New year’s resolutions don’t work. 

It’s the season when we start making goals for the new year, and well let’s face it, who doesn’t want some new goals and things to achieve after the last 2 years we’ve experienced.

We get pumped and excited to make large goals or declarations for the new year.

The thing is they don’t work. Most of us who make New Year’s resolutions never follow through. 

To set goals that you can stick to and achieve you need to clarify your values/ your why, come up with a plan, be consistent and look at your environment.

Clarifying values

Think about your why. Values act as guideposts for us. Values are not a list of shoulds and shouldn’ts. Set an intention for the year that’s based on what you value. Choose your values and take steps towards them every day. 

If learning and growth are your values then you may find yourself trying new things and stretching yourself to learn new things. 

If you value connection and friendship you may find yourself making time to see friends and spend time getting to know new people.

Consistency is key

Goals are often a combination of behaviour. Small incremental changes you can make and do each day.

‘’Every action we take is a vote for the type of person we wish to become’’ – James Clear 

Habits compound over time, reading for 10 minutes a day won’t make a huge difference that day, but reading for 10 minutes a day every day over weeks, months and years makes a significant difference. 

Showing up each and every day and repeating this new habit is the key. If you want to run a half marathon, you’re better off saying to yourself I’ll go for a run every Monday, Wednesday and Friday before work for at least 30 minutes. You become a runner and you identify with it. 

Once you achieve your goal you shouldn’t just abandon these, they should be part of your life. Or you may be back to square one. 


Behaviour change takes planning. Plan how to incorporate your new goal into your life, plan on how you will overcome setbacks and anticipate challenges.

Play out the scenario in your mind and see how it works, for example if you want to run a half marathon by the end of the year, you may need to run 3 -4 times a week. Think about when it will happen? When will you run? Before work ? Do you have time before work, how long will you run, when will you shower and eat breakfast, to get up early for a run, what time do you need to go to bed?

Adding a new habit often means giving something else up, something has to give way. Look at what you have to give up and plan for it. Going for a run 3 days a week might mean getting up an hour earlier so you’re giving up sleep, you may need to go to bed earlier. Learning a new language might mean less tv time or an evening of language classes so less time with family and friends.

Be aware of your environment

Some changes may make others uncomfortable. You making changes may change things for your friends and family.

If you’re trying to eat healthily but your partner orders take out several times a week, your goal might prove difficult. If you start exercising in the morning it may mean your evening activities with friends may be impacted. If you decide to reduce your alcohol intake, you may not want to go to places with alcohol all around you. This may impact others, it may challenge their habits, they may try to convince you to change yours or they may not be willing to be flexible and support you. 

Changing our surroundings may not always be possible so you may need to make additional sacrifices and plan extra carefully.

Setting goals can be a great starting point, remember to plan and take small steps.


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