I’m a life coach who helps CEOs hit their goals – these are my four unique hacks for

Many of us set unrealistic goals at New Year which result in resolutions that don’t last a week, never mind a year.

The key to setting effective New Year’s Resolutions is to think ahead before blurting out a resolution on New Year’s Eve, said Ben Stocken, a life coach at West Peak, a consultancy firm that helps CEOs hit their goals.

Up to 80 percent of people who make New Year’s Resolutions fail to keep them, said Stocken, with many failing in the first few days.

Stocken said: ‘There’s lot of reasons why these lofty ambitions fail, and many people are guilty of setting themselves up for failure by dreaming up unrealistic and unachievable goals.’

He has laid out his unique hacks, from delaying resolutions until March to ‘recruiting cheerleaders’, that will boost your chances of success in 2024:  

Many of us set unrealistic goals at New Year which result in resolutions that don’t last a week, never mind a year

Many of us set unrealistic goals at New Year which result in resolutions that don’t last a week, never mind a year

Start your resolutions on March 1

The main reason most New Year Resolutions fail is because they’re made on the spur of the moment, Stocken told DailyMail.com – and no thought has gone into planning how they are going to be achieved.

Ben Stocken, goals realisation expert at business performance consultants West Peak

Ben Stocken, goals realisation expert at business performance consultants West Peak

‘Drunkenly deciding that you’re going to take up running just before midnight on New Year’s Eve puts you in the worst possible situation for fulfilling your goal the next day – your very first day of running will have to be completed with a hangover,’ he said.

To keep up a New Year’s Resolution you need a plan.

‘You need to break your goal down into digestible chunks, and you need to know what you’re going to do when it gets tough. That’s where giving yourself time to plan comes into it.

‘If you set your New Year’s Resolution to start on March 1, you’ve got two months to get everything ready. If you’re taking up running, you can get a pair of trainers that fits. You can find a training program. You can read up on the best way to increase your mileage.’

He said: ‘If you’re setting yourself a new year’s resolution now, aim to start on 1 March. And use the time to get a plan together.’

Make a one-word resolution

‘One of the tips I use for myself, my team, and for executives and clients is to keep the resolutions really simple,’ said Stocken.

‘Choose one word that defines what you want to achieve for the year.

‘“Discipline” was my word for 2023. I wrote it everywhere – on my desk, on the door of my fridge, and even above my bed! I used it to remind myself to work on my fitness as I trained for an Ironman, to maintain a good work/life balance, and to be more present at home as a dad and husband.

‘That constant reminder and the simplicity of the message meant that I achieved better-than-expected growth in the business, crossed the Ironman line with a personal best, and all without abandoning my wife and child!’

Stocken advised that you pick one word for the year that truly encapsulates your goal.

Then work out what you need to do to live up to that one word. Put a regular process in place to review how you’re doing. This might be taking ten minutes every Sunday morning to reflect and review your progress.’

Set SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound)

Don’t set vague goals like saying you are going to get your life together, Stocken advised.

‘That’s not a resolution – that’s a revolution! You might as well declare that you’re going to achieve world peace.’

Stocken added: ‘Your resolutions need to be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound – these are known as SMART goals.

‘Instead of writing that you’re going to get your life together, write down one specific thing, such as you’re going to get fit.

‘More importantly, how fit do you want to be? And how are you going to measure your new-found fitness? Are you looking to reduce your resting heart rate? To lose 10 pounds? To run a marathon in four hours?’

Knowing exactly what you are going to do helps you plan, Stocken advised.

He said: ‘Set yourself a time limit. If you’re going to reduce your weekly alcohol intake to five units, when are you going to do it by? Setting your deadline too soon may put too much pressure on yourself and cause you to give up. Equally, setting one too far in the future may leave you feeling like there’s no pressure to get it done.’

Recruit cheerleaders

No man is an island, and few things are achieved alone, Stocken said.

Stocken said, Recruit your family and friends to support your resolution, and you’ll stand a much better chance of succeeding.

‘Announcing your intention makes it real. Abandoning a resolution that you’ve told no one about is easy, but giving up when you’ve publicly pledged something means you stand to lose face.’

Trying to quit smoking on your own is almost impossible, Stocken advised – there will always be someone who offers you a cigarette.

He said: ‘If you’ve fully briefed your support squad, they can be there to watch your back and support you when you stumble.

‘In the same way, look for others who are trying to quit smoking at the same time. Seek out online communities where you can swap tips for beating the habit, and offer each other encouragement when things get hard.

‘Find your own team of cheerleaders and brief them that they’re responsible for keeping you to your goal.’

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