Wouldn’t it be convenient if your willpower and commitment to your new year’s resolutions rose with the sun on 1 January and stayed there for the rest of the year? Most of us would look like rockstars! But, for many, all that motivation has petered out by February.

Why are new year’s goals so ineffective? What can you do to improve your odds of success?

Why resolutions fail

According to the stats, about 45% of the American population makes new years’ resolutions every year, but only 8% of those achieve them. This is often a result of people:

• Not being ready to change their habits • Setting unrealistic goals • Setting goals others want them to achieve • Expecting the achievement of a goal to change their lives, and getting discouraged when it doesn’t

Improving your success

Making your 2017 resolutions work means changing your thinking. You can’t just think, ‘Stop smoking!’ because this relies on the existing neural pathways in your brain. You need to create new connections by reinforcing thoughts like ‘easy breathing’, ‘fresh-smelling breath’, and ‘a long, healthy life with my family’. Other ways of improving your success are:

• Setting one goal to focus on • Not waiting wait until New Year’s Eve to set a resolution • Taking small steps rather than trying to do too much at once • Celebrating your milestones – every step closer to your goal is a success • Focusing on new thoughts and behaviours • Focusing on today – what can you do right now towards your goal?

Now – or whenever

Yes, the first of January is a convenient date to start working on a new goal, but you need to be ready to make changes in your life for them to be effective. Don’t create a new year’s resolution just for the sake of it. If you want to make a change in your life, do it when you can achieve it.