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Your New Year’s Resolution Action Plan for 2023!

Lately, I’ve shared how to get yourself into a good mindset to achieve your New Year’s Resolutions and setting a Word of the Year. But what about your actual Action Plan for your New Year’s Resolution? Use this New Year’s resolution action plan to help you succeed and meet your goals.

Especially after this waste of a year, if you’re anything like me, you want to start 2023 off on the right foot.

First, let’s answer a few burning questions…

New Year's Resolution Action Plan for 2021

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Are New Year’s Resolutions effective? Why do New Year’s resolutions fail?

US News says that around 80% of people have abandoned their New Year’s Resolution by the second week in February. (Forbes has some different statistics.) Yet it seems that only around 8% of people who set New Year’s Resolutions actually meet their goal!

This tells us that New Year’s Resolutions are not very effective. 92% of people setting New Year’s resolutions are failing!

Now, I use the term “fail” loosely… they don’t succeed in meet their goal, but it doesn’t mean that they’ve failed.

So if all of these people are setting New Year Resolutions, why don’t New Year’s resolutions work?

I believe there are three reasons why New Year’s resolutions fail:

1.) lack of specificity
2.) lack of planning
3.) mental focus.

Sure, we plan! We say, “I’m going to go to the gym 4 times a week for 45 minutes and cut back on calories by 15%! I should more than achieve my goal… probably by March!

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Then suddenly, our boss is demanding more at work, or the baby gets sick, or anything else in life gets in the way. And we only hit the gym 3 times… then maybe skip a week altogether… then maybe after another half-hearted attempt to get back on track, we realize that we’ve stretched ourselves too thin and give up entirely, promising ourselves that when we have more time, we’ll start up again. (This is something that has happened to me probably millions of times in my life!)

I have news for you (you may have figured this out already):

There is never going to be more time.

A calendar can help you execute your New Year's Resolution action plan.

We have a very limited amount of time that we are given, and we must fill those hours first with things we are expected to do, then we can add in things we want to do.

This is the way life works. Crazy, unexpected, time-consuming things are going to pop up and we’re going to be blown off-course with our goals!

If we want our New Year’s Resolutions to be effective, we need to kick-ass action plan our goals effectively!

When we develop your New Year Resolution action plan, we want to include a Leveled-Up Ideal Plan, and a Plan B, AND an Emergency Plan. I’m going to even go so far as including a calendar and consolation goals.

I want you to:

  1. Set yourself up for success.
  2. Minimize the chance of guilt.
  3. Be flexible.
  4. Put in the time upfront so you’re more likely to follow through.
  5. Eliminate the need for will-power!

Let’s get going!


In the post about Using New Year’s Resolution Affirmations, we used losing weight and getting healthy… specifically getting down to a weight of 130 lbs as our specific goal. We’ve set our affirmations and we have a plan of staying mentally focused on those affirmations and our goal.

SMART GOALS can help you with your New Year's Resolution Action Plan.

Check out some New Year’s Resolution Ideas for Personal Development

(Make sure your New Year’s Resolution is a SMART goal!)

Your ideal is the plan that you will execute under the absolute best circumstances! So you figure in order to lose some weight, you need to exercise more and watch what you eat. Maybe your New Year Resolution action plan looks like this:

1.) Go to the gym 4 times a week for 45 minutes each time.
2.) Only have dessert twice a week after meals.
3.) Replace leftovers for lunch with a salad 3 times per week.
4.) Make home-cooked dinners 5 times a week. (Only eat out once every two weeks)

Those are great goals, but they’re not fully fleshed out. Let’s get them LEVELED-UP! Do some research and get really specific about each item in your checklist and put in details to make them SMART goals!

✅ Ideal plan leveled up:

1.) Go to the gym 4 times a week for 45 minutes each time.

I will go to the gym on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday when the hubby is home with the kiddos after school. (Check with hubby and make sure this fits in his schedule. EVERYONE has to be on board with your plan or it won’t work.)

On Monday and Friday, I will jog/walk for 20 minutes (alternating every 2-3 minutes at first, then longer stretches of jogging). Then I will focus on legs and core with the weight machines there for the remaining 25 minutes.

