More Habits than Goal to achieve New Year Resolution

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You have done your best in 2018. You want to change and/or improve something in 2019. So it’s pretty normal to go ahead with new year resolution.

Losing weight, learning language, passing the exam, getting/changing job, You name it.

However, let me remind this unfortunate fact (I am taping the wood now)…out of 100 people who make resolution, 92 of them abandon their resolution. That leaves only 8% of successful people. If it’s true, something must be wrong with resolution making. So through the main point of this pointーmore habits than goalーI hope to contribute to improve this statistic in a long run.

Goals and Habits

I am not saying that we should stop setting goals. Actually, I believe new year is the best timing to reflect your past and set new goal. Nevertheless, most of us (92%) fail. The common mistake we make is that we just want the result only and aim for it without leading ourselves to the process to achieve the result. Let’s say losing 10kg is your goal. To do so, you have to lose 1g, 10g, 100g, 1kg, by balancing loss (exercise) and gain (eating/drinking), which is a long process.

So the main point of this entry is, again, to set not only goals but also habits, and to focus more on the latter (process) than the former (result).  As long as you are on the right direction and keep working on the habit, you will get the result sooner or later. You might reach the initial goal before or after the end of this year or modify the goal along the way, but as long as you improve in the area you wished for, that will be great success, right? Losing 8kg this year and 5kg next is better than losing 11kg this year (finishing goal) and gaining 5 kg next year (rebound)

In fact, this habit-based resolution has been pretty consistent for myself since 2015, and I think it’s been improved, as explained in my previous entry.

How to set goal and habits

In short, there are two points to decide resolution (goals and habits) : Learn from the past and set your priority goal and habits. Lets’s take a look at my examples.

Goal: To me, my goal is to live happily by enhancing mental and physical well-being. I deliberately set this as vague and flexible as possible (which was my learning from the past) because there are many different approaches to lead that way.

Main habit area: And based on my past experience, I learned what kinds of habits will lead to that end-direction. There are 3 main areas which have been consistent since 2017: healthy, learning and creative habit.

Habits to develop/keep: This is what you will be doing on a daily/weekly/monthly basis, and it has to be SMART-F (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely and Follow-up). If you are interested more on understanding the mechanism of how habit works and how to reset your habit, this might help.

So let’s see good and bad example to be healthy (both are mine).

Bad example:  To be healthy (goal), I will have to eat well! VIVA healthy life!

Good example: To be healthy (goal), I will exercise at 6:30 and eat yogurt with fruits every morning, eat vegetable every afternoon, and have non alcohol night at least once a week. Every time I eat, I try to bite at least 20 times to slow down and feel the taste. And to be able to exercise and have full of energy, I have to sleep around 22:00 (and for the quality of sleep, no LED screen 30 min before going to bed). I will follow up on this habit every month.

Although being SMART-F, the second one sounds pretty overwhelming, right? But trust me, once you have a habit thereof, it comes very naturally without thinking much.

Looking at the past (2018)

Personally, I kept healthy, learning and creative habits (with some space of improvement). Here are some of the headlines from 2018.


  • Exercised 3E everyday (Eat well, Exercise well and Energize well (sleep and mindfulness).)
  • Enjoyed hot-spa (Onsen) twice with my parents and family
  • Traveled to 10 countries and met new people: Japan (including Yakushima), Mongolia, Nepal, Chile (my third home country), Mauritania (including refugee camp and dune), U.S. (my second home city New York), Morocco, France, Senegal, Spain,
  • Ran half marathon in Chile
  • Finalized Hip hop Education programme in Mongolia
  • Developed Teacher Training module on creative education
  • Published my article in nutrition magazine in Japan
  • Created Sake, Nattō, and multi-national foods in Africa
  • Published 20 blog entries with drawing (new drawing pad) and photos I took
  • Finished my life history as Japanese TV programme approached me

2018 was quite busy for moving, so 2019 should build on the change to grow further.

My resolution 2019

Based on the past, I adjusted my resolution 2019. Having said that, my goal and 3 main habit areas, as well as most of specific habits have been the same. The new thing would be Arabic language I added (but I will not go for big change).

I honestly wanted to put more, but I learned from the past that the less is more, and multi-task does not exist (you need 23 minutes to regain your focus), so I tried not to add much.

Well, I hope it gave you some insight for you to start 2019. If you have any other suggestion, please let me know.

What are your resolution(s) ? Research also shows that the more you share your resolution, the more likely you will achieve it.

The learning of this time 

Based on the past, I learned that to grow up, making/keeping habits is more effective than setting a single goal, and monitoring and follow up are equally important. 

Thank you for reading. If you like it, please don’t forget to subscribe. If you have any comment/question, please feel free to leave. Have a great learning!



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