Most people set some sort of New Year resolution, every year. And each and every year, they have usually given up by February. Sad isn’t it?! We start a new year with the best of intentions, new ideas, goals, and big hopes for the year ahead. But unfortunately we wake on New Year’s Day with an expectation of motivation for these wonderful changes, for the new you. But you get nothing. You wake feeling the same. Exactly the same as you felt yesterday.

new year resolution pin

The fact that it’s a new year means nothing to your tired, little body. You’ve just been to bed and woken up again. Your brain doesn’t care that it’s a new year, just that it’s a new day. And those habits we’ve had for years that we’ve promised to break are swiftly back in place, being regurgitated as they were yesterday and the day before that.

But how can we truly program our brains to make real, fundamental change that will have a positive impact on our lives? What’s the secret to setting and achieving a New Year resolution, instead of watching it waste into obscurity in the second month of the year?

False Starts

Tony Robbins says….

Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.


This is a super popular quote, used time and time again across the internet. But what it fails to capture is the rest of the story. So you got yourself a destination? Good for you! But like we’ve already said, that is just the beginning. It is not a magic wand which will magically turn you into a millionaire basking on a beach, or suddenly have you living in your dream home.

The reason why most people fail to complete or be successful at even one New Year resolution, (or goal setting in general), is because their goals are empty. There is no why. Essentially, without it, you’re off to a false start.

Without a reason your goals become empty vessels. They become easily forgotten, passionless and without gravity. For each and every goal you set for yourself, you need to attach two fundamental and emotional elements:

  • your why
  • your why not


Linking your resolutions or goals to a reason that hits you somewhere in your gut, on an emotional level is the next step. Your why needs to resonate with you and make something happen in your gut. Like lighting a fire under your butt; a real, “makes me wanna cry I’m so excited” reason.

Without that, it is unlikely that you will drive significant change because you have no “why”; No real reason to change. There is no primal instinct that is the “higher power” that you’ll turn to when it gets tough. And it will get tough, there is no doubt.

Why Not?

Your why nots are as important as your “why’s”. They’re like the other side of the wall. Without these, you’re on unstable ground to say the least. Now, this isn’t about being negative, certainly not. But it is about being realistic. Your why nots should be what will happen and/or how you will feel if you don’t meet your goal.

Thinking happy thoughts and driving toward those goals with an emotional attachment will give your entire goal more weight, more fibre. With a why not added to it, it’s like super charging those reasons and being chased by a monster toward your goal.

What do I mean?

As an example of what I mean, I am going to bare-all and give you a sneak peak into one of my goals. The way I structure the process is simple and I’ll share that with you too.

  1. Sit quietly with a blank piece of paper and write down your goals – don’t think about how you’ll get to them, just what you really want.
  2. When you’re done, annotate those goals with a single word or short sentence describing the emotions that you feel when you think about achieving that goal.
  3. Then add your why. Why do you want to achieve that specific goal? Where did it come from? Follow your thoughts back to the origin of the goal and question yourself.
  4. Now add your why nots. What will happen if you don’t meet that goal? How will it make you feel? What emotions does that bring up?

Go back, make sense of it and write it out. There’s your goals, your why’s and your why nots. There is your solid plan to achieving those goals! Transfer it to your planner and you’re on your way.

Now compare how you feel about your goals versus how you felt about them on 1st January. Different right?

One of mine is below for you to see how the process looks on paper:

Why Most People (including you) have Failed at your New Year Resolution

As you can see, the links that you make have to be completely personal in order to be impactful no matter how silly they seem. These are for you, not everyone else. What makes your heart sing or your stomach flip and therefore will be the driver of change for you?

Your goals need to be more than just a wish on a page; they need to create an emotional reaction that reminds you why you want to reach it, and what will happen if you don’t.

Don’t let this be Fail February! Tell me, are you going to pick back up your new year resolution and give it a why and why not? Let me know in the comments!