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Column: New year, new you – how to achieve your goals in 2014

New Year’s Resolutions are often broken early in the year, despite good intentions. Here’s how to make them a success, writes Ciara Conlon.

Ciara Conlon

GOAL-SETTING IS like Marmite; you either love it or you hate it.

If you identify yourself as one of the haters, it’s most likely because it hasn’t worked for you… yet!

Goal-setting is a powerful process one that is used by sports stars, business gurus and regular Joe Soaps. Setting goals increases your chances of getting what you want from life.

Last year I was interviewed by my favourite DJ, Dave Fanning. Grinning like the Cheshire cat, not believing I was actually sitting across from the voice that had cushioned my teenage years, he asked me “What if I don’t want to change?”

I can’t remember how I answered Dave on the day – probably not very articulately as I sat star struck in the RTE studios. What I probably said was “if you don’t what to change, don’t change”. Desire is the first requirement for successful achievement of goals.

Do you really want it?

Only reach for dreams you really want, don’t get sucked into setting goals because you think you should have them or because it’s the logical next step in your career. Be true to yourself and unless a goal excites you and motivates you to get up in the morning don’t bother going for it. Desire and passion are an essential part of the process, without them you will lack motivation. When the passion levels are right, what you need next is self-belief.

Henry Ford said “If you think you can or think you can’t, you are probably right” If you don’t believe you can succeed in getting your goal, your chances of achieving anything are slim. I have met many people who set goals but because they have failed so many times before they don’t really believe they can achieve it. They fear failure, ridicule and disappointment. Identifying and bringing those fears to your awareness will help you to tackle and overcome these barriers. Confront your fears: are they realistic? Or are you perhaps listening to other people’s negativity. Remember you are the master of your fate.

So you’ve decided you really want to change, you believe you can do it, now what?

Unfortunately the statistics for New Year Resolution success is poor. Apparently only 18% of people succeed with their New Year’s Resolutions. Eek, should you bother wasting your time? But fear not, with a couple of tips you’ll be one of the 18% or even better together we will raise that percentage to a more respectable rate.

Celebrate last year

Take some time to contemplate the past year. What was good about it? Did you achieve anything in work, did you master a new talent, did you perhaps give up a bad habit? It’s important to celebrate and recognise all of your accomplishments. Don’t let things go unnoticed.

So, how can you make next year better? Decide what you want to achieve and follow these simple steps…

Write it down

Writing down your goals not only helps you to commit to achieving them but it also helps to engage your subconscious mind in the goal setting process. The brain has a filter called the RAS which is responsible for altered arousal; it’s the part of the brain that makes you aware of what’s happening in the world relevant to you. Buy a new car and you will see the same car everywhere. Have a new baby and you will see babies everywhere. The RAS will alert you to relevance and opportunities, your subconscious mind is working for you.

Less is more

Don’t try to change too much too soon. Focus on one goal at a time. One of the reasons new year’s resolutions fail is because many people try to give up smoking, drinking and get fit all at the same time. Some have achieved it but their numbers are few.

Overcome pitfalls

Remember that you will fall, but what’s important is not the falling, what’s important is how long you stay lying down. If you know the pitfalls you can work your way through them and come out smiling. Make a plan for the New Year, be resolute and go out and get it this time.

Ciara Conlon is a Productivity Coach and author of Chaos to Control a practical guide to getting things done. She helps busy professionals save time and get focused. If you would like help getting organised and setting goals for 2014, Check out her online course Get Set for Success

Read: Having trouble with New Year’s Resolutions? This video will help

Read: 11 New Year’s Resolutions from people with really low expectations

We’re interested in your ideas and opinions – do you have a story you would like to see featured in Opinion & Insight? Email opinions@thejournal.ie

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