Wednesday, 7 January 2015

New Year Resolutions or Goals

Do you enjoy making New Year Resolutions, or actually the question should be do you keep your resolutions?  Did you know that 9 out of 10 people fail to keep their resolutions?  In fact I started a MOOC course on 5th January which had as its opening sentence "It’s January. The holiday is over, and you have already broken your New Year’s resolutions."  So what is the reason for this?

One of the main reasons that New Year's resolutions fail is simply because you are not totally committed to them.  Many people make so many resolutions that it is simply impossible to know where to start.  So instead of taking action it is much easier to give up on all of them.

The best way to get around this issue is to find something that you truly want to achieve with all of your heart.  This might be to lose 50 pounds to save $1,000 or to take up a new hobby.

Another way to look at your New Year's resolution is by shifting your perspective of it.  Resolutions are viewed as wishes and dreams by many people, and this is another reason why people aren't successful with them.

Instead you want to turn your resolution into a life goal.  Goals are more often specific things and desires that you want to achieve.  When you tell people what your goal is they are more likely to be supportive.  When you say that you just made a New Year's Resolution they often assume that once February hits your resolution will have disappeared.

Be very specific with your resolution and make it based on one thing.  This way you will find it much easier to stay on track and achieve your goals.  If your goal is a large one that includes a lifestyle change then break it down.

Break down a large goal into monthly, weekly and even daily goals.  By attaining a smaller goal you are less likely to lose your focus and you will be able to see that you are making progress.

Let's look at an example here.  Say you want to lose 50 pounds by next Christmas and make this your New Year's resolution.  If you leave it at that and start working on losing weight in January things are great.  What happens, though, is that you don't lose weight fast enough, and by February you have only lost 5 pounds.  Your immediate reaction is to give up because at that rate you won't reach your goal by the end of December.

You are not alone if you think like this, many people do and giving up acts as an excuse for not continuing.  A better scenario would be this:

Break up the 50 pounds into a yearly goal by setting a weekly goal to lose 1 pound.  This is much more realistic and attainable.  The chances are that you will have weeks where you lose more than 1 pound and this can help spur you on.  Plus it offers you a safety guard for those weeks when you don't lose any weight.

You must always remember that it is okay to get off track a little and not meet your goal.  For instance you may not lose weight but you may be exercising more and feeling great.  Think about how one balances out the other.  You are feeling great and this is a positive.  While not losing pounds is not what you want, you are still working on improving your lifestyle, which is a different plus!

This year try defining your resolutions as goals instead.  If you have made your resolutions, re-define them now.  Do this even if you have already failed to keep them.  If, like many, you didn’t even bother to set yourself any resolutions because you knew you wouldn’t keep them, set them now, but as goals.  Don’t worry about the fact that you didn’t set them for 1st January, as they are now goals, not resolutions.  Give yourself a time when you want to achieve them and tell your family and friends what your goals are.  You may find that they are more supportive than you expected.

Finally, if you would like some help from me in keeping your resolutions, simply send a blank e-mail to  When you do this you will get an e-mail back asking you to confirm you wish to subscribe to my e-mail list.  If you confirm your subscription you will then receive 52 weekly supportive e-mails which will help keep you on track.  This is a free service, so why not take advantage of it!

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