Have you ever wondered why some people reach their goals and others don’t? What is their secret to success?

A study led by John C. Norcross reported that after 6 months only 46% of people are successful at their New Year resolutions when it comes to mostly three things: weight loss, an exercise program, or quitting smoking.* Another study led by psychologist Richard Wiseman from the University of Hertfordshire and his team asked 700 people about their goals and found that 78% of the people failed in their new year resolutions.** These statistics are substantially alarming. I can only imagine how many people right now in this moment are feeling a bit discouraged and asking themselves, “Now that I’ve made these resolutions, how in the world will I achieve them, and where do I begin?”

And there it is – the moment when doubt and fears show up, and the person is feeling at a loss. Does that sound familiar?

The new year has emerged and the New Year Resolutions have once again been declared by millions of people across the globe – for some it may be past resolutions unfulfilled and rolled over into another year in hopes that this is the year it will happen. As a coach I am here to say that there is no longer the need to say, “I don’t know how,” or “I made a resolution that I’m not sure will happen,” because there is another option. I will share with you two tips on how to finish the year and not become a statistic.

What story are you telling yourself?

If you look back at past resolutions from previous years, think about the resolutions you made and never fulfilled on. What mindset or story did you hold onto that didn’t align with the outcome you wanted? Telling yourself that you don’t know how or that you are unsure it will happen are obstacles that in fact holding you back. I invite you to first begin with considering what story or mindset you have around a situation. Before going the gym, before quitting smoking, or before setting out to lose weight, begin to think about and determine how you want to be around a specific situation. Do you tell yourself that you will reach your goal or that you are not sure if you can do it? Are you worried about what others may think? What kind of expectations are you setting for yourself? Are they high or low? How about ‘can’ versus ‘can’t’? These small subtle but very important distinctions can make a world of difference when it comes to reaching your goal. You may have discovered the perfect program or the perfect plan, but no matter how wonderful the resource or tool, the results will not happen unless your story supports what you intend to achieve. At any given moment you have the choice to BE a certain way when DOing an activity, so choose wisely. Really, the secret to success is to have the proper mindset. If fears and doubt continue to find a home in your mind, then it will eventually hold you back. Begin telling yourself a story that is empowering you, not setting yourself up for failure.

Biting more than you can chew

Sometimes we get excited about the new year and we begin to take on more than we can chew. How often have you made large promises and wasn’t able to keep them? Sudden changes in life can be challenging when an existing long-term habit has strong roots. Do you think you would be more successful if you start out with smaller sub-goals that lead to the bigger goal? Breaking down the large goal into smaller more manageable steps will increase the likelihood of reaching the final outcome you desire. For example, if you are looking to exercise 5 times per week when you are currently not on an exercise program, begin by making small changes in your habits and gradually increase the duration. Start the first 3 weeks with exercising 2 times per week, the fourth and fifth week increase to 3 times, and continue this sequence until you are successfully exercising 5 times per week. The key here is to make changes in your habits gradually until you meet the promise you made to yourself on a consistent basis to prevent set-backs.

How will YOU finish?

Begin today to shift the way you are viewing a situation and take small steps so that you finish the new year with a greater sense of accomplishment.

What would become available to you if you have a coach by your side? I coach people to get past their fears so that it no longer has a grip on them and we co-create a project design that will support their life goals. You are invited to schedule a 30-minute complimentary strategy session with me to learn more. Click here to schedule your session.


*Auld Lang Syne: Success predictors, change processes, and self-reported outcomes of New Year’s resolvers and nonresolvers, by John C. Norcross, Marci S. Mrykalo, Matthew D. Blagys , University of Scranton. Journal of Clinical Psychology, Volume 58, Issue 4 (2002)

** “ New year’s resolutions doomed to failure, say psychologists,” written by Guardian, UK correspondent: Ian Sample, December 28, 2009