2017 was probably the first year I wrote down my resolutions. I never did New Year’s Resolutions prior to that.

I did miserable with them.

In 2018 I wrote down my resolutions.

I never looked at them throughout the year.

Resolutions are pointless if you never consult them - unless they’re so simple you can keep them in your head.

The solution is to retrospect often. Some people do it on a weekly basis. Others on a monthly. One idea: Every week, list what you did, and tag them to the resolutions and life categories. Don’t think too much beyond that. Then once a month, look at the month as a whole and ponder over your progress, and make corrections for the following month if need be.

Perhaps type or write your resolutions very neatly, and tape them somewhere in your room - or close to anywhere you would retrospect. Wherever you put them (physically or virtually), make sure you can access them quickly.

You’ll notice that a number of my links put more weight on retrospecting the previous year compared to making the following year’s resolutions. They strongly suggest using the retrospective of the past year to help guide you in making your resolutions. If you do a weekly/monthly retrospective, and hold on to those (write them down, etc), then doing the annual retrospective will be much easier.

Retrospectives are one of those themes that often show up in wise people’s sayings throughout history. I sadly cannot remember any other than Khalifah Umar’s - and I cannot find a link to it anywhere.

Incidentally, I just looked over my 2018 resolutions, and I did not do too poorly. I did accomplish many items, and totally failed on others. There were no surprises - nothing I had forgotten about. I got lucky.

BTW, you may want to consider the daily retrospective that Marc Andreesen does. It’s worth a read.

This article is part of the series on New Year’s Resolutions.