New Year’s Resolutions: Focus on Success for the Long-Term!

January 12, 2023
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Happy New Year. Hope you had a great holiday. It’s that time again - early January. Many of us are making our 2023 resolutions. Unfortunately, almost no one keeps their resolutions. Here are the facts (compliments of Insideout Mastery):

  • 39% of American adults make New Year’s resolutions every year
  • 59% of young adults (18-34) have resolutions
  • 48% want to exercise more- top 3 resolutions are health related
  • 23% quit in the first week, only 36% make it past the first month, most people quit on the second Friday of January
  • Only 9% successfully keep their New Year’s resolutions
  • 35% of people fail because they “lost their motivation”
  • Many failed because they didn’t really commit

If you really don’t mind being part of the 91% whose resolutions are never accomplished, you don’t need to read any further. If you are interested in making changes that could help you lead a more fulfilling life, read on.

Experts have said that those individuals who keep their resolutions are more committed and more resilient. These “successful” people also understand deeply why they want to make a change. In almost all cases, their long-term goals are well defined and include detailed mileposts.  Accountability, often with a partner, is also a key. 

The experts say it starts with making goals/resolutions that really matter. Personally, I recently read Austin Bollinger’s (author of “Crush Your Goals”) list of “26 Ultimate Life Goals to Focus on to Live a Fulfilling Life” and have adopted a few for 2023. They cover four main categories:

  • Focus on Long-Term Happiness (goals 1-8)
  • Foster Deep Relationships (goals 9-13)
  • Tap into Your Full Potential (goals 14-20)
  • Discover and Live Purpose-Driven Life (goals 21-26)

Here are the 26. See what you think.

  • Start a gratitude journal - begin each day by journaling 3-5 things for which you are truly grateful
  • Create a life-plan - what legacy do you want to leave behind?
  • Develop a health exercise routine
  • Find a way to give back
  • Start a creative hobby
  • Become more mindful - we need to live in the present
  • Be kind daily
  • Seek personal growth
  • Eliminate bad relationships and strengthen the good ones
  • Surround yourself with people you admire
  • Do something new together every month with your significant other or good friend
  • Have deep and vulnerable conversations
  • Spend one evening not talking about yourself
  • Embrace Failure - “Sometimes you win - sometimes you learn.”
  • Identify your strengths, weaknesses, and personality type
  • Do something that scares you
  • Take a risk
  • Ask for more responsibility at work
  • Find a mentor
  • Become a mentor or teach someone
  • Defend your dream by saying “No”- make your goals/resolutions a real priority
  • Discover your dreams with “Blue Sky Thinking”- a technique to help you discover your passions
  • Define your values - and then live them daily
  • Be your authentic you every day
  • Try new things
  • Find a career you are passionate about - Americans on average spend 90,000 hours working - shouldn’t you love what you are doing?

Once the goals are selected, we need to spend some time, perhaps with the help of a trusted friend, and identify specifically what must be accomplished in the next 12 months to be “successful” in accomplishing this goal. This would include a detailed work program; by month, week and/or day as to what we need to do. Just as companies set KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to measure and gauge their overall performance, we need very specific quantifiable goals to monitor our personal progress to living a more fulfilling life.  As Ray Dalio, himself named to TIME’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world, says in his book series “Principles” it's important to understand why we haven’t done this previously and what behaviors need to change for this to be accomplished.  

To be successful, experts say we need to be accountable to ourselves. Typically, we need to establish a system, either manually or electronically, to document the specific goals/mileposts over time and our specific results. Experts suggest we share the review with a trusted friend, perhaps reviewing performance every week or every other week together. We’re talking about changing behaviors - that’s not easy.

We wish you luck on not only establishing your 2023 goals/resolutions, but also in selecting and defining them in such a way as to allow you to monitor them regularly and accomplish them. The current 91% “failure rate” is why experts say it takes commitment, work, and perseverance to keep your resolutions. In closing, I’m reminded of a seminar I attended decades ago on the topic of time management. I don’t remember the speaker’s name, but he put it very simply: “It’s all about how we spend our time. A successful life is composed of a series of successful days.” Here’s hoping your days in 2023 and your life are successful and fulfilling.


Detterbeck Wealth Management is a fee-only financial planning / wealth management company with offices located in Palatine, IL (Chicago area) and Charleston, SC areas serving clients locally and across the country. To contact us about setting up an appointment, please see our contact us page