in 12 hours at work. Sure, if you put in work-work, then it’s often more valuable than vacuuming the house. But, and it’s a huge but, if you don’t share home chores visibly with your partner, then it still blows up in your face. You can put in 500 hours of work-work and take your partner to 10 trips to faraway lands, and it won’t help if you don’t share chores.

Supporting professionally – If your partner works, then show interest in what they do. If the work they do is far above you, then simply marvel and encourage them. In case you know something about the field they work in, have meaningful discussions, and be a sounding board for their ideas. Help your partner grow.

Talking about the hard things before they explode – In every relationship, there are good times and bad times. Defuse the bad times as soon as you notice the problems. Carrying the problems with you will not only make them bigger, but it will also put a mental load on you and your partner. More mental load means you have less willpower. Less willpower escalates the situation even more. Talk about the problems as soon as possible.

Listening openly – Listen without comments. Don’t think about what you will say next. Listen to your partner to understand them better. Listen, when they are happy, to share their emotions. Listen intently when they are mad so you understand their position. You get extra credit for repeating what they said and getting an honest “yes” answer.

Date nights – We are all busy! Time crunch makes us cut corners. We do it often with the closest people we have, as they will understand. Don’t shortchange your relationship. Commit to a date night every week. Seems impossible? Start with two nights every month. Put it in your calendar now and brainstorm ideas about what to do. Use Google if you can’t think of anything.

These are the most common problems that drive people and the fixes that help you avoid them. Make a New Year’s resolution to implement at least one of these ideas in your life and make it a tradition.

new years resolution quote Oprah

Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right. ― Oprah Winfrey

Be consistent with your kids

Sometimes you are really happy. Sometimes you get tired. Sometimes you are angry or maybe hungry.

All these states of mind influence how you treat your kids. When you are rested and in a positive mood, then you can bear the mental load of enforcing the rules and building discipline in your children. The next day, after a seemingly endless workday, you don’t have the mental capacity to deal with the problem at hand.

Inconsistency teaches kids that the point is not in the principles but in the circumstances. Being consistent with your kids may be one of the hardest things you have to do. Do it anyway because the character you build this way is the best gift you can give to your children.

I will make the New Year’s resolution to be as strong as need be.

Stay in touch with the older members of your family

As we get older, we lose friends. Our network shrinks.

Call your mom and dad every week. If physically possible, visit them every week or as often as you can. You don’t have to spend a lot of time when meeting them because if you meet and call often, then you have a lot less to catch up on.

Read next:  Your Home is a Great Real Estate Investment [VIDEO]

This year I lost two members of the family. I could have spent more time with them. Not only at the end but way back when they were still very active in their lives.

Be there for other old members of your family. Grandparents and uncles and aunts and others who have seen you grow up. Call or visit them on their birthdays and invite them to events like Thanksgiving and Christmas. The attention you give them is a small thing for you but an important part of their lives.

Important: Don’t visit your older relatives during the virus outbreak. But now, when most people have grasped the upside of video conferencing, talk to them every day for 5 or 10 minutes.

Remember special occasions

Birthdays are important for most people. Put all your family members’ birthdays on a calendar and call them. Send a physical birthday card, and meet them. Let them know that you remember and you care.

Make a New Year’s resolution to contact all your relatives and friends on their birthdays. Now just create a note, and write down all the people who should be on that list. More is better. Find out everybody’s birthday. Now open your calendar app and add all the people’s birthdays as recurring appointments.

Remember anniversaries. Use the calendar app! Although the word anniversary implies a yearly occurrence, you can do it more often. For example, we have celebrated countless milestones with my partner:

  • 1 year
  • 1000 days
  • 2222 days
  • 55555 hours
  • 400 million seconds

We just had a 444,444,444 secondversary with my partner.

new years resolution quote Lewis

There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind. – C. S. Lewis


4th of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Mother’s Day, Father’s day, and other public holidays are a great excuse to contact your relatives. But you can find even more thoughtful ideas. Maybe they like pasta? Let them know that October 25th is World Pasta Day, and you want to meet them at the pasta place next to their home. Or just call!

Random days of the year

When you want to stand out, call people on random days of the year and follow up on the last meeting you had with them. When you congratulate them on their birthdays, then you are one of many, but when you call them on a random day, then you make a meaningful impact.

Habits and traditions

Tie all the behaviors together into habits and traditions. The things you want to do daily have to become habits. Create traditions around the more infrequent events like Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Improve Your Health

The primary health goal for most people is to lose weight. If you want to lose weight and keep it off, then your New Year’s resolution should be about your eating habits, not a specific weight goal. With enough willpower, you can starve yourself to your goal. But then the weight will not stay off.

