Implementing New Year’s Resolutions

Finally, reward yourself! When you manage to fulfill (part of) your goal buy yourself a present, take a long shower, go to the movies or anything else you like. It is important to realize that you’re on your way to success before you try to reach the next goal. If you want to lose twenty pounds, do not expect yourself to be able to do that in a short period of time, but reward yourself for every two pounds you lose. However, do not reward yourself by allowing yourself to perform the habit you try to overcome! Be tough on yourself with regard to the attainment of your goal, but be kind to yourself in other domains. Rewarding yourself with an hour of nail-biting when you have just managed to quit for a week is not a good reward and will probably not make you feel proud of yourself. As said before, rewarding yourself for reaching a subgoal is fine but always keep your superordinate goal in mind!

By sticking to the strategies listed above you should be able to finally achieve those goals that are still on your to-do list of resolutions that you made last New Year. You might even find yourself having a hard time making up New Year’s resolutions, for all your goals of the past year might be implemented already. Good luck!


Baumeister, R.F. & Heatherton, T.F. (1996). Self-Regulation failure: An overview. Psychological Inquiry, 7, 1-15.

Fishbach, A., Dhar, R., & Zhang, Y. (2006). Subgoals as substitutes or complements: The role of goal accessibility. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 91, 232-242.

Gollwitzer, P.M. (1999). Implementation intentions: Strong effects of simple plans. American Psychologist, 54, 493-503.

Gollwitzer, P.M., & Schaal, B. (1998). Meta cognition in action: The importance of  implementation intentions. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 2, 124-136.

Sheldon, K.M. & Kasser, T. (1998). Pursuing personal goals: Skills enable progress, but not all progress is beneficial. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 24,1319-1331.

General background

Geen, R.G. (1995). Human Motivation: A Social Psychological Approach. Pacific Grove, CA. Brooks/Cole.

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