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Here are 6 ways to make New Year resolutions work

Want to cut down on your drinking or start going to the gym more often? Wellness expert Sonia Samtani tells you how.





UPDATED: 30 Dec 2023, 8:50 pm

According to the National Science Foundation, over 80 percent of our daily thoughts follow repetitive patterns, and many of them lean towards negativity or even outright toxicity. That makes it challenging to bring about personal transformation without serious effort – and it explains why New Year resolutions often fail.

While each day brings an opportunity for change, the notion of “New Year, New Me” has powerful appeal as a time for resetting – if change can be sustained. But as we all know, enthusiasm often lasts only a few weeks, or even days, things go back to the way they were. 

To increase your chances of New Year resolutions success, it’s essential to approach New Year goals in a different way.  Here are some guidelines to help you create lasting changes in your life.

1. Focus on what’s within your control

Avoid setting goals that depend on other people’s behaviour or happiness. Instead, focus on what you can control; your thoughts, choices, and actions. Check that your goal is true to your values and supports your bigger vision of life. It helps to think about what you would like more of in your life – be it more fun, balance, connections, learning or health. Focus on one change at a time. Attempting to change multiple aspects simultaneously decreases the likelihood of long-term success.

2. Don’t be vague

A specific goal, well thought through and tightly defined, enables you to measure success and identify when you have achieved it. If you can clearly visualise yourself achieving your goal, then your subconscious can conceive of it as a possibility, and a mental road map will be created. You then have a much better idea of the strategy, resources and commitment required.

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3. Believe it can happen

Our beliefs can either support us or sabotage us, depending on whether they are affirming or negative. Think about the beliefs that are a resource to you, not a drain on your mental energy. Say to yourself frequently: “I am supported, I am capable, I am good enough, I have the resources within me, I trust life, I have inner-strength, I am capable, I accept myself.”

4. Schedule your actions

Many resolutions remain unfulfilled simply because we haven’t made space for them. If you genuinely want to achieve something, put it in your diary and plan to actually do it. This increases the likelihood of follow-through as you have already envisioned and carved out time for the activity, even if it’s months in advance.

5. Act now

Waiting until you “feel motivated” can hinder progress. Understand that you won’t always feel like your new routine, and accept the initial discomfort.  We don’t need to ignore our emotions or succumb to them, we could simply acknowledge them from the perspective of our commitment to change. When you feel tempted to resist change, take action.

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6. Let go of the outcome

The more you are attached to something, the more likely you are to feel anxious that it may not happen, and that impacts both your state of mind and the result.  Above all, don’t attach your self-worth to achieving the outcome. If you can be at peace with or without your desired outcome, you are truly free.

By applying these guidelines, you can set yourself up for success and lasting change. Be flexible, persistent, and resilient, knowing that ups and downs are part of the journey.  Remember that it’s not only you that feels uncomfortable with change – it’s the way we were all designed. With a systematic approach, you can make meaningful and lasting changes in your life beyond the initial excitement of New Year’s Eve. The most important part is to just get started.

Sonia Samtani is a Hong Kong-based clinical hypnotherapist, NLP Trainer, life coach, mental health counsellor, author, two-time TEDx speaker, and CEO of mental wellness facility, the All About You Centre. Visit

UPDATED: 30 Dec 2023, 8:50 pm

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