30/12/2013 10:06 GMT | Updated 01/03/2014 05:59 GMT

Why New Year's Resolutions Fail - And How to Fix Them

So you're fed up of your wobbly bits, your two-day hangovers and spending your time looking at Facebook photos of what other people had for dinner. Time to get serious about changing your life. You scribble down your New Years Resolutions, promising yourself that 2014 will be the year of the New Improved You. 2013-12-30-newyearsresolutions.jpg

Come January 1st you are determined that all your bad habits will be banished into the realms of pop socks and mullets - the past. Yet a few weeks into January, you're fed up of celery, you crave a Pinot Grigio and you're desperate to know what culinary delights your mates are cooking up.

All of a sudden, you find yourself wine in one hand, Twix in the other, and wondering just how your Auntie Marge gets her potatoes looking so crispy. So what have you done wrong? Why have all your best intentions gone the same way as, let's face it, last year's New Years Resolutions?

Here are some common mistakes people make with New Years Resolutions and how to fix them:

  • Non-specific goals: It's all very well saying you want to lose weight, but how much weight do you want to lose? And by when? Giving yourself a specific and realistic target means you have something to aim for and a standard to measure your progress against.
  • No plan: You wouldn't go on holiday without researching where you want to go, budgeting and making the relevant bookings, so why approach changing something as serious as your life without making a plan? Step-by-step plans make it much more likely that you will achieve your goals. You can maintain motivation by setting mini-goals along the way.
  • Untailored plans: If you want to lose weight but the thought of being among a load of sweaty people bores you silly, why on earth would you decide that going to the gym is the only way? Make a plan that you can stick to. Make it as enjoyable as possible and something that will fit in with your life and your personality.
  • Avoidance goals: There is nothing wrong with deciding you want to stop drinking or eating chocolate, but if you make resolutions about things you want to avoid or stop, how will you know when you've achieved them? Figure in ways to reward yourself for stopping something - and ways to periodically measure your success. Check in weekly or monthly to see how you not doing something is having a positive impact on your life.
  • Not keeping the end in mind: One of the main reasons people give in to bad habits and temptations is that they are looking at the short-term rewards of doing so. Think longer-term. Remind yourself of the bigger purpose of your goal. Getting healthy is never about being lighter on the scales, it's about building your self-esteem, having more confidence and extending your life.
  • No accountability: If you're determined to reach your goals, it really helps to have someone to keep you accountable. Someone to motivate and validate you, such as an accountability buddy or a Life Coach, can help you stay on track.
  • No compassion: Changing your life is not a punishment - it's an opportunity. Don't beat yourself up if you stumble a little along the way; just take the lesson and redouble your efforts. You are more likely to achieve your goals if you cheer-lead yourself rather than criticise.

Happy 2014!