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Have you set New Year’s resolutions? How are you doing? Probably not so well. The fact is that according to statistics between 69% – 88% of people who make New Year’s resolutions fail. Many within the first month.

Too much too soon!

New Year’s resolutions are a bad idea. They’re based on the notion that on a set day of the year you’ll be able to STOP doing something that is undoubtedly a habit. Or you’ll start doing something that requires you to create a new habit. Either way, your resolution requires behaviour change. Which you’re unlikely to achieve literally overnight. Especially after New Year’s eve!

Behaviour change requires a change of mind set and takes time. Unlearning certain patterns of behaviour while adopting new ones. This kind of change takes place over a period of time, in small incremental stages. Stages where you’ll falter, give up, pick yourself up and start again. It’s so important that during this change you allow yourself to make mistakes and learn from them; knowing next time you’ll do better. So you won’t have to beat yourself up because today you ate too many calories or didn’t get to the gym! You can ignore the thoughts that tell you ‘You were always going to fail’, ‘What’s the point’ and ‘You might as well give up now’. Instead you can be kind to yourself as you learn to find ways of dealing with the obstacles that cause you to go off course.

Whose life is it anyway?

The decision to make a New Year’s resolution may not necessarily be yours. You may feel you need to because of external pressures. You’re constantly fed messages about keeping fit and losing weight. Off course your health is important but unless the motivation to get fit/healthy, (which remains in the top 10 of resolutions) comes from you, you’re not going to manage it.

Telling everyone, finding a running partner or paying for gym membership as a way to motivate you to stick at it isn’t a good approach. These things will help you to keep going, IF – AND ONLY IF you know why you’ve set your resolution. I.e. If it was something you truly want to achieve and are clear of the benefits to you.

Yoga_new years resolution

Frequent top 10 resolutions include:

  • Get Healthy
  • Get Organized
  • Live Life to the Fullest
  • Learn New Hobbies
  • Quit smoking
  • Spend Less/Save More
  • Travel
  • Read More
  • Spend less time on social media

Resolutions – why values should be at the heart of it

All of the resolutions above are naturally actioned based. They’re about doing things differently. How would your approach to setting resolutions change if you stopped to REALLY consider the reason behind your choice(s).

The chances are your New Year’s resolution would stand a higher chance of success if you were clear about, and focused on the WHY. The values you hold that are driving your goals for 2017. For example, why are you giving up smoking? Is it because you want to be healthier or is it that you want to save money. Is your value about health or finances?

You want to spend less time on social media, what are you wanting to do with the time instead? Is it because you want to have more time to call your friends and family or is there something else, perhaps pursuing a hobby. Is the value here about relationships and connections, including with yourself?

Whether you choose to set a resolution at the beginning of the year, or a goal later on, understanding the values behind it will help you keep you motivated to stay on track.

What are you trying to achieve?

Resolutions are often set with an end goal in mind, a cut-off point at which you feel able to say, I’ve got healthier, I’ve read more etc.  Do you say you’ve failed because your expectations were too high or because you weren’t clear what success would look like anyway.

If you’re one of the people who’ve decided to get healthy what do you mean? It can mean a variety of things from dieting, to giving up smoking or exercising more.

Perhaps you said you want to live life to the fullest, but what does THE FULLEST look like to you? What’s happening, what are you doing and how are you feeling? Do you know, or is it just an arbitrary phrase. I ask to give you the opportunity to reflect on it for yourself. My fullest life and yours are going to be different, but we each need to know what it is .

This isn’t about the acronym SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely) often used for goal setting. It’s about having a better understanding of yourself and your resolutions so you know when you’re on track and how you’ll know you’ve achieved it. It’s worth noting here that resolutions are usually an ongoing process of self-development rather than a one off attempt to achieve something. Because of this they’re also not static but will alter as you change. When viewed like this your incremental changes/milestones become the points at which you can celebrate your achievements.

Diary_new years resolution

If you don’t want to be one of 69%-88% of people who don’t manage to keep their New Year’s resolution try not setting one in the first place. Instead try adopting the approach of accepting each day as a journey towards your goals and personal development. Now that’s a long term resolution worth making.


If you’d like to set meaningful and achievable goals for 2017, UnglueYou® has a Free Guide: 5 Key Questions for Successful Goal Setting you can download, as well as a range of services to help.

Find out more at www.unglueyou.co.uk 

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