Most people look at the beginning of the year as a chance to change their lives, However, I have seen that at least 50% of those who establish New Year’s Resolutions or Big Goals for the New Year fail.

Reasons are that people are putting so much pressure on themselves to make New Year’s Resolutions or believe their lives will change at the stroke of midnight. Such extreme pressure sets your up for failing. Most people are in a fog from the holidays on January 1st that they don’t even think about starting because they are tired or stressed.

For example, I had a client who for a couple years in a row said he was going to stop smoking for the New Year. He never did because he really felt pressure and in his heart really did not want to stop. This is so common to make such grand choices because people feel they are expected to make choices such as losing weight, stop smoking or other
habits that they really don’t think about much the rest of the year.

How you can increase the likelihood of keeping a resolution or a new habit?

Whether is a New Year’s Resolution or setting goals, people are more likely to success if they just take the time at the end of the year or when they are goal-setting to reflect. People should reflect on the past year or recent month to get a baseline or reference point on what they have been doing with their life and where they are at right now.

Asking ‘heart-felt: questions are the key.

You must reflect before you make your choices.
1. Write down what you have done this last year.

Do these for different areas of your life such as work, relationships and self (self-care).

2. Ask yourself: What is missing in my life?

What have I not done yet?

3. Ask Yourself: What would I most like to have in my life right now?

Image or picture what you most want in your life.
How would I feel in the next few years if I have not pursued my dreams and goals?

Don’t be upset if you have negative thoughts or reactions, let ‘inspirational dissatisfaction’ motivate you.

The likelihood of making goals and developing a new habit are based on the questions what must be asked before goal setting. If you do not take the time to ask yourself these questions you are just shooting arrows in the dark at a target.

4. Goals:
After these questions than you are ready to make 2 to 4 goals.

Keep these tips in mind when you make your goals. To begin building new habits that support your goals or just wanting to make a change inhabits I suggest:

1. Start with small gradual moves or steps.

For example. if you want a new career or skills don’t quit your job to go back full-time to school, take one course for a start and see if you like it. Break the goal down to tangible parts.

2. Break free of excuses
What may sound as valid reason for not working on your goals and new habits are really ‘agony anchors’ that hold you back. These are feelings of fear of change.

I hear from clients that they are ‘too busy’, ‘I had no time this week’ and other self-pity statements. This is never empowering. I have clients get a calendar or put in the cell phone calendar the day or evening they will work on their new goals and habits.

Example: If it is to go to the gym, schedule it in your calendar. Pre-plan and make this appointment with yourself. I am amazed how crowded my gym is in January and have many people stop going by Feb, because they have allowed many ‘distractions” in their lives. Yes, things pop-up. If and when they do, immediately re-schedule your calendar when you will attend.

3. Don’t share your goals or some of them with people who will act critical. Only tell those who will encourage and support you.

To become happier and more confident -- avoid emotional vampires. Unhappy people allow “emotional vampires” to suck their positive feelings right out of their skulls. Emotional vampires include people who put you down, criticize or mock you, or sabotage your dreams and aspirations. Never let snipers or negative people shoot holes in your boat. These types of people drain the life out of you.

Take survey of your life by making a list of people and situations you expose yourself to. Then, discard or limit people, habits or situations that keep you from feeling optimistic and happy. In other words, ‘burn your bridges’ if needed.

I had a young client in her early 30’s who wanted to train to run a half-marathon. She was very excited. She told her mother what she was planning to do and her mother looked at her and said, “you can’t do that…” She was upset and learned very quickly this principal of enlisting those who are only positive and supportive.

Follow these tips and you will not only be successful in the New Year, you will feel happier and optimistic.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Mary Ann Mercer,is aPsychologist and co-founder of
She also is the co-author of self-improvement book including SPONTANEOUS OPTIMISM: Proven Strategies for Health, Prosperity & Happiness. She has appeared on National TV including…Oprah, Leeza Gibbons Show, Today In New York, Fox News, Fox On Health, Home & Family, Crook & Chase + many more. Dr. Mercer has frequently been quoted in magazines, newspapers & online publications, such as Cosmopolitan, Vogue, Fitness, Self, Shape, Woman's World, Washington Post, First for Women, Health, Complete Woman, National Enquirer, Wall Street Journal + many more.