Out with the old, in with the new. Learn how to effectively tackle your plans for next year.


Melanie Stevenson

The New Year inevitably breeds resolutions. Like ’em or not, we are all guilty of making them. Many of these so-called resolutions are unachievable and by creating them we pile unnecessary pressure on ourselves, often without even knowing it.

Psychologists have found we’re more likely to succeed if we break our goals into smaller goals that are specific, measurable and time-based.

Here are five New Year’s resolutions to avoid…

  1. Resolutions
    The whole concept of setting New Year’s resolutions is flawed because they don’t work. Research shows that of all of us who set New Year resolutions just eight per cent of us actually see our plans come to fruition1. The fact that most New Year’s resolutions are ineffective is no excuse to lose ambition altogether. It simply means you need a new approach to goal setting. Abandon the concept of resolutions and start setting goals. The term ‘resolution’ conjures up negativity and it encourages you to focus on problems. Setting goals is a much more positive approach. Goals encourage improvement, progression and optimism – and that’s what sets you up for success.
  2. This year I can’t/won’t eat [insert food here]

    It will be difficult to turn this resolution into a reality. Rather than focusing on what you can’t eat, why not focus on what you do eat. Keeping a food journal is a great way to make yourself accountable for what goes into your mouth and encourage healthy eating.

  3. I am going to lose 20 pounds

    The bathroom scales say nothing about your health. Instead of focusing on the number, put your time and energy into healthy behavior. Improve your diet, move more often and get a good night’s rest. This will improve your health and the way you feel. You may lose some weight but more importantly, you will feel amazing.

  4. I am going to work out every single day

    Rather than burning yourself out in the first two weeks and doing nothing for the remainder of the month, focus on making small sustainable changes, one at a time, and build on your achievements. If you work out at the gym for one hour this week, strive for two or three sessions the following week. If you are starting out on your fitness journey, check out the SMART START guide to make sure you’re set up for success.

  5. Setting unrealistic goals.

    Be realistic about your life and articulate goals that you can live with and achieve. For example, if your goal is to run a marathon, it is unrealistic to sign up for one next month if you can’t even run to the end of the street and back. Perhaps look at a half marathon later in the year giving yourself plenty of time to train sensibly.


1) J.C. Norcross, University of Scranton. Journal of Clinical Psychology

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