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As we turn into another year, I trust you had a relaxing and refreshing festive holiday season!  Did you give yourself permission to have some quality “me” time?  Starting a new year usually brings renewed energy, ideas and an optimistic outlook.  Then as February approaches, your mind wanders to work, study, children, finances and all the other mundane things.  By March, life gets in the way.  

We look at New Year’s Eve as not only a celebration of the year, but a chance for a fresh start – that is why we create resolutions.  We all have parts of our lives we want to change, and our resolutions can be sincere.  However, we will make resolutions in the spirit of celebration, with no real thought into what it will take to achieve them.  Resolutions can be useful to identify why we are unhappy or unfulfilled.  Then in a few weeks or months of starting the new year, we give up and ask ourselves, “What is the point of New Year’s resolutions anyway?” Then we feel terrible about our lack of progress and might turn to even worse behaviour.

Why do New Year’s resolutions fail?

Many New Year’s resolutions fail because we are looking for a new experience, yet we are not truly committed to real change.  It is easy to say you would like to have a better fitness, so how committed are you to making that resolution a reality?  Do you want to increase your physical activity, or do you truly want to create a healthier body and mindset?  The truth is that most resolutions are not just a matter of doing something once or twice.  Transforming your life requires deep self-reflection, overcoming your limiting beliefs and building new habits.  The best New Year’s resolutions are about setting goals and making a dedicated plan.  

Decide and commit to making a change.

I agree, change does not come easily.  It takes at least 28 consecutive days to build a new habit, yet we give up on resolutions in just a few weeks.  That is because we are not willing to change our lifestyles – and all the trendy resolutions in the world won’t work for you unless you have the mindset of creating a true change.  Make the decision now that you are going to change some aspect of your life, no matter how small it is, then commit to making it happen. Do not bite off more than you can chew – it’s the “How to Eat and Elephant” tactic – one chunk at a time!

Document what you want.

Should you make New Year’s resolutions?  Yes, however from a coaching perspective, write down your goal!  Not on a computer, or in your head, put it on paper or in a journal.  The main reason why New Year’s resolutions fail is that they are not specific enough.  While it is always good to dream big, you need to break those dreams down into SMART goals.  Goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and anchored within a Time frame allow you to track your progress and are key to success.  So, if your New Year’s resolution is to be healthier, how will you measure it?  Is it making a certain number of meals at home each week instead of eating out?  Is it walking 30 minutes every day?  Set a reasonable timeline for your goals and measure your progress along the way.

Keep going.

As you move forward on your journey, know that there will be some tough days ahead.  A new goal or New Year’s resolutions should help you develop perseverance?  When faced with a setback, or if you feel you have failed completely, do not give up.  Move forward and ask yourself, “What will it cost me if I don’t accomplish this goal?” Turn any obstacles into a growth and learning opportunity.

Celebrate your success.

By turning even, the best New Year’s resolutions into goals, you are operating out of a can-do mindset instead of brow-beating yourself for your shortcomings.  Remember to celebrate every success along the way, even the small steps!

Here are some of my tips to get your motivation levels up during 2022:    

  • Dare to dream: Identify personal career elements, reasons for change and desires; if you cannot please yourself, no‐one else will!  
  • Make it real: Develop a clear career statement with what you want and need because you are the number one priority.  For example, do you want a promotion, new skills or a better job?
  • Explore and investigate: Once you have a clear goal, find out more information through research and follow up on opportunities.  Do you need to look at the health studio memberships or paying for a Nutritionist?
  • Reality check:  Audit your skills, know your strengths and identify any potential areas of development.  Are you ready to start your goal? 
  • Plan: Outline your strategy and list out what needs to be done and by when and describe your relevant responsibilities.  Maybe you need assistance from someone else.
  • Action: Take the necessary steps, be focused and learn from the journey.  Be committed to your goal and avoid procrastinating!
  • Maintain motivation: Be kind to yourself and reward yourself for each small step forward.  A goal is a dream with legs, so make it walk.

May the year ahead be filled with joy, success and prosperity.  If you need an independent coach or accountability partner, reach out for assistance.