Resolutions: How to Stick to the Plan

Yes, it’s that time of year again. People will be wishing you a ‘happy new year’ for the next two or three weeks and a fair few of you will be talking about (if not exactly making) their New Year’s resolutions. But, a resolution can be made at any time of the year, not just the beginning. Making one is easy; it’s sticking to it that’s the hard part. Hard, but not impossible, if you know what to do . . . 

A year ago (and it really doesn’t seem that long) I wrote a blog about developing high frustration tolerance (HFT) as a way of sticking to your guns (click here).

This year, however, I want to talk about SMART goals and, somewhat strangely, ‘but flipping.’ But, SMART goals first.

A SMART goal is one that is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic (or relevant) and Time bound.

A New Year’s resolution without a deadline is nothing but a dream, but a SMART goal is a dream with a deadline.

Saying “I want to lose weight” is a nice idea, but not a SMART goal. However, saying, “I want to lose 18 pounds by Saturday 10 March” is.  The dream keeps you talking, but not doing, whilst the goal has you coming up with a plan of action and then committing to it.

However, with the best will (and best SMART goal) in the world, people have a tendency to give up, which is where HFT and, for the purposes of this article, but flipping, come in.

Let’s say that as part of your weight loss plan, you are eating healthily and going to the gym. But, a lot of cakes and crisps are being passed around the office and, when you get home from work, you’re not feeling very energised. People typically say things such as.

“I want to lose weight, but those cakes are very tempting,” or, “I want to go to the gym, but I’m very tired.”

In both the sentences, the emphasis (and your focus) is on what comes after the ‘but’ (cakes are too tempting, so you have one; you are too tired to go to the gym).

So, flip those buts, like so: “Those cakes are very tempting, but I want to lose weight,’ and ‘I know I’m tired, but I want to go to the gym.” Same sentence, different way around – your emphasis is still on what comes after the ‘but’, but this time it’s on losing weight and going to the gym.

So, there you have it, if you want a better chance of turning your resolution into reality, develop some high frustration tolerance (as discussed before), formulate a SMART goal and flip your buts like they’ve never been flipped before.

Happy New Year!


The Top Ten New Year’s resolutions are:

  1.  Losing weight
  2. Getting organised
  3. Spending less, saving more
  4. Enjoying life to the fullest
  5. Staying fit and healthy
  6. Learning something exciting
  7. Quitting smoking
  8. Helping others in their dreams
  9. Falling in love
  10. Spending more time with family

Can you turn each one into a SMART goal?