Why do we make New Year’s resolutions?

Accomplish your New Year’s resolution with some inspiration and a plan!

I haven’t come across many people who have succeeded in carrying out their New Year’s resolutions past the first week or two. Of course, we always set out with the best of intentions. Yet, no matter how hard we try, some unexplained force in nature tempts us to deviate from what we’ve committed to do—and then the guilt sets in and things spiral downhill.

What is it that causes us to break our New Year’s resolutions? Well, it could be many things such as a lack of energy, limited time, no support system, goals that do not meet the SMART criteria (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound), an environment that provides too much temptation, and the list goes on. As a career coach, I’ve watched countless clients meet their goals with tremendous enthusiasm and success when they fully and wholeheartedly commit to and invest in the coaching process. So, rather than talk about the reasons why we fail, let’s take a coaching approach/perspective and ask a positive, productive question. Let’s figure out how we can succeed in our goals past January 15 and way beyond this year!

What is it really about the coaching process that helps individuals to attain their objectives (read: New Year’s resolutions)?  The International Coach Federation (ICF) defines coaching as “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.” Coaches commit to providing a safe space for self-reflection and open and honest dialogue while ensuring confidentiality. We use a variety of tools and methods that often includes powerful questioning, mindfulness activities, and action planning. Coaches not only serve as your cheerleader, encouraging you along the way, but are also there to challenge you, help you look at different perspectives, and hold you accountable for what you say you are going to do. We ultimately partner with you to help you identify that intrinsic motivator—that inspiration—that comes from within and makes you want to move forward and get to that result!

Let’s say that you’re in a coaching session and you tell your coach that on a scale of 1 to 10, you’re a 10 in terms of being committed to finding a new, fulfilling career that makes you want to jump out of bed every morning. The problem is, you don’t know where to begin. Your coach will likely partner with you to help you set up an action plan to get there one step at a time. The plan might include a series of short-term goals that you can take to make progress toward that ultimate objective. In addition, your coach will likely check in with you between sessions, see how you’re doing, and encourage your continued success. When you get stuck along the way, your coach will challenge you to explore why and help you set up a plan to overcome the road block.

As the year ends, and as you think about and commit to your New Year’s resolutions for 2019, I challenge you to take one additional step. I challenge you to leverage concepts from the coaching process to help you succeed. If you could benefit from additional support, the coaching staff at Goose Creek Consulting is always here to help. Let’s all be champions in achieving our New Year’s resolutions!

Lisa Krull is a Career and Leadership Coach at Goose Creek Consulting in Centreville, VA. Contact her at lisa@goosecreekconsulting.com or 703-574-6271.

(Did you know that the tradition of New Year’s resolutions on January 1 began during the reign of Caesar, way back in 49 B.C.? If you want to learn more, The Washington Post shed light on the tradition in a KidsPost article by Howard Bennett titled “Why do we make New Year’s resolutions?” originally published in 2012.)