Sue Maitland - Life Transitions Coach


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3 Reasons New Year’s Resolutions Fail (and what you can do about it)

It’s the start of a new year, full of promise.

You’ve set some goals for yourself – now it’s time to follow through.

Discover 3 BIG mistakes people make when setting New Year resolutions and what you can do about.

Mistake #1 – You’re not really committed

If you are going to follow through on your commitments, you need to be doing these things for yourself. If you’ve promised to give up smoking because your partner or your children want you to, it may not happen. Perhaps you have an upcoming event and you want to loose weight so others will notice, you may achieve your goal and then fall back into old eating patterns after the event.

What you can do about it: Think about the benefits to you personally in the things you want to do.(*) If you give up smoking, you’ll live a longer life, have more energy to do activities with others, be more social – you won’t need to leave an event to go outside for a smoke and you’ll feel better about yourself for having achieved this goal of improving your overall health and having more zest for life.

Mistake #2 – Your goals are unrealistic

While it’s good to stretch yourself a little when setting goals, however if they’re almost impossible to achieve, you’re setting yourself up for failure and that’s demotivating. Perhaps you’ve committed to working out at the gym 7 days a week to get full value out of your gym membership and rock your fitness goals. Maybe you’re planning to increase your income 300% in the next year and while this may be possible with luck and an excellent business and marketing plan, it can also be depressing if the $’s don’t show up in your bank account as projected.

What you can do about it: Set yourself a realistic goal that you know you can achieve in the first month and then adjust as you build confidence in your ability to follow through. Perhaps in month 1 you go to the gym twice a week. Pick the days and times that you know you can commit to. If this works, in month 2, you can try for 3 times a week. Slowly build until you have achieved a workable routine which you can commit to on a regular basis and then lock those times into your calendar. Remember very few people commit to working out 7 days per week – be sure to give yourself at least 1 day off.

Mistake #3 – Lack of accountability

It’s easy to tell yourself you’ll do certain things differently this year, but if you don’t share these plans with others you’re not as accountable for following through as you could be. When you declare your intentions, you’re much more likely to follow through because you know someone is going to call you on it if you don’t.

What you can do about it: Share your intentions for the coming year and ask others to support you in achieving your goals. Be sure to be selective about who you invite to support you – there may be people in your life who prefer to keep you where you are and may try to sabotage your plans. Find an accountability buddy who you can check in with on a regular basis, someone who will cheer you on and help you get back on track if necessary. Another good option is to plan to do activities with a group of friends – you’ll feel more committed to showing up.


You can start to make changes to your life at any point in the year. If you’ve already failed to follow through on some of your goals for the coming year, revisit them and re-set them based on the tips in this blog. If you’re ready for some really big changes in your personal or professional life, consider inviting me to be your professional coach. I just celebrated with a client who had a remarkably successful year. She worked with me at the start of the year to clarify her goals and I held her accountable for following through on the actions necessary to achieve them.

(*) I have developed an online tool that can help you get crystal clear on YOUR priorities for your life (not the priorities others would like to project onto you). When you build your resolutions around things you know are important to YOU, you’re much more likely to follow through. If you’re interested in learning more, go to my website and check out the What’s Important tab.

Sue Maitland PCC is a professional life and career transitions coach. She helps professionals around the world who are at a crossroads or are feeling stuck or unfulfilled, create inspiring new possibilities for their future. Learn more at .