Making your New Year Resolutions actually work this time

Top mistakes people make with their New Year Resolutions. Take a look and see if you are making any of them…

1. Choosing an end point, instead of an action

And end point is something like “I’m going to lose weight”, or “I’m going to be fitter”. It is the destination you want to reach, but it does nothing to actually get you there. An action is something you can definitively do (or not do), that takes you a step closer to your end point.

To use an analogy, an end point is: “I want to go to London”.

An action is: “I’m going to buy a train ticket to London”.

Notice how the end point is important, but doesn’t actually get you anywhere. The action is the thing that gets you to your end point.

Top Tip: Make sure your New Year Resolution is an action you can actually do, not just a pipe dream of what you want.

2. Not planning ahead

The next common mistake people make is not having any kind of plan. They start and end with the end goal, and almost hope that is all it takes. Unfortunately, if we want something to happen, we need to make it happen. Some things we might want to consider in our plans include:

  • What actions we need to take (eg – what foods do we need to increase/cut back on).
  • How big an action does it need to be (eg – do we need to overhaul our eating plans, or just tweek it a bit here and there).
  • How often do we need to take the action – (eg – do we need to do it hourly, daily, weekly, monthly etc).
  • What resources or aid do we need (eg – can we do it alone, or with support from others, or from a professional).
  • What can stop us from doing the action (eg – can the weather, our workload or family life etc get in the way).
  • What is our Plan B (eg – if family life stops us doing it as planned, what contingencies do we have in place to still get it done.)

Top Tip: Make sure you have planned the What, When, Why, How, Who etc at least a week in advance.

3. Not recording what actually happens

Even the best laid plans can go awry. So unless we know what is actually happening in real life, we will never know if we are on course, if our actions are having any effect and how our plans need to be updated. In practice, people who don’t record what is actually happening usually either:

  • Never even get started
  • Get disheartened with their progress and eventually give up
  • Get frustrated with their progress and eventually give up
  • Not understand what is happening with their progress and eventually give up

Top Tip: Keep a record of what actions you take, when you take them and how you are progressing.

4. Not reviewing and adapting

As circumstances change, our actions also need to change. Otherwise, we are certain to veer wildly off course. A good analogy is what we do with the steering wheel while driving. As the road changes, we also change course with the steering wheel. Just keeping the wheel still and flooring it, never ends in a happy place.

We review and adapt by looking back at what we have done (using the records we have been keeping), seeing how we are progressing (are we succeeding, stalling etc), and adapting our plans as necessary (do we continue on course or change things).

Top Tip: Plan a regular review where you ask yourself the best questions in the world:

  • What worked well since last review?
  • What didn’t work so well since last review?
  • What can we improve slightly in time for the next review?

In conclusion…

It is a well known fact that most New Year Resolutions crash and burn within the first week/month of the year. If you are happy with that, no worries, crack on as normal. But if you really want to make a difference in your life, you will do well checking if you are making any of these common mistakes.

And if you want help, support and coaching to aid you, maybe I can help. I coach people face to face and online with their exercise, challenges and health. Take a look at just some of the services I offer and see if you could benefit…