The new year is upon us!

Being a personal trainer I’m looking forward to January, it’s always a busy time for me, meeting new people, who have set new goals and really trying to help them improve.

Many people set New Year resolutions, what do you think the percentage is of people who succeed with their goals?

I would say it probably isn’t an impressive statistic.

‘Talk is cheap, walk the walk this new year’

What I’m saying here is it is all well and good setting your new year resolutions but that is the easy part, it’s committing to it 100% which is the difficult part, this is why so many people fail.

Planning on making a change is a positive step, it shows that you see there is a problem somewhere and you intend to improve on this. So you’ve made a good start, now you need to take action.

Some goals may be easier than others but I’m just going to talk about why I believe so many people fail with their New Year goals:

1. Poor goal setting – Setting an unrealistic goal is the worst start you can make really; you will fail pretty early on and struggle to keep going. It is vital that if you do want to achieve something that you set a very specific goal and that it is achievable. Setting a goal of ‘lose weight’ is a useless goal really, you could pig out for ten months put on a stone then be good for the last two months and lose a stone and one pound and you’ve achieved your goal.

Losing weight is a good goal because weight loss, in particular fat loss is a great way to improve your health. What I am trying to say is you need to plan exactly how much weight you are planning on losing and when.

2. Focusing too much on the end point – People can become over focused on getting to that end point that the pressure can become too much. By breaking up your full goal into many little ones can keep yourself motivated throughout as well as being able to see how you are progressing. So back to the weight loss example again, rather than focusing too much on losing 30 pounds in 2013, aim to lose 5 pounds every two months.

3. Not allowing for second chances – I think this is maybe the most important one. So many people allow themselves just one chance, if you have set yourself the goal of stopping drinking in 2013 or at least reducing your alcohol intake then you shouldn’t quit at the first blip. If you have had a moment of weakness and had a pint or two one evening don’t give up there and then. It is a lot better to have just had this temporary blip and then continue with cutting out alcohol than to go back to your old ways for the rest of the year due to that lapse.

If you have set goals in the past and have failed I’m fairly confident that you failed due to some of the reasons above. I myself have as well!

Just remember when planning a behaviour change be 100% clear on what you want and why you would like to change. Focus on all of the many benefits that achieving this behaviour change will have on your life and remind yourself every day.

Maybe even try setting yourself a consequence for failing as extra motivation, take your friends out for a meal on you if you fail! I’m sure your friends will love that idea which will mean extra support for you.

So I hope this article has helped you, don’t make resolutions for the sake of it, find something which is holding you back from reaching your full potential and work on it.

Remember talk is cheap; walking the walk is the challenge.

To a prosperous year,

Richard Clarke

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