How to Create New Year’s Resolutions for Success

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What’s your New Year’s resolution? A topic of conversation that will challenge us for at least the ext month. Either at Christmas office parties, around the smoke of a BBQ or over a coffee at our local café, we will discuss our dreams for next year. Health, money, freedom or even companionship; the dreams will be vivid and inspiring. Despite the epic storytelling, only about 50% of us actually set New Year’s Resolution[1]. The reason why so many of us may not set New Year’s Resolutions maybe because we have well-formed habits around creating our future success; however, it is far more likely that only half of us set New Year’s Resolutions because we already know what the outcome will be. Despite the story telling during December and early January, the discussion will end by the time Australia Day has arrived. We stop talking about New Year’s resolutions so as not to highlight to anyone that our dream has been drowned out with the busyness of ‘normal’ life. In fact, only 12% of people who set New Year’s Resolutions will create success[2]. Luckily, you can achieve your New Year’s Resolution and maintain the momentum throughout the year. You can train yourself to identify where you want to be in your life and push through resistance to achieve it. You can form habits that support your success and keep you on track, regardless of the time of year. Oscar Wild said, “Success is a science; if you have the conditions, you get the result.”

Here is a 5-step strategy to set New Year’s Resolutions that will create the conditions for success in your life:

  1. Dream Big. Utilize all faculties of the mind to create a clear picture of your future. See it, hear it and feel it. Elbert Einstein once said, “What appears on the screen of your mind is a preview of coming attractions.” Now that you have that vision, ask yourself: How will you know that you have achieved this goal? Be specific in terms of what you want to achieve. Setting a vision for the future is just as critical when things are going wrong as they are going right. Oscar Wild once said, “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking to the stars”. Remind yourself of this goal daily and what it will be like once you have achieved it; you might like to make a vision board of what the new future would look like.
  2. Focus on others. People who set goals that are focused on helping others are said to be more ‘intrinsically motivated’. Zig Ziglar once said, “If you want to achieve your goals, help others achieve their goals”. Focus your vision on how your new future will help others.
  3. Know what you’re in for. Often we set goals that aren’t congruent to who we are, or we haven’t fully considered the consequences. For example, additional responsibility at work may come with greater income, but may also have increased stress and require more time at work. You need to fully consider the impact before committing to your goal. Once you’ve committed to the goal and know what you’re up for, prepare for the fight! Stepping outside of your comfort zone isn’t easy. It takes discipline and hard work to step outside of your comfort zone; through discipline, determination and persistence you will set the conditions for success.
  4. Action plans. Write the goals down and develop a daily action plan to support your achievements. As William James once said, “Little by little we build our power”. A study undertaken with an MBA program from Harvard in 1979 showed that 10 years after graduation only 3% had goals and an action plan and yet they were earning 10 times that of the remainder of their average peer group[3]. Allocate time each afternoon to plan for the next day. List the top three actions you need to do the next day that will have the most impact and be the most critical to achieving your goals. As Bruce Lee once said, “Simplicity is the key to Brilliance”.
  5. Stay excited. It doesn’t matter if you don’t achieve your goal by the time frame you originally set or to the standard you expected. The key is to maintain an excited, determined and expectant mindset. Those who are continually pushing at the boundaries of their comfort zone should accept that they may not initially succeed. Take courage from Thomas Edison when he explained why he had not invented the light bulb, yet said, “I have not failed, I’ve just found 10,000 ways that it will not work”. Take the time to celebrate every win, regardless of how minor. Every win is an opportunity for us to build our self-confidence and we can learn more about setting conditions for our future success by learning from our past successes.

A New Year creates an opportunity for a new chapter to be created in our lives and the impetus we need to create the conditions for our success. Walt Disney once said, “All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them”. Take this opportunity to create your future and be awesome in everything you do.

Clint Seares is a performance coach at the Manly Yoga Collective where he will be presenting on this subject on 4 December at 1930. Further information is available at or





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