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“New Year, New Me”: How to Make Your New Year’s Goals Stick

“New Year, New Me” doesn’t just have to be a popular phrase. Learn how to make it a reality this year.

Benita Liew
Writer at Motion
Mar 6, 2024
Table of contents

Every New Year, many of us tell ourselves, “This time, it’s going to be different. New year, new me.”

Yet by February, our enthusiasm — along with most of our resolutions — has vanished. In fact, about 80% of us wave goodbye to our New Year’s resolutions once January is out of the picture.

As for sticking with them all year? Only a determined 8% manage that feat.

So, what’s their secret?

This guide is all about uncovering just that. From setting achievable goals to building habits that last, let’s explore how to make the “New Year, New Me” mantra a reality.

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What does “New Year, New Me” mean?

Ever thought of giving yourself a total reboot? That’s what “New Year, New Me” is all about. It’s about shedding last year’s skin and stepping into a brighter, shinier version of yourself.

Whether that means picking up new habits, dropping old ones, or taking bold steps toward your dreams, “New Year, New Me” is your yearly reminder that change is possible — and now’s the perfect time to make it happen.

How do you start a new year with a new you?

Thinking about reinventing yourself this year but not sure where to start? Don’t sweat it. We’ve put together some easy tips to get you rolling into the new year with a bang. Let’s check them out.

1. Reflect on the past year

Let’s start traveling back in time to last year. What rocked? What was rough?

Give yourself a high-five for the wins — even the tiny ones — and acknowledge the bumps along the way. Did you notice any patterns in how you did things?

This step isn’t about being hard on yourself. Instead, it’s about learning and growing.

2. Adopt a “theme” for the year

Forget about juggling a million resolutions. This year, simplify your goals with a theme that sparks joy and drives your actions. It could be “adventure,” “courage,” “balance,” or any other word that lights you up.

For example, if your theme is “balance” this year, that could mean using a tool like Motion to prioritize your tasks so that you never a) take too much on or b) miss deadlines, resulting in overtime.

Let this theme shape your choices, actions, and what you prioritize day-to-day. It’s your recipe for staying on track, with or without a list of resolutions.

Theme of the year examples

‎3. Set clear, achievable goals

It’s time to get SMART with your goals. We’re talking goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. So, instead of a vague goal, like “get in shape,” dial it in with “exercise three times a week.”

And here’s a pro tip: jot your goals down. Seriously, scribbling them down can boost your chances of achieving them by 42%. Plus, if you tie these goals to your yearly theme, you’re not just checking boxes — you’re crafting a meaningful chapter in your life story.

4. Break goals into actionable steps

Big dreams don't have to be big drags. The trick? Carve them into smaller, snackable tasks.

For example, if your primary goal is to write a book, start by writing 500 words a day. That way, you keep the goal-crushing train moving — but without feeling swamped.

And for an extra fun twist, turn it into a game. Reward yourself with points or treats for each task you conquer.

Apps like Habitica can even make your to-do list into an RPG adventure, where completing tasks nets you gold and gear, while bad habits zap your health. This is a playful way to stay on track and see your progress come to life.

5. Use a planner or goal-setting app

Stepping into the new year with clarity and focus is easier when you’ve got the right tools at your fingertips. Whether you’re a fan of traditional planners and journals or prefer the convenience of digital apps, these resources can help you plot your course and keep your eyes on the prize.

For example, with Motion, you can set deadlines for each task on your plate. Plus, we’ll alert you if your goals seem a tad too ambitious to help things stay realistic and keep you from overloading yourself. Not only that, but every task you create automatically lands on your calendar, making it a cinch to see — and seize — your goals.

But don’t just use these tools for tracking. Let them remind you to pause, reflect, and adjust your course as needed. That way, your path to achievement will not just be organized but also genuinely enlightening.

