How to Make Your New Year Resolutions Stick

We’re less than a week into 2018, but by now, most of us have already veered off the straight-and-narrow. In other words, we jotted down a list of resolutions, but can’t seem to stay on track. It’s an inevitable challenge tons of people face every January. Our goals and resolutions are backed with plenty of confidence, but follow-through is when the problems come. Yet we still subject ourselves to this vicious cycle year after year. Could it be that we’ve evolved past a traditional list of to-dos and need to put in a little more work?

Why We Fail

According to Molly Mahar, a writer and founder of the self-help website Stratejoy, the answer is, well, duh! “I see three things happening frequently that contribute to failure to achieve resolutions,” she says. “We aren’t clear on why we set a specific goal for ourselves, so we have nothing grounding us when the initial New Year’s goal-setting high has worn off. If our goals aren’t rooted or connected to a deep desire, it makes it nearly impossible for us to stay consistent and dedicated to them over time. Just ‘getting in shape’ or ‘being more patient’ or ‘earning a promotion’ won’t motivate you when things get hard—you need to know why you want it.”

Just ‘getting in shape’ or ‘earning a promotion’ won’t motivate you when things get hard—you need to know why you want it.

It’s also pretty hard to make changes by simply declaring them. Setting up resolutions without a proper support system, be it friends of otherwise, is another trap we typically fall into. And perhaps the biggest mistake we repeatedly make is settling on goals that simply aren’t authentic in one way or another.

“Just because your gal pal is doing Whole30 or your partner is starting a freelance business doesn’t mean it’s the right goal for you,” says Mahar. “And society has a whole lot of advice about would make your life better—being thinner, richer, more zen, more glamorous—but until you run it through your own lens and life, it’s not going to work.”

How We Can Fix It

If you’re hell-bent on checking things off your resolution list but aren’t sure how to effectively create change (other than knowing why you want that change in the first place), there are a few concrete things you can do. Start by removing your attention from naysayers and devoting more of it to studying the mentors and role models who have already accomplished what you hope to.

Mahar also recommends setting up an accountability system. Brainstorm a list of ways in which you’ll be able to track your goals. Can you set up weekly or monthly date with yourself to check in on your progress and evaluate your next steps forward? Do you need to join a group or hire help? Whose support and witnessing can you seek? Answer these questions before you decide to start and remember not to be so hard on yourself.

You’re human—you will fuck up. Give yourself a little grace for the inevitable mistakes and keep your focus on the long game.

“Give yourself some slack. Try dialing back the all-or-nothing mindset,” says Mahar. “You’re human—you will fuck up—but the more that one slip-up means failure, the harder it will be to get back on the wagon. Give yourself a little grace for the inevitable mistakes you’ll make and keep your focus on the long game.”

There are also alternatives to the traditional resolution list, such as a vision board that illustrates what you’re working toward or a support group (even if its membership is one person: you!). “Record a voice memo on your phone giving yourself a pep talk about why your goals matter and how you’re totally capable of reaching them—listen daily!” says Mahar. “Post your goals somewhere that you’ll see frequently—on your phone background, your bathroom mirror, or your fridge.”

Choose a Theme

But before you can take action, adjust your mindset. Mahar says to prepare for your resolutions by choosing a theme word that describes your ideal year. From there, “let your goals be born from those guides.”

“My theme word acts as my anchor during goal-setting and throughout the year. It’s one word I can return to and focus on when I feel like I’m drifting from my goals or feeling overwhelmed. Theme words I’ve used in the past have been ‘Revel,’ ‘Essential,’ ‘Pleasure,’ ‘Evolve’ and this year I’m going with ‘Free.’”

And as cliche as it may be, simply believing in your own capability to transform will ultimate breed success and make you less susceptible to self-sabotage.

“Luckily, you do control your internal belief systems and can shift them with enough self-awareness, courage and work,” says Mahar. “You may need to find mentors who believe in you. You may need to practice doing things that scare you.  You may need own up to the ways you’re holding yourself back. You may need to extend your deadline by 6 months or by 2 years.”

Critical self-talk and punishment as motivation, the most common side effects of an unhealthy belief system, are fueled by fear. Admittedly, they may have short-term benefits, but ultimately, they’re the antithesis of true transformation.

