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While the New Year is usually a time of looking forward, making resolutions and planning goals, most of us are bound to fail because of not planning properly.


The vast majority of people who make New Years Resolutions will have broken them within a month or two.


So you've sworn off chocolate cake, you've thrown that fag packet in the bin, you've bought a membership to the swankiest gym in town.


Yet by the third week of January you're puffing away on the ciggies again, binging on biscuits and forgoing the gym in favour of the pub.


Why is it that when we set out with such good intentions to get in shape or quit smoking or stop behaving or thinking a certain way, it is so hard to keep it up? It is because we haven't considered the whole problem.


What does the chocolate or smoking give you? Is it a form of stress relief, of pleasure? If so, you must find something else to replace your habits, otherwise you'll return to them as soon as your resolve wanes and stress rears its head.


What healthier things could you have instead of chocolate or ciggies to cope with stress? Choose a couple of things that'd work for you and implement them.


As for the gym, what would ensure you would go as often as you initially resolved to? The answer here most often lies in motivation. Could you get a gym buddy or keep a photo of blobby old you next to your gym bag along with an outfit that you're determined to get back into.


Always keeping your motivations clear and having extra resources and replacements for your old habits are all important for success. Remind yourself where you don't want to be, visualise and feel where you do want to be and set yourself up for success by having all the tools you need handy as soon as you've you've made that resolution.


Happy New Year - and here's to your goals!


by Beth Burgess, Therapist and author of The Recovery Formula, The Happy Addict, and What Is Self-Esteem?

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