Why do so many people set themselves goals in January?

The new year is a great excuse to start over, and to forget about the things that you did not achieve in the previous 12 months.   It’s also nice to have something positive to focus on.

What are the typical things that people are optimistic about when setting goals?

Most people think about getting thinner, fitter, healthier and wealthier and start off with great enthusiasm.  The trouble is it’s difficult to focus on many things at once and when they don’t start getting the results they want that’s when many people give up.

How can we avoid giving up?

Set only one or two goals at the start of the year and take a small action every day towards moving that goal forwards.  As you begin to see results, this generates motivation.  The word itself is about having a motive to take action and that’s what you have when you begin to see results.

What if you have a bad day?

If you have a day when you don’t take an action or you do something that takes you potentially backwards (like eating a cream cake when you want to be eating healthily) then don’t beat yourself up about it.  The most important thing is to acknowledge the blip and carry on the following day.  It’s not an excuse to stop altogether.  If you find yourself being pleased that you can give up, you are likely to have set yourself the wrong goal in the first place.

Are New Years resolutions a good idea?

It’s always a good idea to go through the process of making some resolutions.  First it forces you to use your brain which may have hibernated during the Christmas break. Secondly, it gives you a focus for the start of another year.  The biggest challenge is then remembering what that resolution was at the end of the following year so that you can reflect on whether it was achieved or not.  Write it down somewhere that you will remember so that you can surprise yourself at the end of the year!

Any other tips?

Make sure you set yourself a positive goal or resolution.  If you focus on “not getting fat” then guess what you are thinking about (getting fat) your brain ignores the “not”.  So think about the wording of your resolution and change it to a more positive phrase e.g. “feeling thinner”.