Coaching & Development Solutions

Three Ways To Stop Failing At New Year Resolutions



Many people set new year resolutions and they often involve making a change which we know we should make, like eating better or exercising, but have struggled to make in the past. Our track record on new year resolutions is abysmal: only 8% of people achieve their goals.

Why do we perform so badly? Often we:

  • Set a huge goal which will take an immense amount of willpower to be reached
  • Do not create any support to help us either practically or emotionally
  • Rarely look at the goals as the year progresses
  • Have no rewards if we achieve goals or penalties if we fail
  • Dismiss the goal as either unimportant or unrealistic when we don't succeed

When reviewing that list it's not surprising that the majority of resolutions aren't met. The last reason is one of the most self-damaging. By accepting the failure as entirely forgivable and natural we are accepting that we won't achieve what we want. Since the focus of my work is helping people realise their goals I find that idea depressing.

If you want to increase your chance of succeeding in new year's resolutions then a few simple actions can help:

  1. Gain support from friends, peers or family members. The best way is to find someone who will work on the resolution with you, which could mean going to the gym or dieting together. Working as a team increases your willpower since you don't want to let the other person down.
  2. Start small and get bigger in steps. If you want to become better at public speaking and currently get nervous in front of a room of 20 individuals then aiming to immediately talk in front of five thousand people is too much. Start by presenting more often in small groups and gradually work up to larger events.
  3. Reward yourself with every step. Getting started on something you have been avoiding or are uncomfortable doing is hard, and each small step should get a reward with a larger reward for an overall target. So if you are trying to manage money better then every month on budget could bring a reward of a CD or magazine, and at the end of the year if most months were on budget then that earns a weekend break.

One of my goals for 2017 is to publish more often. I'm proud of the quality of my blogs in 2016, but appalled by how infrequent they were. Four articles over a whole year is terrible! If I want them to help my business I have to publish more often so I've set myself a goal of publishing 50 blog posts this year. It's a bit scary, but I've gathered some good ideas on how to do it from friends and have used stickK to create a goal I care about: good food. Every week I make a post I save £5, and every week I fail I will donate £5 to charity. If I make the 50 posts then this will mean I will have saved enough to take my partner out to a Michelin starred restaurant in early 2018, but if I do as poorly as in 2016 it will be a Happy Meal at a local McDonald's.

About The Author

Alasdair Graham is the founder of Apex Discovery and a coach who helps leaders and businesses grow. If you found this blog post useful then please share it.

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