Forget New Year’s Resolutions: Just Start By Doing Something

We’ve all made New Year’s resolutions – commitments to achieve certain goals or reform an habit or make changes in our personal or professional lives. Some of the most popular goals are:

  • Improve well-being: lose weight, exercise more, eat better
  • Improve finances: get out of debt, save money, invest more wisely
  • Improve career: get a better job, get a promotion, make a career change
  • Improve education: get better grades or a specific degree or learn something new
  • Improve self: become more organized, reduce stress, manage time, be more independent

We Make Them But We Don’t Keep Them!

Recent studies show that while 52% of participants in a resolution study were confident of success with their goals, only 12% actually achieved their goals. A separate study by Richard Wiseman the University of Bristol showed that 78% of those who set New Year resolutions fail.

What Can We Do To Not Fail?

According to Jeff Haden in 21 Things That Beat New Year’s Resolutions the most important thing is to take action. Anything worth doing is worth declaring and doing now. He proposes 21 statements – each based on action – that can propel you to success. Here are five of them.

1. “I finally got started!”
You have plans. You have goals. You have ideas. Who cares? You have nothing until you actually do something. Every day, we let hesitation and uncertainty stop us from acting on our ideas. Just take one small step. The first step is by far the hardest. Every successive step will be a lot easier.

What is one goal you want to accomplish in 20123? What one small step can you take right now – not tomorrow or next week or when you up to it?

2. “I’ll show you.”
For some people getting angry, rejected or ignored fuels their motivation to do whatever it takes to prove that person wrong and, more importantly, achieve what they want to achieve. It may seem childish or stupid or whatever but it works. It will help shake you out of your rut.

What one thing that is making you angry or frustrated or needing to set the record straight or whatever?

3. “Can you help me?”
Asking someone for help instantly recognizes their skills and values and conveys your respect and admiration. That’s reason enough to ask someone to help you. The fact you will get the help you need is icing on the achievement cake.

Who can you ask for help to move you forward? The help could be something big or small. What can you do for that person?

4. “Yes.”
You’re busy. Your plate is full. There are plenty of reasons to sit tight, stay safe, keep things as they are. But that also means tomorrow will be just like today. Say yes to something different. Say yes to something scary. Say yes to the opportunity you’re most afraid of. When you say yes, you’re really saying, “I trust myself.”

What can or should you say “yes” to? What’s stopping you from saying “yes”?

5. “No.”
Still, you can’t do everything. You can’t help everyone. You may want to but you can’t. Sometimes you just need to say no to a favor, to a request, to a family member. Sometimes you really need to be able to focus on what is important to you. When your heart is in the right place and what you accomplish by spending more time on your goals will eventually benefit other people too.

What can or should you say “no” to? Are you OK with saying “no”?

Smart Moves Tip:

Every statement listed above is based on an action–an action you’re probably not taking. That’s why, knocking these off, could pay greater dividends than almost anything currently on your to-do list. And each is a lot easier to accomplish than some grand, sweeping, hopefully-life-changing-but-in-the-end-you-never-manage-to-accomplish New Year’s resolution.


Marcia Zidle
Marcia Zidle
Marcia Zidle, The Smart Moves Coach, is a national known board certified coach and keynote leadership speaker who guides organizations that are planning, or in the midst of, ambitious growth and change. As a career strategist, she works with professionals, managers and executives who want to build • shape • brand • change • vitalize their careers. She’s been selected by LinkedIn’s ProFinder as one of the best coaches for 2016!Her clients range from private owned businesses to mid-market companies to professional service firms to NGO’s. With 25 years of management, business consulting and international experience, she brings an expertise in executive and team leadership; employee engagement and innovation; personal and organization change; career building and development; emotional and social intelligence. Your Future Starts Now With Marcia!

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