So it’s nearly two weeks into 2016. What a year 2015 was! There were highs and lows as I am sure some of you have had too, but I hope that like me, you celebrated the highs and learned what you could during the lows, not letting them keep you down.

Well after a holiday period of way too much to eat and drink, many people start the New Year with what has become popularly known as New Year Resolutions. This invariably includes making a list of things that you will begin to do as well as things that you will try not to do any longer. Not surprisingly, weight loss and getting organised top the list of resolutions that people make. This list is usually inspired by a feeling of what we should be doing or as the case may be – not doing. Here’s where things start to go downhill very quickly – ‘shoulds’ and ‘ought tos’ never inspired anyone – for very long. Here’s why.

You are more likely to be inspired and motivated by focusing on what you really want, rather than what you have to do. It’s human nature.

The statistics for New Year resolutions are not encouraging. According to the University of Scranton Journal of Clinical Psychology December 2015:

Only 8% of people are successful in achieving their resolution
47% have infrequent success
39% in their twenty’s achieve their resolutions each year while only 14% in their fifty’s are successful
Only 46% of people maintain their resolutions beyond six months with 29% giving up after only two weeks.

It is not all bad news though. You are certainly better off making explicit New Year Resolutions than none at all. You are 10 times more likely to achieve your goals than those who don’t make those resolutions.

But there is a better way.

A way that is more effective and fun and has been proven to achieve results.

Here are some tips that encapsulate that alternative:

  1. Set specific goals that are inspired by the outcome you desire rather than what you feel you should or ought to do. Instead of just putting down “ lose weight”, how about “lose 1kg a week because I will not only feel fitter and healthier but look better.’
  2. Chunk down your goal into bite sized steps. Big goals can be overwhelming and lead to discouragement when you don’t achieve them. It helps to break the goal down and attach time frames to the steps.
  3. Write your goals down and put this somewhere that you will see it regularly. Some people call this a Vision board. You can have pictures that symbolize the end result you hope to achieve, encouraging quotes, steps to your destination etc. Anything that serves as a visual aid for where you are headed is helpful.
  4. Have a friend, family member or business partner hold you accountable for the action steps you have committed to. Report to them regularly and give them permission to be honest and firm when you fail to deliver.
  5. Review your goals regularly and change course when you need to. Goals are not meant to be rigid. You can adjust them if they no longer serve your purpose r you realize they are not realistic.
  6. Reward yourself for effort rather than just results. You are responsible for taking the actions – the results are not always predictable. Rewarding yourself increases your feeling of well being and motivates you to do more.
  7. Finally, get a Coach. The London Telegraph says this: Coaching can certainly help you strengthen your sense of self worth, focus on your goals – and get there fast.  Coaching also encapsulates the three key things that were mentioned in this study as being crucial in achieving ones goals – accountability, commitment and writing down one’s goals.

There, you have it. And if you want to read the original research by Dr Gail Matthews of the Dominican university of California, then click here.

Here’s to a year of adventure, success and living authentically like never before.