This article first appeared in the February / March ’23 issue of Yalla! Magazine. By Aliya Rajah.
Why is it that 80% of new year ’s resolutions fail by February?
New year, new me!
An annoying cheesy thing we say at the start of every year to try and convince ourselves that things will actually be different this year, or could we be onto something here?
As a coach, I work with individuals in helping them make more positive changes in their lives, and believe that this can happen at any time. However there is something nice and fresh about saying goodbye to one year and entering a new year feeling optimistic.
So, we step into the new year with all these high hopes and dreams with all our new goals, but then why is it that 80% of new year’s resolutions fail by February? What exactly is going wrong, and what needs to change? If that number resonates with you and you’ve found yourself in that position in the past, then I invite you to do things differently this year and I share 4 ways in which you can do that.
1. Start with the end in mind
Imagine it’s December 31st 2023 and you’re with loved ones ready to bring in the new year. You look back at the year that just went and you say, ‘hey, that was a really, really good year,’ and you find yourself smiling.
As Stephen Covey’s second habit states ‘begin with the end in mind.’
So a question to ask yourself would be, ‘what would need to happen this year for me to be able to look back and say that about this year?’
Take a moment to visualise your ideal year, and then write down all the things you did and how you felt on a piece of paper.
2. Get clear on your why
“Our WHY is our purpose, cause or belief—the driving force behind everything we do. Our HOWs are the actions we take when we are at our natural best to bring our WHY to life. Our WHATs are the tangible manifestation of our WHY, the actual work we do every day.” – Start With Why, Simon Sinek.
One of the biggest reasons I see individuals failing to follow through with their goals is because their ‘why’ hasn’t been strong enough. Having the self-discipline and commitment to follow through with our goals isn’t always easy, and what makes it even tougher is when we are trying to push ourselves to do something that isn’t even aligned with us. i.e. Setting a particular goal because it looks impressive to others, or because we think it’s what society expects from us at this particular time. Having a strong why will be your driving force towards your goals (even the ones you aren’t particularly excited by), which will be important during the times where you’ve lost your drive or passion, or feel deflated because you’re not seeing results as quick as you’d like to.
3. Break it down
It can be really overwhelming when you have all your goals for the year but have no idea where or how to start. Another reason as to why we don’t follow through is due to unrealistic goal setting and feelings of overwhelm. Just because you’ve set all these goals for yourself it doesn’t mean that they need to be achieved right away.
Instead, break the year into quarters and decide what your main priorities are for the first 3 months. Maybe it’s to focus on your health and relationships? Or you’re going to put most of your time and energy into your professional development.
Once you have set the 2-3 main priorities for the first 3 months, break it down into monthly goals, and then weekly. By breaking your goals down and continuously ticking them off, you will feel much more accomplished and motivated to keep up the momentum.
4. Decide who you need to be
This one is probably the most important. When we talk about The Law of Attraction and manifesting our goals, it isn’t simply about setting intentions and hoping they materialise. The key is to align yourself with your goals, because by doing so you’ll get there a lot quicker.
So going back to number 1 where you visualised your goals for this year. One question to ask yourself is ‘who do I need to BE in order for my goals to come into fruition?’
What characteristics are important for you to develop in order to effectively achieve your goals?
This could be:
- Self-confidence: someone who has fierce self-belief and an optimistic outlook towards themselves and their goals.
- Being determined: someone who is clear on what they want and continuously moves forward towards their goals no matter how challenging it becomes.
- Being proactive: someone who is intentional about what they want and doesn’t let external factors throw them off track.
The clearer you become on who you need to be and more effort you put into working on becoming that person, the easier it will be to achieve your goals. One way to do this would be to ask yourself ‘what would a confident person do in this situation?’ and make your decisions based on your answer.
I would encourage you to keep these 4 STEPS somewhere where you can refer back to them regularly, whether it be on your phone or on your desk, because by following the above, setting your goals won’t be just something you think about and do once, but instead they become a part of your lifestyle.
Aliya Rajah is a personal and professional development coach, specializing in helping ambitious, high-achieving individuals in building their interpersonal and intrapersonal skills that will enable them to thrive in their field. IG: coach_aliya