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New Year's resolutions: Marmite or Spinach?

New Year’s resolutions are like Marmite- you either love them or you hate them. They are also like spinach- powerful and effective.

Ok, so we probably won't get a call from New Year's resolutions to be their new publicist...but we stand by the point.

New Year’s resolutions provide you with the opportunity to reflect, start fresh, set goals, and develop a plan to achieve your goals. Here's a guide to help you make the most of the opportunity:

Set Goals

The research shows that we achieve more when we have clear goals. So, if you want to have a (more) successful year, then you should set goals. It focuses the mind and, when needed, provides a virtual tap to keep you on task. The key to this process is to focus on the journey, not the destination. The reality is, if you achieve your goal, you will set a new one. If you don’t achieve it, you still accomplished plenty along the way.

How to manage goaling

You should do your best to set goals that are challenging, but achievable. It also helps to break down a bigger goal into smaller parts. For example, an annual target will seem massive, making it hard to feel like you’re progressing. Smaller sub-goals generate momentum, which is key to keeping a positive mindset and motivation.

Develop a plan

The best plans are a balance of tangible and flexible. A common tactic I like is to set weekly goals based on 5 days. This gives you the flexibility to miss 2 days in the week and still hit your targets. You can still do 7 days, but 5 means success. I also like the “freebie”- this is when you overachieve one day and allow yourself to indulge in taking the freebie another day. For example, if your goal is to walk 15 minutes a day and you do 20, then you give yourself the right to walk 10 another day. This helps keep you balanced in your pursuit of your goals.

Start Fresh

We are getting to the section that people find harder, but if you master will supercharge your efforts. Human beings tend to find ways to make ourselves feel guilty about the past. The past is useful to the degree that we learn from it and apply the learnings to the future. Give yourself permission to let go of anything that frustrates you about the past. Use this opportunity to create a fresh start.


It can be hard in the modern world to stop and reflect. However, taking this time will pay dividends. It allows you to think about where you are, refine your goals, and prioritise what you want to focus on. It increases the likelihood that you are content with your efforts at the end of the year.

Lastly, it is worth tracking your goals and reviewing them periodically throughout the year and at the end of the year (or when you redo the process next year). This places a level of accountability and it gives you a chance to feel good about your accomplishments. It is rare to review your year and not find things that make you proud.


There are plenty of reasons to dislike or avoid New Year’s resolutions. However, the process is a powerful tool to review what you’ve done to date and set yourself up to achieve even more this year. Take advantage of the opportunity.

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