New Year’s resolutions – sorted!

Creating New Year’s resolutions might sound easy enough, but sticking to them for longer than three months tend to be a bit of a problem for some.


The end of the year is drawing to a close and before we know it, it’s time to get your New Year’s resolutions in order. If that’s your thing, of course. But ever wondered why these resolutions, despite all of your heartfelt efforts, do not seem to last?

Maryke Groenewald, life coach and founder of Life Purpose Coaching in Pretoria explains why sticking to these resolutions can be so challenging.

“Firstly, we fail because our resolutions tend to be something we only ‘think’ about – a wish or idea without a tangible plan of action. Secondly, because you are not truly willing and ready to make sacrifices and actual changes to your lifestyle and daily habits,” Maryke explains.

Coming up with resolutions is therefore not something to be taken lightly. “I always say, ‘nothing changes if nothing changes’. Your new goals for the year will not just automatically fall into place because you’ve thought about it. It takes hard work, persistence, determination and sacrifice,” she adds.

Be it to stop smoking, changing your diet or exercising more, change is not easy. As Robin Sharma says, “change is difficult in the beginning, messy in the middle and glorious in the end”.  To reach your end goal, you’ll unfortunately first have to get through the difficult and messy times to get to the glorious part. “It’s when the going gets tough that people give up,” Maryke says.

What makes sticking to your resolutions and reaching your end goal even more difficult is the fact that we live in a society of instant gratification. When we send a message, we expect an immediate answer. If we make an enquiry, we expect a same day response. 

“Technology is great, but it spoils us with quick responses and immediate outcomes, and this is not the same when setting goals. It takes a lot of patience, determination, persistence and drive,” Maryke says.

Here’s her dos and don’ts on setting New Year’s resolutions:

• Don’t set New Year’s resolutions in the spur of the moment; you are setting yourself up for failure if it hasn’t been thought through properly.

• Make dedicated alone time to decide what you want to change or do differently in the
New Year. Reflect on the year that’s past and decide what you do not want to repeat.

• Don’t just think about it, write it down and make it visible where you can see it every single day.

• Have a definite plan of action and be very specific. For example, if you want to be healthy and fit in the new year, what specifically are you going to change?  When and how often will you exercise, and where? How specifically will you change your diet, and how practical is it to implement in your lifestyle and budget?

• Do you have the resources available to be successful, and what resources do you need?

• Don’t keep it to yourself, tell your partner or close friend or family member to keep you accountable, to check in every now and again on your progress.

• Goals take daily action, either mental or physical action. Make time daily to rewrite your goals, that way you are programming your mind with your intentions and will keep you focused on the end result daily.

• Make a choice.  Everything in life is a choice, if you are serious about achieving your goal in the new year, choose daily to make it your priority.

• Don’t allow excuses to sabotage your goals, because excuses are just that, excuses. Not having enough time is an excuse, make time. Being tired or demotivated is an excuse, do it in spite of. Not having support is an excuse, do it for yourself. Not having enough money is an excuse, start somewhere with what you have available to you.

• Make time to work on your mindset and personal development, true change starts within.

“At the end of the day you need to make a decision to take responsibility of your life. You can either be the victim of whatever life throws at you, or you can decide to steer your life in the direction you want it to go. If you want to make a definite change in the new year, you have to make a pact or promise to yourself that you will stick with your decision even on the days you don’t feel like it or feel demotivated to continue,” Maryke continues. 

And last but not least, it is very important to make these changes for yourself and nobody else. When you want to bring changes in your life to please someone else or to impress others, the chances of giving up is so much higher than doing it because it’s for you. “It is something you need to do for yourself, because if your ‘why’ or reason is strong enough, it will drive you and keep you focused when you feel like giving up,” Maryke says.

Want to learn more and equip yourself with the necessary skills to make and stick to your New Year’s resolutions? Maryke will be presenting a workshop on “How to avoid the same mistakes in the New Year” on Saturday, 8 February 2020. For more information visit



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