“True transformation means engaging in change to become more ourselves, to shine more vibrantly, to engage in our own life with more meaning, purpose or joy,” says Mahar. “The whip can provide enough scary consequence and guilt to make change, but fear-based motivation isn’t sustainable in the long run. Change born from clenched fists and shame spirals will never blossom into transformation because it’s not in your best interest to align with fear.”

This is where self-care comes in, and not just the kind that involves a weekly bubble bath of the occasional night out. Start by giving yourself a little more self-compassion or in other words: room to make mistakes, all of which “gives you permission to keep moving forward, no matter what failure, distraction or road block occurs.”

“I believe that basic self-care and self-kindness must be a priority no matter what you’re working on!,” says Mahar. “Get enough sleep, drink water, move your body, connect with others, practice gratitude and prioritize pleasure. It’s the easiest way to set yourself up for sustainable success!”

The Expert Skin Care Goals You Can Easily Achieve in 2018

Step boldly into 2018 knowing that this year, you will actually make some changes. Our resolutions typically start with our waistlines and pocketbooks, but what about your skin? Skimping on a healthy routine is so last year, so we’ve gathered a few expert-approved (and incredibly easy) habits that promote a healthy, glowing and eventually– clear– complexion.

Apply Sunscreen Properly  

Doctors and other skin pros have told us time and time again that sunscreen is necessary and important, but are you applying it correctly? “Sunscreen can be applied before makeup or even as makeup,” says Dr. Mona Gohara, a Connecticut-based dermatologist. “Powder sunscreens have become a new favorite.” To keep steps to a minimum, try a foundation or moisturizer with sunscreen already built into the formula.

STYLECASTER | Expert Skin Care Tips 2018 | Jane Iredale SPF Foundation

Jane Iredale

SPF Foundation: Jane Iredale Powder-Me SPF Dry Mineral Powder

Apply sunscreen in a breeze with this lightweight powder formula.

$47, at Jane Iredale

Dare to Go Makeup-Free

Whether you prefer tons of makeup or an au naturale face, it’s a treat for your skin to go sans makeup at least one day a week. After all, the key to flawless makeup is amazing skin as your foundation. To feel most confident going bare, invest in products that reduce the appearance of pores.  “A powerhouse combo for reducing pore size is using retinol every other night to reduce irritation and a charcoal make once a week,” says Dr. Gohara says.

STYLECASTER | Expert Skin Care Goals 2018 | Skinceuticals Retinol


Retinol: Skinceuticals Retinol .05

This gentle retinol won’t irritate or cause redness during application.

$64, at Skinceuticals

STYLECASTER | Expert SKin Care Goals 2018 | Origins Charcoal Mask


Charcoal: Origins Clear Improvement Charcoal Mask

This mask with detoxifying charcoal rids skin of bacteria and impurities.

$27, at Origins

Add Adventure to Your Routine

From facials to chemical peels and everything in between, there are tons of beautifying treatments out there. If there’s one you’ve been dying to try, add some adventure to your skincare routine and try one. Not into daring treatments? A pampering facial will do the trick. “In addition to using topical treatments, getting a hydrating facial every few months will bring out the glow and soften skin,” says Dr. Gohara.

Narrow Your Focus

There’s nothing more frustrating than purchasing new products that don’t work for you. It seems like there’s a new product launch promising to brighten, tighten and lift everywhere we look. “Try to avoid the hype in skincare ads,” shares Dr. Gohara. “It’s best to stick with a few solid products that you know work.”

If you’re not sure where to start, try starting with brands that you know agree with your skin type. Or if you prefer a more professional opinion, make an appointment to talk with a local dermatologist in your area.

Stick to a Routine

Once you’ve found the products and begin a new routine, the most important part is to stick to it. Don’t let this resolution fall flat after a few weeks and especially not after a few days. It’s important to be consistent when taking care of your complexion. Most dermatologists recommend adopting a day routine and a night routine for best results. Also, remember it typically takes 3-8 weeks to see proper results, so hold on for the ride and don’t give up!

Here’s to healthy skin and a happy you in the New Year!