New Year Resolutions? How’s that Workin’ for You?

Terri Levine

It’s mid-January, so I am wondering how everyone is doing with their resolutions? Are you on track? Are those promises long forgotten? Read Terri’s article today and let me know what you are going right now to keep your life moving forward. It’s 2012! Let’s make it the best year yet! – Tamara Patzer

By Terri Levine

Honestly, you can be setting yourself up to fail by making New Year resolutions!  We are our own worst critics and taskmasters, and nobody can make us feel more guilty for not keeping our word than ourselves.


We make New Year resolutions in all solemnity, determined that this year, this time, we will have the gumption to actually achieve them.  But things happen. We begin to procrastinate, because our goals are overwhelming… stressful… we find we’re out of our depth… the resolutions slip away… we hate ourselves, because once again, we have let the team down (ourselves). 

Then we begin with the negative self talk.  We berate ourselves for our failure to commit and achieve. Then this negativity flows on to every other area of our life, and before we know it, our entire year’s efforts are tarnished with the aftermath of these unachieved new year resolutions and our dreams of unrealistic perfection.

Okay, maybe that is a bit melodramatic… but it can and does happen.

Yes, the New Year is the perfect time for picking a date to start afresh. Every new year is a new chance to start afresh.  But you know what?  Every morning you wake up is also a new chance… a new opportunity to start afresh. You don’t have to restrict yourself to January 1st and consider yourself a failure if you “temporarily” gave up end of January, February or even March.

If there is one thing you should remember it is this: letting your new year resolutions lapse is okay… it’s getting up after you have fallen and persevering that matters.  All is not lost if you don’t start your resolution immediately, or if you stop in February, procrastinate all through March, start to feel guilty in April, but then  pull yourself up by the scruff of the neck in May and decide to start again on June 1st!  Starting again and not quitting makes the difference.

Actually, let’s make it easier on you.  Why call them resolutions?  Why not call them intentions? There is less overwhelm attached to the word intention. So, if you made New Year Resolutions, resolve now to change them to New Year intentions… do you feel better?  You should.  There are no deadlines hanging over you, no expectations.

Now, take your expectations and list them in order of priority.  Serious must-do’s at the top and would-like-to-if-I-can’s at the bottom.  Now I want you to be ruthless and cull the not-urgent’s and un-necessaries from this list.  For example, if you have set up home business as one of your “intentions”, that is a big enough goal on its own and you can cull the rest.  If you have quit smoking and lose weight on your list, keep them there together.  Although, there is nothing stopping you from achieving all three if all three of these intentions are on your list.  And you can achieve them all!


You might want to wait until next year if you also had things like “volunteer at the school canteen” and “learn to drive a tractor” (unless you live on a farm), or “learn to speak Nepalese”.  Know the difference between desires and needs or must-haves.


If you have more important things to achieve, don’t pressure yourself with the less important “wants” until you have time to consider them, otherwise you set yourself up for overwhelm and failure.


Next, take your top priority, your main goal, your main intention for the year, and break it down into mini goals.  What steps need to be taken in order to achieve that major goal?  Sometimes it is easier to start from the end and work backwards.  Imagine for a moment that you have achieved the goal, what did you do to get there?  List your steps, going backwards, until you find yourself at the beginning. Then you can see what you need to do to reach that goal.


The idea of splitting your major goal up into mini steps is you can work step by step towards the main objective and see and be motivated by your progress.  It is easier this way, much less stressful and overwhelming when you can see your accomplishments and actually see the achievement taking place before you.


For example, if your goal is to lose weight, break that down into steps/mini goals you can work towards.  For example you might join Weight Watchers.  That might be mini goal one.  Easy to achieve, right?  You sign up and follow the program. Next goal might be either join a gym or take your or the neighbor’s dog for a walk.  Another easy goal to achieve. Third might be see a dietician or follow the Weight Watcher’s diet and organize your grocery shopping accordingly.  So now you have a set weight loss program to help motivate you, an exercise regime, and a meal program to follow.  Do you not think you will lose weight going after these mini goals rather than just the “Lose weight” resolution you might have set yourself?  By the end of the year you will have lost weight… by splitting that major goal up into smaller, easier to follow and achieve steps.

You can do the same if you aim to balance more cleverly your work/life expectations, or if you are attempting to train for a new career.  Everything can be achieved and we can succeed more easily if we don’t expect the impossible from ourselves, and we are realistic about what should or should not be achievable within our set time span.

Thanks to modern technology, there is a lot of help on the internet that can help by providing the information we need to reach our mini and major goals.  Many of the world’s top experts in various fields offer free articles and how-to guides for the self-helpers. Just about any goal you can think of achieving is covered. And if you really can’t do it yourself, there are as many coaches for hire as there are goals who can help you on your path to success.

If you need help organizing and achieving your intentions, consider hiring a coach. They take the hard work out of achievement… and isn’t it nice to have your own personal cheering squad!


Terri LevineTerri Levine, The Business Mentoring Expert, specializes in helping entrepreneur-owned businesses achieve record breaking growth. Based in Philadelphia, Terri is founder and CEO or Comprehensive Coaching U, Inc., The Professional’s Coach Training Program. She has been featured on ABC, NBC, CNBC and MSNBC, and in more than 1,500 publications. She is the best-selling author of Sell Without Selling, Coaching is For Everyone, and Stop Managing Start Coaching. Learn more at Contact Terri at





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