How to keep your New Year’s resolutions and achieve your goals

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It may only be the second week of January but how many of you have already broken your New Year’s resolutions? If so, you shouldn’t feel too bad about it because studies which show that 20% of resolutions are broken before the end of the first week in January and at least 80% are broken before the end of the year! For a variety of reasons, I’m not good at sticking to my New Year’s resolutions which what made me write this post about how to keep your New Year’s resolutions and achieve your goals.

There are lots of reasons why people struggle to keep their New Year’s resolutions.  For me, I tend to make New Year’s resolutions that I know will more than likely be broken whereas other people make resolutions that they believe they have to stick to.  If I happen to keep one of my New Year’s resolutions then this is a huge success for me but if you fall into the other category (those that believe they have to stick to their resolutions) then the slightest setback feels like failure and they just give up.

I am not saying that you should follow my example because I never set myself any serious New Year’s resolutions.  Why? Because for me it is not the right time of year to be setting myself targets like this.  If I seriously want to make changes in my life or business, I sit down and work through setting myself some real goals by following a system I know will get results.

I recently sat down to review my goals for last year and what I found interesting was that I achieved all my business goals but in 2013 I did not manage to achieve one of my personal goals; so, since personal goals are important to me, I spent some time trying to figure out what went wrong.

But firstly, what went right?

Well, I consider myself very lucky to have a job that I enjoy and am passionate about which really helps when setting career/business goals. This has not always been the case and I have learnt that sometimes we have to take a reality check and realise that perhaps the job/company/industry we are in is not the right one to achieve the career success we strive for. I am also lucky to be rewarded for the work I do by the feedback from my clients and this year already started on a high when I received an email from a client who I assisted in preparing for a intensive interview programme that included a personal assessment, a psychological test, technical interview and panel interview; he said,

“They were very happy about my interview, so happy that I am not going to take a second interview next week, but I will get directly a job offer!?!  It is very clear for me that without your help I wouldn’t have been able to get this great opportunity.”

Last year one of my personal goals was to complete a university correspondence course entitled “The Modern World, Global History since 1760” which I did and have the certificate to prove it. This was not an easy course but I have always been interested in history so I really enjoyed doing it. In the past I have pushed myself way out of my comfort zone with my personal goals and always achieved them; even doing a parachute jump in Scotland when I have an innate fear of heights – the motivation that kept me going with this one was the money I was raising for a children’s charity!

So what about the goal I didn’t achieve last year? Well, it was to complete a Dutch language course, “Foutloos spreken en schrijven” and I haven’t completed it, yet! When I look at what I have achieved, I can see why I haven’t achieved this one. For me it’s due to the motivation and the reason for doing it. I already have my NTII level 2 so technically do not need this other course but I thought it might help to improve my Dutch because I feel that after living in Holland for 7 years I should be better at the language and so I have not had the right motivation to keep at it because I cannot see the reward at the end.

It is interesting because the same studies I mentioned at the start also show that the people who actually manage to keep their New Year’s resolutions are those that follow proven principles of goal setting.  They know ‘why’ they want to achieve their goals (and if you have a big enough why, you can always work out how!); they plan achievable actions steps along with rewards for reaching these action steps which keep them inspired, motivated and confident so they continue working toward their goal – wouldn’t you be more inclined to do something if there was a reward at the end of it? And most importantly, if they do come up against a setback they see it as just that – a temporary setback which so long as they pick themselves up and start taking action again will not deter them from achieving their goal.

So not completing the Dutch course last year is just a setback and by coming up with a suitable reward, I will complete it before Easter.  My other personal challenge for this year is to complete a long distance walk and I just have to decide whether it will be 24 peaks in 24 hours in England, the Death March in Belgium or something else that will push me and give me a real sense of achievement and it all begins this month as I have just signed up for a walking marathon!

I also have some exciting plans for my business but I am keeping them under wraps for the moment suffice to say that they include using my knowledge, experience and recent training to put together an amazing new package to help clients ace even the toughest of interviews as well as creating a tool to help students get their first job – but you have to keep reading my blog to find out more so I suggest you sign up so as not to miss anything!

What are your plans for 2014 and how are you going to make sure you achieve them?

Remember that sharing them is the first step towards achieving them!

Further reading: issue 15 – 7 tips for a new career


I am a Certified Advanced Resume Writer, Employment Interview Consultant, and Career Coach and it is my aim to help ambitious and motivated people like you become fully empowered to get the job you want.