Biggest Mistakes with New Year Resolutions

New Year Resolutions. We’re great at making them but we’re even better at breaking them!

Let’s start with some of the most common New Year resolutions:

– Lose weight
– Cut down alcohol
– Spend less / save more
– Enjoy life
– Get fit & healthy
– Quit smoking

These are all great resolutions but they are also all easily broken and here’s why. They are broad, general, non-specific goals. And there’s nothing wrong with that BUT in order to achieve them, it’s absolutely necessary that you make your goals more specific AND work out a plan to get there.

When you set effective goals, you will achieve more. Goals provide focus, enhance productivity, bolster self-esteem, and increase commitment. When setting a goal, clearly outline the series of steps for achieving it to stay on track and reduce overwhelm. Make your goals S.M.A.R.T. – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. Setting  S.M.A.R.T. Goals can be the difference between setting yourself up for success and setting yourself up for failure!


So let’s work through your S.M.A.R.T. Goal. Is your Goal…



Be as detailed as possible. The more information you supply, the more accurate the results will be.

Include the following:

  • Who is involved?
  • What do you want to accomplish?
  • When?
  • Where?
  • Why?
  • Which requirements and constraints exist?

For example, “I want to exercise more” is not specific enough and feels unmanageable. However, “I want to go to the gym at least three times a week for 1 hour starting January 6th” is more specific and defined, which will allow you to take actionable steps towards reaching the target goal.


Establish criteria to measure progress. How will you know when the goal is achieved? Create a checklist of tasks to get done and check off each item as it is accomplished.


When you clearly identify your goal, you develop the attitudes, abilities, and skills to attain it successfully. We often get caught up in what we think we should be doing instead of going after our core desires. Make sure your goals align with your future vision and authentic self.


You must be willing and able to work toward your goal. How committed are you? Have you done something similar in the past? What do you need to do to achieve the goal? Be honest with yourself  about your available time and energy and plan accordingly. And, make sure your goal is challenging enough to inspire and motivate you.


Anchor your goal with a deadline and mark each deadline in your diary to stay on track.


So here’s an example. You want to quit smoking!

Specific: I want to stop smoking by 30th March because I want to improve my health and save money.

Measurable: I will keep a tally chart of how many I smoke each day.

Attainable: Yes. I’m doing it for me because I want to feel better.

Realistic: Yes, but I can’t do it overnight and my Friday nights out will be the hardest.

Timely: By end of January I want to be down to 12 per day and 15 on Fridays. By end of February, 7 per day and 8 on Fridays. By end of March I want to have quit altogether. (You’d probably want to include weekly targets but you get the idea.)

So think your goals through. Write them down and work through the S.M.A.R.T. checklist and set yourself up for success!!

I wish you a very Happy Christmas and a Happy, Healthy & Successful New Year!