By Sharon Schweitzer

We all acknowledge that a difference of opinion exists about New Year’s resolutions. In fact, you might prefer to refer to them as goals instead. However, The Washington Post cites statistics revealing how New Year resolutions create a tremendous opportunity for self-improvement.

The top priority for US Americans who make new year resolutions is seeking a healthier life according to a recent Statista Global Consumer Survey. This included increased exercise, better nutrition, and dropping pounds. Saving money and spending quality time with friends and family are the next most popular goals.  Twenty percent want to lower job-related stress.

Living a healthier life and reducing (or quitting!) habits that involve alcohol and cigarettes also made the list. Improving our planet and environment also ranked highly. Additionally, 10% of respondents plan to become vegetarian or vegan.

My husband John and I leverage the year-end as reflection time for new habits and practices we to add. So, what has worked for us? Here are 6 tips to keep in mind when setting your New Year goals or resolutions.

  1. Planning and Reflection in Advance: Begin now. Whether in the month of December or January, take time to reflect and meditate about what to accomplish in 2023. What was successful in 2022? What was not? How do you want next year to differ? Set your intentions by capturing your thoughts in writing. Use a beautiful new journal or talk with a trusted confidant.
  2. Starting with Small Steps: Yes, big goals are exciting! Think about starting small and progressing slowly toward your ultimate goals. Break each goal down into steps. Each step accomplished toward the mail goal counts as multiple successful steps. For example, in line with other US Americans, you want to eat healthier. Consider drinking more water, replacing sugary drinks, and boosting green vegetable intake. Set your goal as a reachable resolution and set the bar high – just include attainable and realistic steps.
  3. Setting realistic goals: Avoid overwhelming yourself. Changing habits requires time and patience. Setting just one goal at a time provides an opportunity to focus and accomplish. Consider a color, word, or theme for the year – purple, health or fitness. Envision a single goal for each quarter or month.
  4. Being Gentle with Yourself: Small missteps are to be expected. We are not perfect. It is a small misstep to succumb to that decadent breakfast taco or skip a morning walk. Achieving these goals is requires overcoming hurdles – and that is why accomplishment is so gratifying. Assess small failures as a little setback and continue your forward momentum.
  5. Seeking Support: Enlisting friends and family for support will help keep you accountable. Having supporters that can encourage you and listen to your obstacles will make the journey enjoyable, easier, and healthier for the mind.
  6. Considering options:  If you are not sure where to start, consider these 5 suggestions:
    1. Saying NO more Frequently
    2. Prioritizing positive thoughts
    3. Focusing on the present – the “now”
    4. Planning with follow-through
    5. Clearing space and decluttering


Experts estimate that half of U.S. Americans set New Year Resolutions annually, however, according research by Richard Wiseman, 88% of those setting resolutions fail to accomplish them. Avoid becoming a part of the 88% that fail each year, instead set yourself up for success and be part of the 12% that succeed!


Photo by Polina Kovaleva


 Sharon Schweitzer, J.D., is a cross-cultural trainer, modern manners expert, and the founder of Access to Culture. In addition to her accreditation in intercultural management from the HOFSTEDE Centre and the Intercultural Communication Institute, she serves as a Chinese Ceremonial Dining Etiquette Specialist in the documentary series Confucius was a Foodie, on Nat Geo People. Her Amazon #1 Best Selling book in International Business, Access to Asia: Your Multicultural Business Guide, now in its third printing, was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books. She’s a winner of the British Airways International Trade Award at the Greater Austin Business Awards

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