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Do you make New Year’s Resolutions and set goals for the New Year?

Many of us come up with a list of New Year’s Resolutions at the beginning each year so we can improve various areas of our life. The New Year is a great time to create change as it symbolises a new beginning!

However, studies have shown that around 80% of New Year’s Resolutions fail by the beginning of February. In fact, it’s not uncommon for people to feel discouraged by the third week of January because they’ve already failed in their goals!

Many of us are eager to create change but we find it hard to sustain, so we just give up. 

So, in time for the New Year, I want to share with you 10 of my best goal setting tips so you can make New Year’s Resolutions that stick!


1. Look beyond SMART goals

You’ve probably all heard about SMART goals, well ditch them. This model of goal setting is incomplete and it often better suited to business than personal growth and change. 

Personally, I find SMART goals boring and unmotivating. They simply remind me of achieving a business KPI….yawn. Now, I’m not saying don’t set goals, setting goals that are specific is really important but personal goals also need to be inspiring. 

2. Set WANT to goals

To be successful in achieving a goal, your goal needs to be personally meaningful, something you desire and want to achieve rather than something you feel you HAVE to do. 

We are more likely to pursue goals that are personally meaningful when the going gets tough or we encounter setbacks. If we are engaging in a behaviour that we feel we have to or that someone else wants us to change, it’s hard to sustain the motivation and willpower. This is especially so if it something we are trying to avoid. 

3. Know your WHY

Related to setting want to goals is knowing your why. When we know why we want to create a desired change and how this will benefit our life, we are more motivated to stick to a new behaviour. 

If our goals are in sync with our heartfelt desires and values, we will make time for them in our daily schedule. 

4. Dream big, but start small

While huge goals are inspiring, big dreams are achieved by taking small, consistent action that inches you forward bit by bit every day. If your mind perceives a huge gap between your goal and your current state, you will find it hard to take any action. 

So while it’s great to set big goals that really excite you, you can’t stop there. You need to break the big goals into smaller, more achievable goals so you can take action consistently to move forward. 

Dream of running a full 42 km marathon this year despite being a complete beginner? Break this big goal into smaller, more achievable goals, such as coming up with a training plan and aim to run 1 km, 3 times a week in the first weeks, and then increase the distance and frequency every few weeks. If this is too big break it down again into smaller steps. 

Breaking huge goals into smaller, more manageable steps will help you stay on task, and small wins and achievements will help you stay motivated!

5. Set priorities

A New Year’s Resolutions List is often a long list jam-packed of things we wish to improve in all areas of our lives. One of the biggest reasons people fail when they try to create new habits or achieve new goals is that they often want to change too many things in one go. This can lead to mental and physical fatigue which makes us want to give up altogether! 

So, instead of having a list full of resolutions and goals you won’t end up achieving, set your priorities and pick 1 to 2 small goals to start with, and focus on working towards them consistently!

6. Write your goals down

Ever heard of the saying “What gets written down, gets done”? Well, research continually shows us that goals which are written down are achieved more than those that aren’t. Writing our goals down helps to clarify what we want and it reminds us of our commitment. Keeping your goal written down where you can see it easily also provides a visual reminder of what’s important to you. 

7. Schedule and track

Once you have broken down your big goals into small actionable goals, schedule them into your calendar, treat them with the same importance as you do your other appointments and tasks and get through them whether you feel like it or not. What gets scheduled gets done, as simple as that!

Another great way to keep motivated is to simply track your effort by ticking your gaols off on a habit tracking form. If you want one, get in touch and I will email one to you! 

8. Plan for setbacks

Achieving our goals is hard work and there are always obstacles that get in the way. Anticipate these obstacles in advance and develop a plan for how you are going to get around them. One way to do this is by making if / then rules. For example, if I have a craving for cake in the afternoon, I will eat a fruit smoothie instead.

Remember to be kind to yourself if you have a setback or don’t exactly do what you said you would. Although people often think criticism is motivating, the opposite is actually true, and the harsher the criticism the more demoralised we become. 

10. Be accountable 

Let others know about your goals and seek their support. When others know about our goals or are involved in supporting us we are more likely to follow through. People who make their New Year’s resolutions are ten times more likely to succeed compared to people who didn’t. Most of us don’t want to lose face, but sharing what’s important to us with others and being encouraged is also a great help in boosting our commitment and motivation. 

I hope you will find these tips helpful and use them to create a successful and amazing new year! Apply them to your New Year’s Resolutions and make this year your best year yet!