On Wednesday and Saturday, I will jog/walk for 20 minutes (alternating every 2-3 minutes at first, then longer stretches of jogging). Then I will focus on stretching and upper body on the weight machines for 25 minutes.

The last thing that you want is to walk into the gym on January 1st and go… “Um, what should I do now?” You’ve got a plan—now get to work!

It’s TOTALLY okay to change or make alterations to your plan if you find something that works better. Be flexible, and be willing to write down your changes as they happen.

2.) Only have dessert twice a week after meals.

Ask yourself—what qualifies as a dessert? To me, a granola bar is sweet enough to be a dessert. What about a yogurt with toppings?

Now what about replacement desserts? To me, 2 pieces of Dove chocolate does NOT qualify as a dessert!

Which meals do you think you’ll need desserts after? Maybe you have meetings all day on Wednesdays, or those Thursday classes really kick your teacher-butt. Plan a dessert on those days to give yourself a little something to look forward to!

The most important thing is to ask yourself questions and be specific.

3.) Replace leftovers for lunch with a salad 3 times per week.

What kind of salad dressing is healthy?

In what quantity?

4.) Make home-cooked dinners 5 times a week. (Only eat out once every two weeks)

Woman eats healthy.

When are you going to plan for meals?

When are you going to go grocery shopping?


Do you see how specific this is?

This can be applied to any goal you want.

Now that you’ve leveled-up your Ideal Plan, don’t forget to write it out, print it, and post it somewhere you can see every day!


In your New Year’s Resolution Plan, Plan B is already pre-designed in case your Ideal Plan Leveled-Up doesn’t work for you at any given time!

Maybe this includes:

1.) 3 days at the gym, 20-30 minutes per session.

2.) Eating some thing small that’s sweet, 5 days a week.

3.) Choose leftovers over eating out for lunch.

4.) Make home-cooked meals 3 times a week.

Ask yourself as many questions about these as you did above.

Basically, you’ve scaled down the elements of your Ideal Plan to make it a little less rigorous.

Are you still going to be working toward your goal? Absolutely! It just might take a little longer than if you were so focused and rigorous as your “Ideal Plan”.


The Emergency Plan is the final part of your New Year’s Resolution Plan, and it should happen when something derails your entire week.

You don’t have ANY time to do the things you said you were going to do in your ideal plan… What kinds of things can you do to help you toward your goal?

Here are some examples:

1.) I will walk 15 minutes at lunch when I can.
2.) When eating out, we will go to the following restaurants and focus on veggies and meats, but will avoid THESE restaurants and these foods.
3.) When eating dessert, I will opt for smaller, richer portions than larger portions.
4.) I will not let free food derail my plans.

Ask yourself as many questions about these as you did above.

These are LITTLE ways that you can still feel good about working toward your goal even when you’re just trying to survive. Because believe me: little things done consistently can add up to HUGE things!

Again, if these are already built into your plan, there’s less guilt. Instead of:

“Well, this week’s already a bust… might as well have one of those donuts that my coworker brought in,”

you can tell yourself,

“Even though this is a tough week, I still have all of these options for small successes so this week isn’t totally wasted!”

3 Plans

The reason for having 3 plans is because:

  1. If you are not succeeding, you get a chance to try again.
  2. Success is built into your action plan! If you are not able to achieve your Ideal Plan, chances are you will feel a lot less guilty for taking on Plan B or your Emergency Plan.
  3. Shit happens. Life is full of ups and downs and there may be a week in there when you don’t accomplish ANY of your plans. This tiered approach gives you a chance to reconvene and get back into it.
  4. The more you plan, the more time you have already put into your goal… I don’t know about you, but if I’ve already spent THAT much time on something, I’m less likely to abandon it. I don’t want all that work to have been for nothing!

There are going to be times when you are not able to meet these daily or weekly goals. You have to be willing to say “That’s okay” and move forward.

Remember: when you’re tired, learn to take a break, not quit.

Check out these 20 Decks of Affirmation Cards to help you stay motivated!


This is an important step. Writing down your accomplishments EVERY DAY will help you visualize how far you’ve really come.

Here’s what I used when I started my New Year Resolutions action plan last year:

My old New Year's Resolution Action Plan Planner.

