There’s nothing like a New Years Eve countdown to make you re-assess your life and where you are headed.
Social media transforms into a flurry of motivational quotes and any conversation you have around the dinner table is about the illusive and ever-important resolution.
Funnily enough, according to the University of Scranton Journal of Clinical Psychology, only 8 % of people each year are actually successful in achieving their resolutions.
Perhaps you are one of those mythical creatures spoken about only in fables who actually achieves their New Years resolution, or perhaps you – like the majority of humans – allow your resolutions to fall by the wayside way before the Easter eggs begin to line the shelves at the shopping malls.
So why do we almost always fail at living out our dreams to the fullest potential when we date stamp them with a January 1st label?
Too hard to get to the gym every day – and too easy to stay in the same job and never change.
These commonly held truths are so widespread they have almost become a cliché.
Personal development Coach Nancie Vito has been helping people with their goal setting since the giant ball in Times Square dropped ushering in 2009.
Every new year since that time, she has helped people create strong goals and achieve them.
Her biggest tip: create a goal that is meaningful to you.
“You will be more likely to reach it if you are intrinsically motivated and truly excited about it,” Vito says.
“If you find yourself creating the same resolution each year because you didn’t keep it in previous years, develop an intention that truly motivates you.
“It’s often better to avoid the “shoulds” — those things you only think you need to do, someone else wants you to do or mainstream society indicates you’re supposed to do.
“After creating your intention, develop a plan with an actionable step that you can take immediately.
“If you find yourself getting off track, consider your why behind it. No matter the reason, coming back to your original motivating factor will be helpful.”
Intentions are important when it comes to the new year. Personal development coach Cassie Parks believes in intentions over goals.
She teaches her students that you do not have to wait until the new year to set intentions for your life.
“I teach my clients to constantly be setting intentions so it’s not just important in the New Year,” she says.
“If you want something to change and be different in your life, start today.
“It’s the putting it off that subtly tells your brain, “this can wait” and I believe that is a big reason so many New Years Resolutions are over within the first few weeks to month.”
Understanding that intentions can be set at any time of the year is a big factor in determining your success.
Should you fall off the bandwagon, there is no better time than the present to jump back on, rather than waiting for another Monday.
Parks says there are many differences between setting a goal and an intention.
“A goal often doesn’t stretch someone enough to make a big lasting change,” she says.
“For example if your goal is to lose 50 pounds and that’s it you’re not focused on the whole change. You’re simply focused on the goal.
“To continue with this example, you also come up with a plan which means you might decided you’re going to work out three times a week and possibly go on some sort of diet.
“Nothing on the inside is changing. There’s no focus on who you will be when you are 50 pounds lighter and why you want that.
“It often comes as pushing away from something, not liking the way you look or the way your clothes fit.
“When you set and intention you are moving toward something.
“In this example it might be looking and feeling good. It might be being healthier. When you start to focus on that, you can start to move toward that intention.
“You also might start making other choices as yo focus on living your intention of looking better and feeling better.
“One of my client just released 30 pounds easily when she decided to dress like her future self.
“Her intention is to train 100 coaches and advisors from her institute. When she decided to dress like the head of the institute other things easily started falling into place and the weight released itself.
“An intention is a determination to act. A goal is a target. When you set the intention to act a certain way you start doing that.”
Parks says the best way to make sure your goal sticks is to look at the bigger picture.
“My best advice for sticking to your intentions is to set an intention for a whole life,” she says.
“Instead of setting one intention at a time, set aside some time to get clear on the life you want and set the intention for that.
“You can name that life if you want to help guide you to it each and every day.
“We are whole beings and when you set the intention for a whole life that lights you up, I’ve seen in my clients and myself, it’s much easier to stick to your intentions.
“You are creating something.
“Additionally when you set a life intention, I coach my clients to five years out. That way they are growing into their life and can give themselves permission to take small steps every day.
“This keeps you from getting frustrated and giving up when things don’t happen as fast as you want.”
Duda Jadrijevic happens to take a more spiritual approach to goal-setting. The Buddhist transformational coach looks at the why of goal-setting to make it more meaningful.
“Why do you want what you want?” she asks.
“Because it will make you feel good. So what makes you feel good?”
Jadrijevic recommends creating a vision board of images that make you feel happy.
“This can be a house on the cliffs, a woman playing with money, a man romantically holding a woman in the sea, a woman overlooking the sea, writing on her laptop,” Jadrijevic says.
“These images reflect the feeling that you want to get from your goals.”
“Write a list of all your achievements so far. You will get surprised at how much you have already have.
“It will also remind you of the fact that you don’t owe anything to anyone, only to yourself.
“Then you approach to create a list of what you want to achieve in 2017.
“Only after acknowledging what you have done, can you genuinely and realistically create a list of things you want to achieve and your why will change.”