Forget New Year’s Resolutions

As the end of one year closes and another opens, people begin to make plans and resolutions for the new year. You know the sort of thing…this is the year I will lose weight, travel to Australia, stop eating chocolate, start exercising…you may have one or two of your own 😉. 

The reality is most of them simply do not happen – sound familiar?, and it’s the reason you can forget New Year Resolutions.

For most people goals or resolutions are about behaviours. They believe when they change their behaviours they will reach their goals. In theory this makes sense and sometimes it works.

Some people do stick to New Year’s resolutions and lose weight, take up running and successfully change their job though most people don’t. They get distracted, stop making the effort and slip back into their old ways. Nothing sticks and changes. Changing only their behaviours isn’t enough to make successful and sustained changes.

People fail to reach their goals because they are setting an outcome goal rather than an identity goal. Your identity is the beliefs and values you have and are reflected, either consciously or subconsciously, through your behaviours.

If you believe you aren’t great at exercising or that exercise has to be hard work or that exercise is boring and decide you want to start exercising you may feel more committed this time round though your belief about you and exercise hasn’t actually changed!

Identity goals are who you want to be. Outcomes goals are what you want to achieve.

When you set an outcome goal you aren’t changing the beliefs or expectations you have about yourself and take the actions you always have even if you make a few tweaks. You are trying to change your outcomes without changing the source that creates your behaviour in the first place! Think of it as changing the symptoms without changing the cause of them.

Change your Identity and your behaviours and outcomes change!

Successful and sustained goals happen when you make conscious changes about your identity, who you want to ‘be’, and then your behaviours to become that person.

Who do you want to be? Here are some examples. Let me know what you come up with.

Identity Goal



Be a runner Run/walk for 5 minutes each day this week Running regularly
Be a writer Write for a paragraph every morning Writing daily
Be an entrepreneur Turn off my email alerts More focus
Be a better partner Actually listen when they speak More connection
Be healthier Eat one less biscuit each day Your weight is reducing


Keep the Chain Going

There’s also another reason setting goals in January may fail. Its the time when our energy levels are at their lowest throughout the year and adding extra can feel overwhelming. Waiting until March can make a difference to your commitment and creativity.

Talking about looking forwards in 2023, your expectations are powerful and I’ve really been enjoying listening on BBC Sounds to the series, and then reading David Robson’s book, The Expectation Effect. I recommend it highly. It could make quite a difference to your 2023!

By the way, currently I’m writing an online Goals Board course which goes live in March 2023 and will be running a ‘one off’ workshop the same month with me guiding you through creating your own Goals Board. Let me know if you’d like details.

Till next time…

Martin Feaver signature