It’s not pretty, but it got the job done.

I have since designed a calendar that combines my to-do list, goals, and meetings/events into ONE planner. This helps me be able to check off any time I’ve completed something and I’m not stuck carrying around 3 different journals/planners. You can do it on a device, but like I explained before, it’s SO much better to write it out by hand!

Here’s what I use now!

Goal planner with affirmations for your New Year Resolution action plan.

Goal Planner With Affirmations for Productivity


I don’t know about you, but many people already do this when setting goals.

“Ideally, I’d be able to make $10,000 a month with freelance writing, but if I could make $3,000 a month, I would really be able to tackle my debt.”

“In a perfect world, I would weigh 130 pounds, but if I could be 138, that would be a huge accomplishment and I would feel better about myself.”

“Hopefully, I can spend 3 hours with my kids every day doing activities, but if we can have family dinners 3 times a week and I read to them before bed, that would make me feel like a truly accomplished working mom.”

Give yourself a secondary goal, whatever that looks like to you. Remember, you want to set yourself up for success! Even if you don’t reach that first/ideal goal, you’re going to feel like you’ve made some huge strides in your life and this New Year’s Resolution action plan will have been successful!

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A few final thoughts on your New Year’s Resolution action plan:

The more you write down, the more this will become permanent.

Keep a journal. Message your friends about how it’s going. Make to-do lists. Write down EVERYTHING.

Get other people on board with your goals.

If your children know that you’re trying to get fit, explain why. Include them in your work outs. If your partner knows that you’re trying to build a platform for a start-up business, he or she will hopefully be more understanding of your diminished free-time. There’s a chance that a friend or coworker might be trying to accomplish the same thing you are doing. If that’s the case, you can work on your goals together!

Don’t forget your affirmations to constantly remind yourself of this priority for you.

If you need to, change the way you are doing your affirmations. Maybe you begin a meditation practice, use mandala beads! If you start journalling, include your affirmations there!

Your New Year’s Resolutions Can Be Effective

Don’t worry about why New Year Resolutions fail. Keep your sights on your goals and be flexible to make them work for your life at any given moment.

Get some more ideas on How to Follow Through with Your New Year’s Resolution.

New Year Resolution Planner Free Printable

New Year Resolution Planner, Last Year Reflection, and New Year Action Plan Free printable download.

Take your New Year Resolution to the next level and download the New Year Resolution planner. It’s totally free, just sign up below and make sure you check out:

Using Affirmations for Your New Year’s Resolutions


This New Year’s Resolution action plan helps to set you up for success.

Any measure of success, no matter how small, is important to celebrate. I mean, don’t go celebrate your weight loss with a huge meal, 3 beers, and a piece of chocolate cake, but maybe get the grandparents to watch the kids and go see a movie with your hubby! You know what I mean.

Experts say that building habits takes 21 days… personally for me, it takes MUCH longer. Those first few weeks of changing your routine and your thought cycle is going to be GRUELING! But it WILL get easier as you go along.

This New Year’s Resolution Action plan is all about balance, executing a well-developed plan, and setting yourself up for success.

What’s your New Year Resolution for 2023?!

How are you helping to set yourself up for success?!

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New Year’s Resolution Action Plan for New Year Goals


Wednesday 22nd of January 2020

This is so great! Specificity really is key. I love SMART goals. They really help you flesh out your goals and make them easier to meet. Thanks for all the wonderful insight.


Friday 20th of December 2019

This is so smart. I’m feeling pretty inspired to actually make a plan and goals for next year, and I really like the idea of making three plans. Thanks for this!

Ariana Dagan

Friday 20th of December 2019

Why have I never thought of an emergency plan before? Love it! Pinned for later, can't wait to dive into this! Thank you for putting together!


Friday 20th of December 2019

Dawn, I love these tips to stay on track! You have left nothing to chance here. I especially love the emergency plan because , lets's face it, life happens. When you're already prepared for things to go wrong, it's so much easier to roll with the punches and still to the goal. Love love love!


Thursday 19th of December 2019

I love that this includes not only a plan b, but also an emergency plan. It makes keeping the resolution seem so much more attainable. Thanks for sharing!

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