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Why New Years Resolutions don’t work….. and WHAT TO DO INSTEAD!

dreamstime_l_62727989Chances are a month ago you set some New Year Resolutions? If so… how are you doing?

The New Year provide us with a great opportunity to reflect on where we’re at, and what we’d like to achieve this year.

Unfortunately research shows us that 92% of people that set new year resolutions will fail to achieve them.

In this blog I’ll explain why, and what to do instead to join the 8% of people who actually achieve their goals.


  • They lack the self belief that they can achieve their goals based on their past efforts. Ie: allowing past failures to dictate their future.
  • Their core values aren’t aligned with their resolutions/goals/desired outcome.
  • They haven’t spent time working out what we call in the coaching world “the secondary gain or meta outcome.” In other words what will achieving your goal give you? This is crucial as this is what juices us up and give us our “why” when the going gets tough. And believe me the going will get tough. There will inevitably be obstacles and setbacks along the way. Thats part of the process.
  • They allow their Inner Critic to run the show especially when they hit a road block and go “off track.”
  • They don’t believe they deserve it. So they either never achieve it in the first place or achieve it and then set out to sabotage it based on feeling unworthy.
  • Their goals are so big it catapults them into a “procrastination holding pattern” instead of a “taking consistent action pattern.


You’ll need to set aside at least 30 minutes to do this. But believe me you’ll be glad you did! You’ll also need your journal or some blank paper and pens,  post it notes/sticky notes, and a device you can download an audio track onto.

  1. Sit and meditate to quieten your mind. If you like you can download this FREE Guided Visualisation: http://www.theconfidencecoach.net.au/resources/relaxation-and-visualization/
    Before you open your eyes put your hands on your heart and ask yourself ~ “What’s the one thing that if I achieved it would dramatically improve the quality of my life?”  Open your eyes and write down your answer.
  2. Its time to be really honest with yourself. Why haven’t you achieved it up until now? What’s stopped you in the past? Lack of commitment? Lack of support? Lack of self belief that you can do it? Failed attempts to achieve it in the past? Feeling like its unachievable? Feeling like you don’t deserve it? Fear that achieving it won’t sit well with those you hold nearest and dearest? Fear of the unknown? Only you have the answer, and I bet if you’re really honest with yourself you’ll identify what it is for you.
  3. Once you’ve identified what it is, think about what you can do to change that belief once and for all. Beliefs are just things we’ve consistently told ourselves that either propel us forward or hold us back from becoming who we really want to be. All it really is “your story.” Its the story you keep telling yourself. In order to achieve something different you need to tell yourself a new story. Before you do that write down whatever you identified that’s stopped you in the past and do some sort of a letting go ceremony. One way to do this is to write it down, scribble all over it NOT TRUE, rip it to shreds and either burn it or put it in the garbage where it belongs. Then go and wash your hands and visualise whatever you’re letting go of washing down the drain. Then put on your favourite up tempo music and celebrate.
  4. To help you create a “new story” look out into the future (usually to your right) and imagine you’ve already achieved your goal.  What beliefs did you need?  What new behaviours were required?  What resources did you use? Who helped you?  And what has achieving your goal given you?
  5. Now chunk your resolution/goal/desired outcome down into tiny bite size achievable mini goals. Success breeds success. And you’re self belief will grow exponentially.  Be sure to celebrate each time you achieve a mini goal.
  6. Being accountable is a great way to keep you “on track.” Choose someone you trust to share your goal/desired outcome with. And set up a time for you to check in with them on a regular basis.
  7. Come up with a strategy in advance to get you back “on track” when you hit an obstacle or roadblock. As I mentioned earlier these are inevitable so already having a strategy in place will help you to quickly re-group, get back “on track” and keep moving towards your goal.


Whether we’re consciously aware of it or not (and the majority of us aren’t) all of the decisions we make in our life are driven by our Core Values i.e.; what we value the most. So unless your core values are aligned with your resolution/goal/desired outcome its highly likely you’ll be a member of the of the “92% club” of people that set goals and fail to achieve them.

The great news is that you can change your Core Values anytime. For example if you set a goal to lose 10 kgs but optimal health and fitness doesn’t feature on your Top 10-12 Core Values, its highly likely you won’t lose the 10 kgs.

So I highly recommend you sit down now and think about what your Top 10-12 Values are? And then ask yourself if you might need to re-arrange the order or add a new one to achieve your resolution/goal/outcome?

You’ll find a list of common core values to choose from in my book “Become your #1 Fan” on pages 154-157. If you don’t have my book yet and like to purchase it, here’s a link to the kindle version on Amazon.


Even if you don’t have my book you can do this exercise. Get out your Post It Notes/Sticky Notes and pen and jot down the 10-12 things you value the most. Then pop them up on a wall and spend some time putting them into a hierarchy of what you value the most. If you’ve never done this exercise before I highly recommend you spend the next few days playing with the order until you feel you have them in the right sequence.

At different times in our lives our values changed to match the situation. For example when I became a parent my values changed significantly.

It never ceases to amaze me how often my clients set goals that aren’t aligned with their highest values then wonder why they struggle to achieve them. Often they’ll need to swap a value or create a brand new one. For example if you set a goal to lose weight, and one of your highest values is love and connection and your close friends get together every Friday night to watch the game, eat pizza and drink lots of beers its highly likely you won’t achieve your goal. Are you starting to understand how crucial it is to re-assess your values?

Lets face it, if we haven’t achieved something already we’re going to have to add some new beliefs and behaviours to our repertoire in order to make it a reality.  And those behaviours are driven by our values. So I highly recommend you spend the time working out what your Top 10-12 Values are and then make sure you set goals based on those values.


How we treat ourselves when we go “off track” will determine whether we achieve our resolution/goal/desired outcome.

Beating yourself up, calling yourself a loser etc….. certainly isn’t going to propel you forward. Chances are its going to sabotage your efforts.

We ALL have an Inner Critic but the great news is that nasty voice can be re-programmed. All it takes is consistent effort on your behalf. And here’s a link to video that teaches you how: http://www.theconfidencecoach.net.au/resources/how-to-reprogram-your-negative-self-talk/

Approach achieving your goal with the determination, joy, curiosity and positive anticipation you had when you were a tiny child and learnt how to walk and talk. And remember there’s no such thing as failure ~ only feedback.

I hope you’ve found this article valuable? If so please share it on your Social Media and comment below or send me an email. Kathryn@theconfidencecoach.net

Here’s to you becoming a member of the 8% club!



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