Make a New Year’s resolution that you will eat healthier and focus on changing your eating habits. This way, you will lose weight and keep it off.

Eat less fast-burning carbohydrates:

  • sugar,
  • flour,
  • starch.

A low-carb diet means no pastry, no potatoes, and no milk (lactose is sugar):

  • more veggies,
  • meat, and
  • fat.

Yes, fat helps you get thin if you avoid sugars.

Here’s a great video about sugar

Exercise More

Do you know what is one of the most important things you can do to be more fit and healthier? It’s the daily walking habit. You don’t have to run or go to the gym. Just start walking in one direction for 20 minutes and then turn around and walk back.

That’s it!

Every day!

Another thing you should remember is that exercise is not a weight-loss tool. When you run 10k, then you lose 700 to 1000 calories. Big Mac meal is at least 1,080.

big mack meal calories

You lose weight in the kitchen, not in the gym or running trail.

new year's resolutions quote Helen Keller

Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy, and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties. ~ Helen Keller

Work and Professional Goals

Professional development resolutions help you expand your earning potential. When you are making New Year’s resolutions for professional growth, focus on processes. Goals are the outcome of well-executed processes. Here are some habits that you may consider:

  • Writing every day.
  • Connecting with at least two work contacts every day.
  • Getting to and keeping inbox zero messages.
  • Reading 10 to 20 pages from one professional book every day.
  • Making one sale every day.

There are countless other possibilities specific to your circumstances. Decide what do you want out of your life, and build a habit that helps you get there.

Way Towards Financial Freedom

Your financial situation is critical to your happiness. It’s the energy that lets you do all other things in your life. Money alone will not bring you happiness, but it’s much better to be unhappy with money in the bank than without it.

Money is security!

The Debt You Have

You should strive to become debt-free. Whenever you buy something with debt, you pay more for that item than you would when paying with the money you have. Interest rates can be as high as 20 to 30 per year. High interest means that your 500-dollar TV set could end up costing you 1000 dollars.

Debt to buy assets

There’s one exception to taking on debt.

If you buy assets that make you more money than the loan payment, then you can call it a leveraged investment. You still have to be careful. There are three big categories of investments:

You buy something that you think will appreciate over time. You can buy gold, Apple shares, old wines, art, and so forth.

Sometimes, it’s pure gambling.

For example, when you buy shares of a company, then you bet that the company will do well, pay a dividend, and the share price will go up. Sometimes it will, and sometimes it won’t. Gambling with loan money is stupid.

Are you stupid?

new years resolution quote Persson

Let our New Year’s resolution be this: we will be there for one another as fellow members of humanity, in the finest sense of the word. ― Goran Persson

Investing in your own business is sometimes a reason to take on debt. You are still gambling. Just not with publicly traded shares. Here, going bust is even more likely. Investing in your own business is, indeed, one of the most profitable investments you can make, but please don’t do it with the loan money until you have had some real income from the business.

Don’t be stupid!

Real estate debt is a combination of the two previous options. Real estate prices tend to go up over time (if the population in that area is stable or grows).

You can make money off rental income from the real estate you buy with the loan money. These two factors combined should give you 5 to 10 percent of inflation-proof income for the foreseeable future. Even in the unlikely event of the 2008 real estate crash, you will regain your value over the next decade or so. Not an ideal scenario, but not a total bust either.

Read next:  Why Fake It Till You Make It is a Great Way to Improve Yourself

Make sure you can service the loan from rental and other income. Make sure that you can do that even when central banks raise interest rates to 5 or 10 percent levels.

Read more about how your home is a real estate investment.

Important: Now, we are looking at another crisis. Right now, nobody knows what will happen. If you are not a professional, do not try to time the market or speculate on the current situation. Most people lose their money this way. Professionals, too.

Be smart!

Make a New Year’s resolution that you only have debt or take out loans that pay for themselves.


Income goals are easy to set and hard to achieve. If you have a boss who pays your salary, then there may not be an opportunity to increase your income from that source. Then find something that you can do as a side project and increase your income that way. It doesn’t have to be much, but take action and make some extra money.

I suggest that the money you make is a side project that could grow into something bigger and set you off on your path to financial freedom. Driving for Uber is not a viable long-term income strategy.

Resolve to make some extra money every month.


You may not be able to increase your income at will, but usually, there are some expenses you can cut. If you are not destitute, then there are expenses you don’t need. Make a New Year’s resolution not to waste money.


When you increase your income and decrease your expenses, then you have something left to invest. Put all the money you save into index funds. Every time your income increases, put half of that into an index fund.

When you have enough money in the index fund, then you could start thinking about investing in real estate. You can start by investing through a crowdsourcing platform that grants loans to developers. The key here is that those loans have to be mortgage-backed. Anything above 5 percent per year is excellent in this situation.

