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Achieve Your New Years Resolutions

The advent of the new year routinely initiates both personal resolutions and professional goal setting. It's a time when we reflect on our standing and envision a better future, a time full of optimism, determination and hope. But where do we go wrong? What prevents the majority of us from following through on our resolutions and ultimately achieving our goals?

Less than half of those who make resolutions don't stick to them beyond six months and only 8% ultimately achieve them.

Unfortunately for most of us, when setting our resolutions we neglect to take the time to get to the depth of what our aspirations truly mean to us. Whilst we possess goals of attainment and behavioural change, we neglect to place meaning behind them. Sure, eating healthy and increasing your leadership impact are worthy objectives, but it's essential to ask yourself 'why?' It's the 'why' that provides meaning and it's the 'why' that eventually taps into your values and propels you to success. Here's an example of how to accomplish this:

RESOLUTION: Eat healthy.

Why? Increase energy. Why? To play with my kids more and get more accomplished. Why? To improve my relationship with my children, to assist in their development, to become a better role model, to feel good. Why? Because family and vitality are important to me (=values of family & vitality).

The second reason we fail to follow through on our resolutions lies in the fact that we set too many lofty resolutions and then fail to break them down into easily achievable tasks. Dr. Travis Bradberry suggests limiting our resolutions so that they do not become competing priorities. It is also imperative to have incremental wins along the way; our brains release dopamine each time we experience a 'win', which in turn makes us feel good, encouraging us to repeat the behaviour. This is where the 'how' comes in. To continue from the example:

How? Make a weekly meal plan; spend Saturday mornings at the park with my kids, dedicate 2 sessions a week to outdoor activities, etc. These can be even further broken down in a third step to include specificity such as dietary habits and certain activities.

Values are things that are important to us and are grounded on meaningful beliefs. In Sam Harris' book The Moral Landscape, values are defined as what we want to stand for in life, how we want to behave, what type of person we want to be, what sort of strengths and qualities we seek to develop.

As you are going through the process of the why and the how and linking your values, you are repeatedly visualising achieving your goal. Continue to do this throughout the year and it will provide you with the necessary energy you need to maintain your drive, and motivation. Neuroscience tells us that when we visualise, our brains interpret the imagery as "real-life action" and the more we do so, the more we build new neural pathways that prime us to act in a way that we routinely imagined. Consider visualisation the secret sauce that consistently supports you in your goal orientation and attainment.


  1. Write down your goal and continually ask yourself 'why' until you uncover the value that is driving this desire.

  2. Follow-through with the 'how' in describing all of the ways and actions along the way that will contribute to you achieving this goal. Get specific!

  3. Visualise achievement through each stage and throughout the year.

We are teleological beings in that we are goal oriented and purpose driven. Cortex Consulting helps individuals realise their full potential and thrive through values-based coaching and programs.

Contact Kirsten today to book a free consultation and drive 2017 with passion & purpose!

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