Rebecca went through the same pattern every December when challenged renew some of her goals for the New Year. They are pretty much the same like lose weight, get healthier, and sharpen her work skills, and revamp her career goals. By April, she putters out, and forgets the list she deemed plausible or achievable for a new beginning. The top goals of people are losing weight, saving more, have a relationship, make more family time, quit smoking and to remain healthy.

Sounds all too familiar, doesn’t it Rebecca is one of millions of people setting New Year goals—the University of Scranton found that only eight percent of people achieve their New Year’s resolutions. About 30 percent give it the college try, but fail. The Journal of Clinical Psychologyreported that it depends on the resolutions as gender or age had little influence.

“While type of resolution, age and gender did not predict success, the successful resolution-makers employed strategies such as stimulus control--for example, avoiding a smoky bar after resolving to quit smoking--and reinforcement, or behaviorally contingent rewards. Unsuccessful participants tended to use what Norcross terms "consciousness-raising strategies."

Some, for example, might have taped pictures of tar-blackened lungs to their office walls in an effort to kick the smoking habit.”

1. You want to lose weight, but setting a goal at 50 pounds is going to disappoint. Set small goals instead. Try losing one pound a week, instead of setting the goal at 50. Make small goals weekly like exercising, cutting back calories, and giving up junk foods. Psychology Today suggested Focus on one resolution, rather several and set realistic, specific goals. Losing weight is not a specific goal. Losing 10 pounds in 90 days would be.”

2. Smoking. Be mindful and live in the present. You can use this to quit smoking. If you are in smoking bar, and around people who smoke, this can sabotage your goals. Be mindful of the place you’re in, and do a self-check with the pros and cons about quitting. Quitting tobacco is a gift, not a sacrifice. Don't sabotage yourself by feeling sorry that you can't smoke. You are choosing not to smoke because you want to be free of this killer of an addiction. It's all in your perspective,” About Health shared.

3. “I am going to travel more this year. I mean it.” Cool, you should, but when you start thinking about the money, taking time off, and going to another country—the feelings subside. Once we feel it’s unattainable, we lose interest. Try a long weekend before going to South Africa, and work from there.

4. Looking to become more organized? Start with one room at a time, and make it a lifestyle change, not a resolution. When we fail, we are stumped and can’t think how to tackle our goals. “Once we fail we not only see our goals as harder to reach, we perceive ourselves as less capable of reaching them. Again, these are not accurate assessments but natural distortions that occur on an unconscious level. These two distortions have an additional impact,” Doctor Guy Winch wrote in his column on Psychology Today.

5. The goal to become a new you inside and out is nothing but blank statements to yourself. Unless you have a plan. Take action by taking the next step. This can be to write another chapter, work towards emotional and spiritual healing. Research what you want to do, and find the tools. Otherwise, you’re deceiving yourself. So plan, said Winch.

“Most failures are related to inadequate planning, poor preparation, and insufficient effort. Figure out what was lacking in your planning, how you can be better prepared in the future, and how and where you can invest more effort.”

These are ideas Rebecca and all of us can get behind. The first step is action, and make goals part of everyday life not just for the New Year.

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