6. Establish a routine or habit

You won't get butter by half-heartedly whipping cream and calling it quits. No, you’ve got to keep churning until that creamy goodness becomes solid. This is our tasty way of reminding you that you need to be consistent.

By spicing up your routine with habits that align with your goals, you make every day a step toward success. And with Motion, you can set up recurring tasks to take advantage of habit stacking, where you piggyback a new habit onto an existing one.

But how do you stack your habits?

Well, in his book Feel Better in 5, Dr. Rangan Chatterjee suggests squeezing in a quick five-minute workout while your morning coffee brews. This task is so simple and short that it effortlessly fits into your day, helping you build healthier habits without even trying.

Chart with habit stacking examples

‎7. Seek support and accountability

Nothing spells progress like having a support network to cheer you on. So, team up with your squad — friends, family, or coworkers — and spill your goals to them. They’ll motivate you and keep you honest. Hold regular check-ins with them for that extra push.

Bonus move: create a “goal buddies” club for swapping stories, victories, and “oopsies.” Try meeting up online or face-to-face to fuel each other's fire.

8. Practice saying “yes” (or “no”)

Ready for a little experiment?

If you’re usually on the cautious side, try switching gears by saying “yes” to things that normally make you hesitate. New hobbies, spontaneous plans, different foods — let them in.

On the other hand, if you’re always stretching yourself thin, then “no” is your new best friend. Guard your personal space by declining to do things that don’t serve your well-being.

How about dedicating a month to this challenge? Whether that means saying “yes” to new adventures or “no” to too many tasks, see how this transforms your month — and maybe even your year.

9. Celebrate milestones and progress

Always keep tabs on how far you’ve come with your goals.

It’s totally fine to change your plans if you need to — after all, being adaptable is a strength. And remember, every achievement, no matter its size, deserves a round of applause.

To keep your motivation sky-high, why not try out the “Jar of Awesome” technique? Whenever you hit a goal or make noteworthy progress, jot it down and pop it into the jar. Watching it fill up is a powerful way to see just how much you’re achieving, making it a great motivator to climb even higher.

10. Stay flexible and adapt

The only constant is change, right? Keep this in mind as your goals and priorities evolve throughout the year. Sometimes, what seemed like a must-do in January doesn’t fit your life come June. Staying flexible means you can roll with the punches without losing your way.

Here’s a handy tip: Every few months, do a “pivot or persevere” check-in. This is your moment to reflect; should you keep charging forward, or should you adjust your sails and go a different way?

And don’t worry about the curveballs life throws at you. Motion’s got your back, automatically adjusting your schedule when surprises pop up, helping you stay on track yet flexible.

Tasks and meetings syncing automatically in Motion

‎11. Be prepared for setbacks

Every journey has its ups and downs, and yours will be no different. Instead of getting discouraged by setbacks, see them as lessons in disguise. What can you learn from them? How can they help you grow?

And be kind to yourself in these moments, knowing that perseverance is part of the process. Setbacks aren’t reasons to quit — they’re opportunities to strive even harder.

27 new habits to supercharge your 2024

Forbes Health found that the top goals for 2024 are getting healthier (48%), fixing finances (38%), and boosting mental health (36%). Let’s explore 27 new habits, separated into categories, to help nail these goals and make 2024 your best year yet:

Improve your physical health

Improving your physical health doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Break it down into two key habits: getting active and eating right.

Exercise more:

1. Start with something simple, as Dr. Chatterjee suggests, and do just five minutes of it every day. You can do strength training, a quick HIIT session, or just run on the spot — whatever works for you.

Eat healthier:

2. On the nutrition front, aim to eat two servings of fruit and five servings of vegetables every day.

3. Also, limit ordering takeout to just once per week (or even month).

Pro tip: To help keep these new habits on track, use Motion’s recurring tasks feature to remind you until these things become second nature. It’s the little steps that lead to big health gains.

Strengthen your mental well-being

Boosting your mental well-being involves tackling stress, nurturing your mental health, and getting plenty of rest.

