Setting Successful Goals: Why New Year Resolutions Fail?

  • Lose weight
  • Get organized
  • Get a better job
  • Learn something new
  • Save money
  • Manage stress
  • Enjoy life
  • Volunteer
  • Get fit  
  • Quit smoking/drinking

These are the top ten New Year resolutions on Google. If this reads like your list of broken vows, don’t worry. Amazingly, these are also the top ten commonly broken New Year resolutions!

We have all set New Year resolutions to achieve goals important to us, struggled a bit to keep our promises and then lapsed back into our old habits. We may succeed with a few resolutions but most others are abandoned to failure.

There are many reasons why we fail to achieve the goals we so enthusiastically set for ourselves at New Year - you may have chosen goals which are wrong for you, you may not be adequately motivated, you may not have the resources to pursue them or the support to tackle obstacles which come in your way.

Setting successful goals is an art. While researching best ways to make successful New Year resolutions, I came across the Financial Times’ list of achievers: Women of 2014. What I learned from their extraordinary achievements is that each one of us can achieve our goals if we take the right steps. Here are five simple ways to make your New Year resolutions satisfying and achievable.

Power of Context

Standalone goals are weak. Clarifying your life purposes, core values and personal visions gives the power of context to your goals. Anti-globalisation activist Naomi Klein, Ebola campaigner Joanne Liu and journalist-filmmaker Laura Poitras are notable for doing work they are deeply passionate about. It takes awareness and courage to choose goals meaningful to you.

Power of Commitment

Choosing personally meaningful goals generates the power of commitment to pursue your goals. An extreme example which illustrates this point well is the women fighters of YPJ, the Syrian Kurdish Women’s Protection Units defending themselves and their nation. To quote FT, they have become a “rare symbol of female empowerment in a conservative region – and a stark contrast to a group taking female captives as slaves.” It is by the power of commitment to their causes that these women are silently smashing glass ceilings.

Power of Persistence

Commitment to meaningful goals creates the power of persistence to overcome the inevitable obstacles. Tennis superstar Grand Slam winner, Li Na, who was forced to retire because of her injuries, says her injuries only increase her pride in her achievements. “I am proud that I was able to overcome many obstacles, including my knee injuries. People don’t realize how hard it is to play at the highest levels when you are injured. I am proud of my fighting spirit.”

Power of Support

You don’t need Olympic-sized goals to require Olympic size fighting spirit. Our everyday lives offer many challenging goals such as making more time for family or staying on top at work. Whether you have a supportive environment decides whether you succeed or fail.

Arundhati Bhattcharya, first woman to chair State Bank of India, the largest bank in India, talks about the critical role her friends, colleagues and family played in her success. She says she almost quit her job when she was offered a position which entailed travel and time away from her family. “You are considered the primary care giver in any situation. That pressure is extra in India.” She adds, a colleague talked her out of quitting, “while support from family and friends at the bank helped to smooth out the worst of the move.”

Power of Dispassion

Have a balance of passion and dispassionin your goal strategy to prevent burnout. Use the power of your passion to set and pursue action goals; use the power of dispassion to wait patiently for your outcome goals to fructify.

For example, you may set your Outcome goal of losing ten pounds of weight or getting a new job next year. Chalk out your Action goals, such as exercising 30 minutes 4 times a week or devoting two hours to job search every week. Commit to your Action goals and dispassionately surrender your Outcome goals. Dispassion gives you the power of wisdom to pause, review and reset goals and methods, if necessary.

If you plan to make resolutions this New Year, make sure that you  

  • Set goals Meaningful to you
  • Stay Committed to your goals
  • Persist when you face Obstacles
  • Get Support for your efforts
  • Balance passion with Dispassion     

Reaching any goal, big or small, is a challenging task. Your environment, your own inner critic, or habits of a lifetime may play saboteurs. It requires 360 degree effort and support to succeed. 

