How to Determine Your Baseline Before Making That New Year’s Resolution
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How to Determine Your Baseline Before Making That New Year’s Resolution

Published 11/28/2022

A​s the calendar turns to December, you're probably, or at least you should be, thinking about your New Year's resolution.

Sure, you could go the standard route and resolve to lose weight, hit the gym, or save more money, but before you decide, you'll need to know your baseline. Remember, you cannot improve what you don't track.

Most people arbitrarily decide on a resolution based on the immediate state of their lives. Whatever issue is top of mind usually gets the most attention. Your current mood after a couple of months of eating, spending, and sloth-like activity drives any changes you feel are necessary.

This situation is likely why you might want to consider your resolutions now instead of waiting for your self-loathing to kick in.


T​he Year in Review

An annual personal review is how you determine your baseline. This review will help reveal what matters most in your life and where you need improvement.

T​he process of your annual review should be straightforward and not take more than an hour or so.

S​tart with nine basic categories and add more if necessary.

  • Personal life
  • Health and fitness
  • Work and business
  • Money and finances
  • Spirituality and well-being
  • Relationships
  • Education and knowledge
  • Exploration and curiosity
  • Creativity

T​hen ask yourself four questions regarding each category.

  1. W​hat went well?
  2. W​hat didn't go well?
  3. W​hat did you learn?
  4. W​hat could you do differently?

Try not to overthink your answers. If you get too deep with your responses, it's easy to fall into the mental trap of "what should be" versus "what is." For the best result, the process needs to be intuitive.

Pro tip: Use a single page for each category and hand-write your answers.

N​ow that you've examined all aspects of your life, you're in a much better position to evaluate the past year.

  • W​hat were your three most significant accomplishments?
  • W​hat are your three biggest challenges?

U​se this information to create six main goals for the upcoming year. Write them down and prioritize them.  

Avoid focusing only on the challenges and ignoring continued success in the strong areas of your life. Do this by adding activities that you want to start, stop, and continue.



With all this information, you now have a baseline to make better decisions in 2023.

O​ne thing that you'll likely notice is that you already know how to solve your issues. Very few things in life are a mystery. What we often need is a reminder and not additional information.

F​or instance, you already know how to lose weight; eat less and exercise more. You don't need more information on the next fad diet. You need consistency and accountability.

Consistency and accountability are the keys to success in almost every aspect of your life. Failure is inevitable if your resolution does not include both of these keys.

W​hen making your resolution, the "how" is more important than the "what." 

  • D​efine what consistency looks like and be specific. Don't just say you're going to save money or go to the gym. Say that you're going to put X% or $X of every paycheck into a savings account, or you'll work out on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 6 PM for 90 minutes.
  • Find an accountability partner or automate the process. Get a workout buddy or a fitness coach with scheduled appointments. Automate your savings with scheduled bank transfers into an account with limited access.
  • Make your resolution public by posting your progress on social media. Take your commitment to the next level by giving yourself a consequence for failure, like writing a check to a political candidate or social cause you despise. The pain of public failure is a great motivator. 

The final step in your annual review is to keep your pages in a notebook so that you can better assess your successes and failures next year. That's how you measure your progress and keep improving


A​nther. Male wellness where it counts.