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How to avoid the trap of New Year’s Resolutions

You survived another year and have yet again arrived at New Year’s Eve wondering what your resolution for 2019 will be.

Perhaps it’s the same one as last year; and the year before that; and the year before that. Sound familiar?

Or perhaps this year you’re planning to add something fresh and new to your BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) list?

The sad news is that it really doesn’t matter what your resolution is, the odds of achieving your NYR are not great. Business Insider reported on a 2016 study published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin that revealed 80% of people fail to stick to their New Year’s resolutions for longer than six weeks.

But the news isn’t all bad. You can increase the odds of achieving your NYR with these five tips:

  1. Be deliberate. If you’ve just made up a goal to fill the uncomfortable silence at a NY party, it is unlikely you have any intention of following through. Setting a goal for all the wrong reasons doesn’t exactly set you up to achieve! It’s important to find the right reasons and do it when it suits, not just on NYE.
  2. Be SMART. Your goal needs to be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound). Think seriously about whether your resolution is really achievable in the next year? How will you monitor progress? What actions will you need to take to achieve it, and by when? There’s little point setting a goal if it isn’t specific because you won’t have a way to track it, or a strategy to get there. And don’t forget to build in some milestones and mini-celebrations along the way.
  3. Find your WHY. When setting any kind of goal, your why is the critical part of the equation. It’s fine to say you want to lose 20 kilograms before your birthday, but how will you stay motivated and avoid the sweets table if there’s no compelling reason to do it? You’ve already worked through making your goal SMART, now it’s time to get cosy with your why.
  4. Ditch the “get out of jail free” cards. If this is something you really want to achieve, don’t give yourself the chance to take it back. Use words such as “must” and “will” instead of “but” and “should”. You deserve to be positive!
  5. Have a plan. Don’t just write out your goal and stick it on the fridge. You could spend the year looking at it while making up excuses about when you’ll get started. Yes, you’re busy. Yes, there’s always next week. There will always be excuses not to achieve your dreams. To succeed, you need a PLAN! Set out how much time you need to turn your goal into reality throughout the days, weeks and months ahead. If it’s a savings goal, for example, break it down and allocate how much you will need to save each week in order to have that holiday of your dreams!

Remember to build in contingencies. There will be times when you stray from your path. But rather than giving up on your goals, have a plan ready to get you back on track.

Easy, right? Rather than getting on the resolution roundabout, this year, approach goal setting with the right attitude and mindset and you’ll be celebrating 2019 like it’s 1999!

Oh, and don’t forget to keep your goals and your action plan visible (yes, the fridge door is fine…).This will help you to stay motivated and on track for a fantastic year!

Cheers! Happy New Year!


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