You will note that I haven’t used the word resolution in the title of this blog. I’m not actually a fan of setting next year’s goals on or around New Year’s Eve, the traditional time for planning how we are going to make our lives so much better. This is mainly because by 11.30pm on 31st December I am probably heading towards the end of my second bottle of Prosecco!

Any internet search will bring up millions of articles about New Year’s resolutions, but most of them will focus on the reasons why so many fail at the first hurdle. In fact the statistics vary from an 8% success rate to an 80% failure rate – I’m not sure what happened to the other 12%!  Research conducted by Richard Wiseman of the University of Hertfordshire in 2007 suggests men are significantly more likely to succeed when asked to engage in either goal setting (e.g. instead of trying to lose weight in general, aiming to lose a pound each week), or focusing on the rewards associated with achieving their goal (e.g. being more attractive to the opposite sex).

Women, on the other hand, are more successful when they tell others about their resolution, or are encouraged to be especially resilient and not to give up because they have reverted to the old habits (e.g. if dieting – treating a chocolate binge as a temporary setback rather than as failure). So on that basis here is the first of my tips:-

  1. Tell the world. Not actually the whole world of course, but those friends and family that can offer support and hold you accountable. An accountability buddy is proven to significantly help in keeping you on the straight and narrow.
  2. Do one thing at a time. The happy (drunken) fog of New Year resoluting or is it resolutioning (where is Stephen Fry when you need him?) usually results in multiple promises to oneself to start over, but oneresolution or goal brings a greater chance of success. Channeling your energy and determination into changing just one aspect of your behaviour makes success far more achievable. Of course, this could be one overarching goal that has smaller sub goals: a healthier lifestyle might mean better diet and more exercise, but working on one aspect at a time will feel far less overwhelming.
  3. Have mini – goals. These are the small interim steps that you can reach, achieve and reward yourself for. Celebrate those successes along the way to keep you motivated, but within your goal – no sticky cakes as a reward for reaching a diet goal!
  4. Review every week. This is particularly effective if you have an accountability buddy and you check in with each other to review how things have gone over the previous week.
  5. Start now. Finally, if you haven’t started to plan for changes in 2019, it is never too late to start. Take a sheet of paper and write down what you want to do differently this year, then write down a few actionable and realistic steps. That’s it – your first draft, it doesn’t matter if it isn’t perfect, all that matters is that you start now.

Good luck and look out for more help next week.

Gill Donnell MBE is the Founder and Owner of Successful Women Ltd, you can find out more about the #swibtribe and events taking place across the South West of England here –

Views expressed by the writer are not necessarily the views of the Springboard Consultancy Ltd

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