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Happiness Tip: Make a Really Specific Plan


Photo by Carrie Eberhardt

If you are setting New Year’s resolutions this year, whether or not you are able to keep your resolutions will depend on how detailed a plan you make for your new behavior.

A large meta-analysis of eighty-five studies found that when people make a specific plan for what they’d like to do or change, anticipating obstacles if possible, they do better than 74 percent of people who don’t make a specific plan for the same task. In other words, making a specific action plan dramatically increases the odds that you’ll follow through.

Take Action: Take a minute to write down a specific plan for your resolution. What exactly will you do?

Join the Discussion: What do you find most challenging about starting a resolution or habit? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Need support for your resolutions? Be sure to sign up for my free online class — you’ll get a worksheet and an email every day for 21 days that will support you in keeping your New Year’s resolutions.



  1. Christen says:

    I honestly think just getting started is the hardest. And thinking of exactly which habit to pick, or which desired outcome to achieve. It all feels overwhelming initially.

    • Christine Carter says:

      Think about what habit you could get in that would consistently make you feel the way you want to feel this year. What makes you happy — or inspired, or grateful? What makes you feel at ease, or confident? Think about the things in your life that bring you those sorts of positive emotions, and get into the habit of doing those things.

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