If you haven’t made a New Year resolution in January, don’t worry: The best time to make a vow is whenever you are ready

Neelambika Kasad
  • Lose weight
  • Get organized
  • Get a better job
  • Learn something new
  • Save money
  • Manage stress
  • Enjoy life
  • Volunteer
  • Get fit  
  • Quit smoking/drinking

These are the top ten New Year resolutions on Google. If this reads like your list of broken vows, don’t worry. Amazingly, these are also the top ten commonly broken New Year resolutions!

We have all set New Year resolutions to achieve goals important to us, struggled a bit to keep our promises and then lapsed back into our old habits. We may succeed with a few resolutions but most others are abandoned to failure.

There are many reasons why we fail to achieve the goals we so enthusiastically set for ourselves at New Year - you may have chosen goals which are wrong for you, you may not be adequately motivated, you may not have the resources to pursue them or the support to tackle obstacles which come in your way.

Setting successful goals is an art. While researching best ways to make successful New Year resolutions, I came across the Financial Times’ list of achievers: Women of 2014. What I learned from their extraordinary achievements is that each one of us can achieve our goals if we take the right steps. Here are five simple ways to make your New Year resolutions satisfying and achievable.

Power of Context

Standalone goals are weak. Clarifying your life purposes, core values and personal visions gives the power of context to your goals. Anti-globalisation activist Naomi Klein, Ebola campaigner Joanne Liu and journalist-filmmaker Laura Poitras are notable for doing work they are deeply passionate about. It takes awareness and courage to choose goals meaningful to you.

Power of Commitment

Choosing personally meaningful goals generates the power of commitment to pursue your goals. An extreme example which illustrates this point well is the women fighters of YPJ, the Syrian Kurdish Women’s Protection Units defending themselves and their nation. To quote FT, they have become a “rare symbol of female empowerment in a conservative region – and a stark contrast to a group taking female captives as slaves.” It is by the power of commitment to their causes that these women are silently smashing glass ceilings.

Power of Persistence

Commitment to meaningful goals creates the power of persistence to overcome the inevitable obstacles. Tennis superstar Grand Slam winner, Li Na, who was forced to retire because of her injuries, says her injuries only increase her pride in her achievements. “I am proud that I was able to overcome many obstacles, including my knee injuries. People don’t realize how hard it is to play at the highest levels when you are injured. I am proud of my fighting spirit.”

Power of Support

You don’t need Olympic-sized goals to require Olympic size fighting spirit. Our everyday lives offer many challenging goals such as making more time for family or staying on top at work. Whether you have a supportive environment decides whether you succeed or fail.

Arundhati Bhattcharya, first woman to chair State Bank of India, the largest bank in India, talks about the critical role her friends, colleagues and family played in her success. She says she almost quit her job when she was offered a position which entailed travel and time away from her family. “You are considered the primary care giver in any situation. That pressure is extra in India.” She adds, a colleague talked her out of quitting, “while support from family and friends at the bank helped to smooth out the worst of the move.”

Power of Dispassion

Have a balance of passion and dispassionin your goal strategy to prevent burnout. Use the power of your passion to set and pursue action goals; use the power of dispassion to wait patiently for your outcome goals to fructify.

For example, you may set your Outcome goal of losing ten pounds of weight or getting a new job next year. Chalk out your Action goals, such as exercising 30 minutes 4 times a week or devoting two hours to job search every week. Commit to your Action goals and dispassionately surrender your Outcome goals. Dispassion gives you the power of wisdom to pause, review and reset goals and methods, if necessary.

If you plan to make resolutions this New Year, make sure that you  

  • Set goals Meaningful to you
  • Stay Committed to your goals
  • Persist when you face Obstacles
  • Get Support for your efforts
  • Balance passion with Dispassion     

Reaching any goal, big or small, is a challenging task. Your environment, your own inner critic, or habits of a lifetime may play saboteurs. It requires 360 degree effort and support to succeed. 

If you haven’t made a New Year resolution in January, don’t worry: The best time to make a vow is whenever you are ready

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