January 13th, 2024

5 Secrets for Succeeding With New Year’s Resolutions

Have you set your New Year’s Resolutions (NYRs) to make a positive change, get closer to your dreams or realise an important aspiration?  Or do you belong to the growing number of those who have given up on them, tired of seeing yourself fail. If you ever failed, you are far from alone. Studies show that more than 50% of NYRs fail and setting the same resolution every year seems pointless, doesn’t it? Let’s change that now!

The idea behind NYRs is powerful and similar to setting goals: you make a promise to yourself, take responsibility for your actions and hold yourself accountable. If goal setting is a powerful and proven successful tool in business, why are we struggling so much to make them work in our private lives? Something must be wrong and it sure is but it’s not you! Don’t blame your will power or self-discipline, until you have scrutinised your resolutions for 5 common NYRs mistakes.

1. POSITIVE: Is your resolution phrased as a positive?

Positive resolutions motivate while negative ones deflate you before you started. Resolutions like ‘I want to lose weight’ or ‘I want to smoke less’ are doomed as they are lacking the positive excitement of what you are trying to achieve. What are you losing weight for? Being able to play football with the grandkids or feeling great in your favourite dress again?  And what exact benefit would smoking less give you? Work out your desired positive state and then picture this result with all your imagination: imagine the colours, the smells, the sounds and voices you would here. Create a detailed picture in your mind of what success would look and feel like and then rephrase your resolution to reflect this aim. If you can find an actual image that reflects your goal, use it to remind you.

2. MEASURABLE & REALISTIC: Is your resolution specific so you would know when you have achieved it?

Once you have a rephrased your goal as an inspiring positive you still need to ensure you would be able to recognise when success has been achieved. ‘I want to take regular walks in nature’ is a positive resolution but what exactly does that mean? Has it been reached when you take one walk each season? Make sure you take into account other commitments and phrase it such that it’s realistic and achievable without losing motivation, eg. ‘I want to take a minimum 2 hour nature walk every Sunday’. Keep your resolutions to a minimum number. Better to have one important one you are proud to achieve than 5 you struggle to keep up.

3. MINE & MY PRIORITY: Is your resolution truly yours? Is it your priority?

Often enough, we set resolutions that are inspired by others people’s nagging comments and are misaligned with our own motivations and deeply held values. When that occurs, your resolution is doomed to fail. In my coaching sessions I sometimes do an eye-opening exercise with my clients. They complete the sentence ‘I should…..’ 20x with different endings. Then we swap the ‘I should’ with ‘If I really wanted to I could…..’ and re-read those statements. ‘I should read more’ then becomes ‘If I really wanted to, I could read more’. This often leads to clients saying ‘Hmmm, in truth, I actually don’t WANT to!, it’s something my Dad or my partner or my teacher always nagged me about but it’s not really something I am keen to do’. We can then scrap that goal for ever – it’s a very liberating exercise. Never forget change is effort. So double-check that your resolution is aligned with your values and something YOU truly want badly enough!

4. IDENTITY: Who are you becoming?

This is so important! Most New Year’s Resolutions are stated as ‘doing’ statements, but they become much more powerful when you can rephrase them as a ‘being’ statement as well. ‘I want to exercise 30 minutes every day’ (doing statement) becomes more powerful and motivating with ‘I am an athlete who exercises 30 minutes every day’ (being statement). Add some images that depict this new identity of yours and stick them somewhere where you see them everyday to remind you. Then notice the energy you will feel to make the change.

5. COMMIT TO YOUR FIRST STEP: Are you clear what your first step is?

After setting your resolution with all the above in mind, spend some time planning your first step(s). Even a small first step is an excellent step. Then test your commitment to keeping your work up for at least 21 days, the proven period for any habit change. Ask yourself how committed you are on a scale of 0-10. If you don’t feel fully committed (9/10), ask yourself why and re-define your resolution until you feel fully excited to take action. Finally write your resolution down (and add your image from 1 above). Writing has been proven to increase the likelihood of success by making you remember it, allowing you to revisit it to keep track and hold you accountable. Your written words also become the base of your celebration when your goal has been achieved! Here is to your fabulous 2024!

To help you clarify your values, your goal priorities or the subconscious beliefs that limit your success and to create powerfully supported accountability, feel free to talk to me about 1on1 life coaching, take one of my coaching supported online courses or join my next free MOT-style life assessment’ It will help you pinpoint the areas in your life in which even small change will have the biggest impact on your life fulfilment and happiness (perfect for goal setting!) and provides you with your personalised life score card.

Sending you a big hug. Let’s make 2024 YOUR year!

Silke Rehman (MBA, MSc, CPCC)
Personal Leadership Coach & Life Adventurer
www.developandgrow.com, Email: silke@developandgrow.com