New year, new you, right? Well, that’s what all those weight loss and health equipment adverts on TV tell us anyway. Truth is 80-90% of New Year’s resolutions or goals, end in failure. So how can we be successful in reaching our goals?

I don’t know about you but I have never felt less like making New Year’s resolution and goals or fighting to implement change in my life. While 2020 was still full of many beautiful moments and positives things for our family, there is no denying it was tiring. I felt like I fought all year the try keep things as ‘normal’ as possible and on track. And truth be told I’ve gotten into bad habits that I really would like to change- there’s too much coffee and sleeping in, and too little socialisation and vegetable consumption in my life. 

Jon Acuff in his book ‘Start: Punch fear in the face, escape average and do work that matters’ points out that ironically it’s the fear of failure that often leads us to fail. If we can’t do it perfectly we’ll give up, or worse still, not even try. 

“This is the first lie that perfectionism tells you about goals: Quit if it isn’t perfect” – Jon Acuff

Start Small

Jon suggests thinking about your goals, pick one and then cutting it in half.  For example- if you wanted to exercise 4 times a week, readjust and aim for 2 sessions a week. Start small, and build momentum. Celebrate the little steps along the way. 

You don’t have to declutter your whole house in a week. Just try 10 min a day. Every 10 minutes spent on the goal is progress. We can all find 10 minutes, right? 

Add fun

Jon also suggests adding an element of fun to our goal. He commissioned a 6 month study that found people who made their goal fun were 46% more successful. So if you hate running, please don’t choose that as your way to exercise. Instead, maybe take a class with a friend, or just pump the tunes and dance in your lounge room. Goals don’t have to be all hard slog.

Start whenever

The good news is it doesn’t have to be January 1st, or the first of any month or even the first day of the week to start a change. You can decide to start towards your goal on a random Wednesday afternoon in March. There are no rules. 

Research says it takes at least 66 days to build new habits, so be patient with yourself. Break your streak, or miss a few days, don’t worry, just pick it back up and keep moving forward.

Remove obstacles

Work out what helps you with your goals, and what holds you back. Work to remove at least one hurdle that holds you back from achieving your goal. Preplanning can help you be more successful, whatever your goal is. Depending on your goal, removing an obstacle may look like: 

  • Meal planning
  • Organising to carpool
  • Get your workout clothes out the night before 
  • Put time limits on certain apps
  • Tidying your kitchen before going to bed
  • Plan an activity to occupy your children so you have 15 minutes uninterrupted to work on your goal
  • Hiring a baby sitter for a few hours

Sharing is caring

Sharing your goal with a friend who can encourage you, celebrate or sympathise with you. This can also be a great way to keep accountable when you are finding your goal tough. There are even many online groups dedicated to mutual cheering as you each work toward your goals. 

Believe in yourself. Be kind to yourself. You may not be able to run a marathon today, but you can take a walk around the block. You can’t write an entire book today, but you can spend 10 minutes practising your writing skills. Even one step in the right direction is progress.


Kelly McCrohan

MOPS Blog Administrator

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