New Years Resolutions You Will Actually Stick To - Journalling for life - Exisle Publishing
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New Year is the perfect time to begin a new journal. This year, instead of making resolutions you don’t stick with, journal your resolutions and plans and see the difference this will make!

The most important thing to open your new year planning is your to-be list, not your to-do list. This is all about how you want to feel this year, who and what you are going to honour, nurture, pay close attention to and enjoy in order to be joyful, happy and aligned to the best of who you are. Before you write any resolutions, spend time in your journal reflecting on the bigger picture.

Happy is the new successful.

Wellbeing is key to success.


What will help increase your happiness this year? Those who are more successful are engaged with passion, and enjoy the journey as much as the destination. Therefore they have less resistance and the planned activities do not clash with their values or sense of purpose.

Taking the time to dream big and plan your goals in your mind is an essential stage in starting anything. The way in which you express it to yourself and write it down, however, is critical to your eventual success. Your goals need to be exciting, fun and as motivating as possible. You need to write your goals from the vantage point of having already achieved the outcome.

For a new year’s resolution, you need a goal that is attainable within one year or less, and so this could be a subset of a larger goal, for example that you will save a certain sum towards the house that you are not going to be able to afford this year but within the next three years. You will always need a mix of longer-term and short-term goals, with a blend of projects at different levels of difficulty. The goals you choose need to be specific, so that it’s really clear what you need to do in order to achieve them.

Many of us think up some fantastic goals and ideas but we forget them. So ‘ink it once you have thought it’. By recording your goal or idea, exploring it, and then going back to review it, you make a more definite commitment to it. It’s good to spend time with new ideas, turn them over in your mind, scribble and sketch about them and make them yours. This is exactly the way in which amazing new ideas are invented or created. Thomas Edison’s journals are an example — they are full of all kinds of ideas, and one of them became the light bulb.


When you are creating — or reviewing — your effective new year’s action
plan, use the ‘SMART’ acronym. SMART is short for goals that are Specific, Meaningful, Agreed upon (i.e. you are fully committed), Realistic and that exist within a Timeframe. SMART goals are easy to understand, and you know when they have been accomplished.

New Year Journalling Prompts

A new year journal could also become your yearbook, a motivational planner or organizer that includes all the planning elements you need tied in with diary elements and monthly spreads.

You can use a bullet journal format or purchase a planner if you can find one where the structure, layout and design appeals to you. Spend time on choosing the best format, organizing and decorating it. This can become an annual ritual, with each year’s book building and improving on the last.

Journalling is for life and not just for new year, and you are going to set yourself up for success.

Name your journal for the year, and perhaps call it your yearbook, your goals book, or any name you find appealing and motivational.

Create a motivational vision board for the year ahead — a planning spread with visual elements. This could include space for financial goals, ambitions, professional goals, continued education, personal intentions, physical health, your social, community and friendships, intimate relationships, family and roots, creativity, fun, work–life balance, trips and events.

Write in personal reminders of why your goals are important to you.

Create an individualized mind map or spidergram of all you want to attend to and accomplish over the coming year.

Write the year date in a circle in the middle of the page and write all your areas of focus in spokes around this hub. Review this each month, as a way to renew and refresh your focus. What you give your time and attention to is what will grow.

Focus on how you feel when writing your goals.

Write goals that make you feel happy and aligned with the authentic you.

Then when you review them over the year this will help you maintain a positive outlook.

At the end or beginning of each year, take time to review how the previous year went.

List your wins, what you did and achieved, what changed, what you learned, perhaps activities you engaged in. List what you want to let go and leave behind with the old year.

List what you want to take forwards.

Write a personalized ‘mission statement’ for the year ahead, stating the definition, direction and purpose of your major goals.

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This is an edited extract from The Journal Writer’s Companion by Alyss Thomas. Alyss is an experienced writer, coach and therapist and has worked as a writing coach for over 20 years.

1 comment

  1. Great plan, Exisle. When we think about how to decorate our house for the New Year, first of all, the images of a dressed-up Christmas tree and luminous garlands come to mind … Boring! Find an alternative to traditional accessories and make bright decorative details. Nothing helps to create a festive mood, as a joint creative activity in which all family members are involved. In general, the New Year is a special holiday. I know that dreams come true on this day. For example, last year I had a daughter. Good luck in the new year!

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