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Column 4 reasons why we don’t keep our New Year’s resolutions

And how to avoid falling into the same trap again. Ciara Conlon gives some guidance.

ARE YOU THE New Year’s resolution type?

Whether you set New Year’s resolutions or not, we all want to achieve things in life. Some of us set goals regularly, others probably think about them regularly.

The good news is that goal setting works. The bad news is that a large percentage of people who set New Year’s resolutions fail to achieve them time and time again. There are a number of reasons why people fail to keep their resolutions and achieve their goals. Here are a few of them and what we can do about it:

1. Not having clearly defined goals

If you write down a goal for 2013, you should be very clear about what you want to achieve and why. If one of your goals is to get fit, you will need to be more specific about that goal in order to achieve it. Ask yourself what, when, why, how and where.

Having an answer for all of these questions will give you a much greater possibility of becoming an ironman (or lady) before the end of 2013.

2. Trying too much, too soon

Change can be difficult, and human beings naturally resist it. We tend to prefer the status quo, the familiarity of our habits and routines even if they are negative or no longer serve us. It’s easier to sit on the sofa with a beer than get up and go out to the gym, even though we know the later will make us feel so much better about ourselves.

Your comfort zone is hard to break through, even harder if you try to break down too much at once. Start small and go for a ten minute walk rather than going to the gym for a 60-minute workout. Persist with each small change until you feel you have made it part of your everyday life. People who try to change too much at once are more likely to fail.

3. Not believing you can

Are you one of those people who reluctantly sets New Year’s resolutions? Do you say you are going to do it but inside you don’t really believe it? A lot of people have set themselves up for failure before they have even started. Deep down they don’t believe they can do it. Your beliefs will generally determine the outcome, so don’t waste your time if you don’t really believe it can be done.

So many people set the goal of losing weight every January but they feel so negative about the goal – because they have tried so many times and failed – that they don’t really believe they can do it. The old familiar ‘I’ll start tomorrow’ will be heard throughout the country right through the year. Remember Einstein’s definition of insanity: “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

So if you want different results it is obvious you must start to do things differently. There is no reason why you can’t achieve your goals if you believe you can. Immerse yourself in the feeling of success. How would it feel if you were to achieve your goal? How amazing would it be to have finally conquered what you had deemed to be the unconquerable?

4.You fall at the first hurdle

And here is where we lose most people: at the first hurdle.

What’s important is that you know it doesn’t matter if you fall – what matters is how long you stay lying down.

Everyone fails, it is part of life. The important part is your reaction to this failure – do you stay lying down, or do you jump back up to try again? So if you are starting a new habit know that it’s probable that you will stumble but plan to get back up again quickly.
It’s up to you to understand why you have failed in the past and put in place a plan to prevent it from happening again.

It is your life and your responsibility to make it a good one. With a little bit of effort you can make it just how you dream it should be.

Ciara Conlon is a productivity coach and the author of Chaos To Control: A Practical Guide To Getting Things Done. If you need help making your New Year’s resolutions stick this year go to and find out about her online course Get Set for Success: 7 Weeks to a Happier More Organised You.

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