Another year has flown by and January has arrived. It's a new year and a new start and many of us may excitedly declare our new year's resolutions only for our motivation to be short-lived. A recent study conducted by the University of Scranton's psychology department showed that 71% of those surveyed only followed through on their new year's resolutions for the first two weeks and sadly it's the case for many of us.

Why do so many of us break our promises and what strategies can help us to be more successful at sticking to our resolutions?

Generally, most people’s New Year’s resolutions tend to revolve around themes such as:

• Read more

• Exercise more

• Eat healthier

• Learn a new language…

These may sound like great resolutions but each one lacks any specificity, and it’s usually the lack of specificity which can create a lack of follow through. Technically, a new year’s resolution is a goal that you want to achieve and like with any goal you need to be clear on what you want your end result to be. 

Below are 3 steps to make your new year’s resolution last:

1) Set a specific goal

To achieve your goal you need an end-point that you can visualise and know for sure, whether or not you’re on track and when you’ve achieved it. If your goal is to read more how will you know if you’re on track? How can you monitor your progress? Learning how to visualise your resolutions in concrete terms can help you to extend beyond the two week mark. 

Below are examples of how you can make your resolutions more specific so that you’re more likely to follow through:

• Read 5 books by April  

• Run a half marathon by July

• Restrict chocolate to one day a week

• Complete an online course in basic French.

When we’ve set a clearly defined goal by writing it down in a way it can be measured, we’re able to know exactly when we’ve reached it and give ourselves a deadline to work towards.

2) Break it down into smaller steps

Breaking our goal into smaller manageable steps can help us to reach our larger goal.

• If, for example, your goal is to read more books, maybe you will start to think of times during the day that you would like to dedicate to reading or a specific genre of books that you would like to read.

• If you want to run a marathon in July, maybe you’ll start to think of the best ways to train or research which marathon you plan to take part in.

• If you plan to limit chocolate, maybe you’ll want to research alternative healthy snacks you can replace chocolate with for the times you get cravings.

• If you plan to become fluent in French, maybe you will research the best apps, books or classes that will help you to achieve that goal.

When we start to break up our goal into smaller milestones that we can celebrate we’re more likely to continue taking the relevant steps towards our chosen endpoint. 

3) Power through doubt

When you set off with your goals it’s not uncommon to experience self-sabotaging mind chatter that can cause you to doubt yourself. When you set a goal and try something new, your subconscious mind can often bring up feelings of fear, doubt or worry. Understanding that these feelings are a normal and an expected part of the process can help you to power through the doubt and move past the negative thoughts which may not be supporting your goals. Write down a list of positive affirmations, put some inspirational pictures on the screen saver of your phone or add goal reminders on your desk or home to help you nip any negative triggers in the bud and replace them with a ‘I can do it’ attitude instead.

4) Focus on your wins

When you are making changes to your lifestyle and taking action steps towards achieving your goals, it can be easy to slip up along the way. Maybe you fall off the wagon and take a cheat day from your diet, maybe you forget to read your books on the weekend or you miss a day of marathon training. Instead of beating yourself up when this happens, reframe it with ‘I didn’t reach my goal today but I’ll work towards it again tomorrow’. When you choose to give yourself another chance and remind yourself of the positive steps that you have taken, you give yourself a chance to celebrate your progress and focus on your wins rather than getting caught up in a hopeless cycle of putting yourself down or feeling like a lost cause. 

5) Buddy up

When you set a goal remaining accountable for your actions can seem easier when others know about your plan. This could be with a life coach, a trusted friend, a fitness instructor or with an accountability buddy.  When others know about your action steps, you have a higher likelihood of remaining committed and also have someone who can provide you with a different perspective in any moments you may face challenges or experience a dip in your willpower. Maybe you could set a challenge with a group of friends to maintain accountability as a group, have a weekly session with a life coach to bust through any resistance or maybe having a fitness trainer will assist you to push past your limits if you feel like giving up. Buddying up is a great way to help us to achieve our goals whilst also feeling supported. It can also provide you with someone to help you celebrate your achievements.

If you want to turn your resolutions into results, follow the steps above and you could make 2018 one of your best years yet.

Where do you want to be in 12 months’ time? I’d love to know, let me know in the comments below.

Start 2018 Making Your New Year’s Resolutions Last!

Why not start 2018 by attending our Free 2-Day Foundation in Life Coaching Course where you can learn valuable tools and techniques that can help you break through your limitations and reach the finish line.

Or if you would just like to know a little more about what Life Coaching is and how it can benefit you and the lives of others, please contact our Specialist Course Advisor, Jamil on 0208 996 4830 or email:

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