Reduce stress:

4. Ease into yoga or meditation by downloading an app and committing to a daily session. It doesn’t matter if it's just five minutes on a hectic day or a longer stretch when your schedule is more relaxed — what counts is making the time.

5. Pair this with five minutes of daily journaling to unwind and reflect.

Improve mental health:

6. Book your first therapy session and consider making it a regular part of your schedule, whether it’s weekly, monthly, or whatever feels right for you.

7. Write down three things you’re grateful for every night.

Get more sleep:

8. Dedicate the hour before bed to screen-free relaxation, like reading or meditating.

9. Stop drinking caffeine after 2 p.m.

Pro tip: To keep these essential self-care habits from slipping through the cracks, prioritize them in Motion’s task manager. That way, they’ll remain a non-negotiable part of your daily routine, even on your busier days.

Motion task priority with “High” highlighted

‎Fix your finances

To make your new year a prosperous one, focus on three pillars of financial health: saving smarter, slashing debt, and being savvy with your finances.

Save money:

10. Kick things off by saving 10% of your paycheck for a “fun fund.” And automate it to make saving effortless.

11. Begin an emergency fund by saving up $1,000. Then, keep the momentum going with regular small contributions.

Reduce debt:

12. Prioritize paying off high-interest debts to free up cash for more enjoyable pursuits.

13. Call your creditors to see if you can negotiate better deals.

Improve financial literacy:

14. Create (and stick to) a monthly budget that accounts for income, expenses, and debt payments.

15. Carve out time each weekend to level up on investing know-how.

Boost your personal growth

This year, make personal growth a priority with habits that enrich your mind, soul, and time.

Learning and intellectual goals:

16. Start small by reading a page a day, or aim for a book each month to expand your mind.

Creativity and hobbies:

17. Dedicate a little slice of your day — 20 minutes or so — to do something creative, whether that’s strumming on a guitar, painting, or knitting, to nurture your soul.

Time management:

18. For better time management, try the Pomodoro Technique to break work into focused intervals.

19. Critically evaluate your social media habits to create boundaries that support your productivity and happiness.

Chart your professional ascent

Does “New Year, New Me” mean amping up your career this year? Try these habits out for size:

Get a new job or promotion:

20. Invest an hour each day to landing your dream job or scouting for new opportunities.

21. Set a deadline for when you’ll ask for that well-deserved raise or promotion.

Improve professional skills:

22. Level up your game by enrolling in courses or earning certifications relevant to your field.

How a successful person achieves goals

‎Build meaningful connections

Make this year the year you elevate your social life and relationships.

Spend more time with loved ones:

23. Lock in a regular date night with your partner to keep the romance alive.

24. Surprise friends with spontaneous calls or meet-ups to show you care.

25. Family time is precious, so carve out an hour daily or make weekends your family haven.

Meet new people:

26. Explore Meetup for events that pique your interest.

27. Sign up for a class in something you’ve always wanted to try, whether that’s dance, cooking, woodworking, or something else.

Just pick one of these good habits and watch as your world blossoms in ways you’d never imagined.

Say “hello” to your New Year’s game plan

If “New Year, New Me” feels more like “New Year, who dis?”, that’s totally okay. The trick is to be gentle with yourself as you start over. Remember, tweaking your game plan is part of the process until it fits you just right.

The real game-changer? Making things super simple for yourself. By scheduling your new habits with Motion, you move beyond mere willpower and memory — you make sure they happen. Every. Single. Time.

Ready to start the new year right? Try Motion for free today.

Benita Liew
Benita is a wizard at breathing life into the dry and dense world of B2B SaaS. Bringing a fresh perspective to every piece, Benita turns exhaustive research into a delightful read, making even the most well-covered topics feel fresh and exciting. When she's not writing, you can find her collecting recipes and crocheting her own clothes.
Written by Benita Liew