After you have saved enough, you may buy and manage your rental real estate. If you are successful, get into real estate development and take on larger projects.

Make a New Year’s resolution that you will invest some of your savings every month in index funds or real estate.

new years resolution quote Robert

Character is the ability to carry out a good resolution long after the excitement of the moment has passed. – Cavett Robert

Invest for Your Kids

The other day I talked with my son about how money crows. He’s 19 now. With my help, he has about 1000 dollars invested in real estate. These real estate investments are mortgage-backed and make about 10% per year. (Yes, you can do 10%).

I showed him that when we keep this up and invest 100 dollars more next year and 200 the year after that and so on, then by the time he gets to my age, he will have 165 thousand dollars in investments.

OK, I get it that the value of money drops about 2.5 times over 30 years. The purchasing power of that 165 thousand dollars will be 66 thousand. But even so, it’s a considerable backup reserve. Most Americans have a problem coming up with 500 dollars in the case of an emergency (Forbes).

If you are not investing right now for yourself or your kids, then do it now!

Put 100 dollars in an index fund and add something every month.

Here’s how you can build a tiered personal emergency fund.

Important: In the current crisis, there may become a time when you spend more than you make. Or maybe you don’t make anything. Cut all the costs, save every penny. Put aside anything you can.

How to make New Year’s Resolutions that Stick?

New Year’s resolutions are notorious! We make them but do not keep them. Here are the tips that help you increase the odds of following through with your promises to yourself.

Make a list of everything – When you are making New Year’s resolutions, go all out. Write down everything you want to accomplish in your life.

Priorities – Next, line your resolutions up in order of priority. What’s most important to you? Select the most important thing you want to accomplish in the coming year and start working on it.

One resolution at a time – Don’t work on more than one resolution at the same time. For example, studies have shown that if you try to quit smoking and lose weight at the same time, then you will most likely fail at both.

Go one by one – If you are making progress on your most important goal, then squeeze more New Year’s resolutions into your year. Work with one habit change for 30 to 60 days before you start on a new resolution. The time it takes habits to form means that the optimal number of resolutions for one year is somewhere between one and five.

Don’t overdo it! One habit that sticks is worth more than all the other goals that you set but do not achieve.

Everything worth doing takes time – One resource that gets depleted when working with many resolutions at the same time is willpower. The other is time. You will fail if you take on so many responsibilities that it will be impossible to fit them into your schedule.

1. From all my New Year’s resolutions, I have learned to set my goals super low. Just on goal at the same time.


If you are 20 pounds overweight. Make a decision to track what you eat in the first month, not lose weight. Take a picture of every meal. Next month, every time you take a picture, decide to eat a bit less of that food.

If you want to start exercising, start walking. The least amount of resistance. Get out, walk 15 minutes in one direction, and then come back. Add 1 minute every week.

2. Don’t skip two days in a row. Even if you really don’t feel like going for a walk, put on your running/walking shoes and go outside your front door. Stand there for a minute and come back in. Or you might reconsider during the 1-minute wait and still go for a walk.

Next Steps to Achieving Your Goals

  • Select 5 things you want to change in the coming year.
  • Start working on the most important one.
  • Do it at least for 30 to 60 days or until you feel the habit taking root.
  • Select the next important resolution and start to work on that.
  • Make sure you don’t fail on the first goal.

Repeat the steps until you have everything you want in your life. Sometimes you will fail. When that happens, stop doing the least important habit, and you will lessen the demands on your willpower.

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This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Ruth

    Great read and tips, thank you! I always fail my New Years resolution. Always! I came across an interesting read- and it put a different perspective on the whole new year thing. What are your thoughts on it? Maybe I should aim towards being more resilient.

  2. Alyssa

    I was reading this and I thought to myself, “Where and HOW did they think of all this?” I guess my New Year’s Resolutions are getting a bit smarter and getting some more creativity. Nah. I want to be able to actually reach the goals I’ve had since last year.

    1. Priit Kallas

      Just pick one and stick with it.

  3. vivek rajkotia

    Nice article! Cover almost every aspect for new year resolution.

    1. Priit Kallas

      Thank you!

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Priit Kallas

Founder of I created FixWillpower to help you reach your goals. I have struggled my entire life to be consistent and avoid procrastination. The goal is to have a good life, do the things you love and get your results with minimum effort. FixWillpower website is about how I create motivation and productivity in my life. I write about the tools and techniques, best books, scientific research, and everything else that helps you move faster and stay on track. Minimum effort doesn’t mean slacking off. Minimum effort is about effectiveness and productivity. If there is a way to reach a goal in a shorter time or with less exertion, then you should use that. I will help you be smarter and reach goals faster. About FixWillpower