The Secret to Make New Year Resolutions Stick

How do we stay committed to our resolutions after the 6 week mark?

What is the trick to making a healthy lifestyle change and not solely completing a 4-week detox only to return to our old habits on week 5?

The secret is simple: Make this one-word change.

A simple switch  from “I must go the the gym three times a week” to “I want to go to the gym three times a week” can make our goals within reach (David, 2017).

When we are compelled by a wagging finger instead of a willing heart, we end up in an internal tug-of-war between good intentions and less-than-stellar execution.

— Susan David

If we drag ourselves do the gym each week, how will this behavior lead to a consistent exercise routine?

If we call our relatives out of obligation, how will we engage in a meaningful conversation?

Want-to goals reflect a person’s genuine interest and values, while have-to goals are imposed, often by a nagging loved one or by our own sense of obligation.

— Susan David

Want-t0 goals reflect an individual’s genuine interest and values (his/her “why”). We commit to these goals because of personal enjoyment, inherent importance of the goal, or the goal relates to our core identity. However, most significantly, we freely and openly choose these goals. 


Have-t0 goals are imposed, often by a nagging loved one (“You’ve gotta lose that gut!”) or by our own sense of obligation, often to avoid shame (“Good grief! I look like the Goodyear blimp! I can’t go to the wedding looking like this!”).

Have-to motivations will lead to positive changes, however eventually this type of motivation will crumble and fade. Want-to motivations allow us  to commit to a healthy lifestyle change for years to come! 

I’m not suggesting we should all simply think positive and ignore real concerns. If you can’t find a want-to, then that could be a sign that change is in order.

— Susan David

What changes do you need to make in 2018?

What are your want-to goals, the things in your life that you enjoy and that simply make you, you?






David, S. (2017). Want to help you resolutions stick? Make this one-word change. Ideas. Ted.Com. Explore Ideas Worth Sharing. doi: Accessed on December 31, 2017.

About rrluthi

Certified fitness expert with a passion for educating and empowering people of all ages (young "kiddos" to the active aging "baby boomers") about the benefits of adopting and maintaining an active, healthy lifestyle, preventing injury, and feeling good. Proven strengths applying cutting-edge fitness/wellness concepts and research through roles as a health coach, fitness trainer, group exercise instructor, and rehabilitation aide—in addition to promoting these concepts in a more systematic way through blogging and social media, community outreach, and corporate wellness program facilitation.
This entry was posted in Appreciation, Attitude, Being Present, Goal Setting, Gratitude, Happiness, Inspiration, Motivation, Positive Thinking, Self-Love, TEDTalks and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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