Why Does My New Year Resolution Fail?

Why do I so often fail with my new year resolution? Are Goals and Resolutions the same thing?

Setting New Years resolutions are a bit of a tradition. I’ve been waking up on the 1st January for as long as I can remember and setting resolutions. Its something my mum first encouraged me to do.

How many resolutions last the year? Not many and that’s probably the case for most people. In fact if you start to research the topic you’ll find that stats suggest that most will be broken by the middle Monday in January. Frequently dubbed Blue Monday, this day is the accumulation of long nights, back to work syndrome, arrival of credit card bills and little to look forward to. Add to that, the fact that most people’s resolutions are about giving something up or doing something we don’t want to, then it can become a difficult proposition to maintain.

Properly formulated goals can be a very different proposition. So why are goals so different?

So ask yourself the question – Do you want to lose weight or is it that you want to feel better about yourself? Do you want to give up alcohol or do you want to live a healthier lifestyle?

Once you understand what’s driving your resolution then working toward achieving that goal is about having  positive motivation, rather than moving away from something you don’t want.

Goals should be specific. They should identify exactly what it is you want to achieve, this way you will know when you’re achieved it. This should include a quantity if appropriate and a time by when you will have completed it.

So if your goal is about getting fit, how will you know when you feel fitter? Perhaps a measure might be being able to run for 5 minutes without stopping by the end of March OR being able to walk upstairs without being out of breath.

Goals are much easier to achieve in small steps. If your goal is to write a novel by the end of the year, that’s one big task that you may put off until November and then it becomes unrealistic. Break your goals into small manageable steps, which in this case might be to write the outline by the end of January, 1st chapter by end of February and get feedback in March. Celebrate each achievement as you reach it.
And remember, don’t be hard on yourself. We all lose our way from time to time. It’s like riding a bike, the trick is to get back on when you fall off. So don’t be hard on yourself, just resolve to start again.

What’s Your NY Resolution?

If you need help with your goals this year, then having some support can really make the difference.  Give me a call now on 07714 216388 to see how I can help you make a splash with your goals.


copyright Reflections Coaching




Change One Small Thing

Why for me its much better to make several small steps than attempt one large one.


I love my job.  I am very fortunate.  My role as a coach is to help to inspire and motivate others, yet it never ceases to amaze me how much inspiration I draw from my clients.  Because coaching works on the principle that the client holds the answer within them, each of my clients is a constant source of new ideas and concepts to me.


Working with a client recently, I could see that the task of setting a goal and going all out to achieve it could potentially result in overwhelm.   The challenge that they were facing was that in order to achieve their goal there were so many things that needed changing.  Far too much.  The solution that came out of the session to just choose one small thing that takes them in the right direction was much more manageable.


So many of us never achieve our goals because they are too big, too daunting or quite simply, we get too bored along the way.  Imagine for example your goal is to get healthy.  Giving up cigarettes, alcohol and going on a diet whilst taking up jogging could be a step too far.  My suggestion is choose one small thing to change.  Really focus on that one small thing.  In this case, walking to work everyday for a week could be that one step.  Achieving it will give great satisfaction and provide the motivation to take the next small step.  Before you know it ten small steps will have taken you to your bigger goal.


So my “Change One Small Thing” campaign is underway and to kick start it I’d love to hear from you what your BIG goal is together with your first “one small thing”.  Either comment here, or email me at caro@reflectionscoaching.co.uk.  Anyone achieving their goal following a series of small changes will have their names put into a hat to win a free “change one small thing” coaching session.



How Do You Eat An Elephant? – And What If You Have More Than One To Eat?

So how do you eat your  elephant?

The common answer is one bit at a time.  I’m sure many of you will have come across this before.  Its a common analogy for tackling your goals.  But its not always that easy is it?

At this time of year I start thinking about my goals.  All that stuff that I haven’t done yet but intended to do this year and all that stuff I want to do next year.  It can be a bit over- whelming.  And of course some of the goals require you to tackle many bits in one go – so the one bite at a time rule goes straight out of the window.

I quite like to use a priorities grid.   Simply draw a line right down the centre of your page vertically and then another one horizontally across the middle.  Label them:

High Priority – Quick to do

High Priority – takes time

Low Priority – Quick to do

Low Priority – Takes Time

Now you can list all your goals in the quadrants.  This tends to work best if you can break your goals down into all the little stages and split these across the quadrants.

Now start to tackle the High Priority – Quick to do tasks – it will amaze you how much you can achieve in an afternoon or even just an hour.  It’ll help you tackle that elephant one bite at a time AND multitask in getting more than one of those goals heading in the right direction.


So how do you tackle your goals? I’m sure my readers would love to hear your solutions too.


A Pink Doc Martin – a story of self esteem.

What a beautiful pink Doc.  But what’s its significance?  It’s actually symbolic.!


This is the story of a coaching journey that started with a request for help with weight loss and ended happily ever after with a pink Doc Martin boot.

” I want to look Zoesque in the new dress I’ve bought”   Zoesque was the term used to describe looking great and slim.  My client “J” quickly settled on an improved eating regime of her choice and we worked together on motivational issues surrounding it.

By session 3, J was beginning to work out that this wasn’t about weight loss at all, however it was more about feeling better about herself and the emphasis in future sessions switched to focus on confidence techniques.  Whilst J lost a couple of pounds, what was much more important was that she’d grown as a person, found who she really was and decided that getting into the skimpy little dress didn’t matter.  It didn’t matter because J didn’t need to fit into the skimpy dress to look and feel good and skimpy little dresses weren’t really her.  Those pink Doc Martins are about 20 years old, but represent the real J.  A  J that  feels very comfortable with herself and knows that she looks damn good!

It just goes to show that you can’t plan a coaching journey, its a road that can lead anywhere.

What destination will your coaching train take you to?

Tackling Your Brick Wall

I’ve been working closely with a client around her weight issues and she asked me recently why, when it is her that comes up with all the answers in our sessions, can she only do this in front of me, and not on her own.  Did I have magic special powers?

I’d like to think that I do! However not many of you would believe me.

I think of it in terms of brick walls.

copyright http://www.bretttrafford.com

Looks pretty insurmountable doesn’t it?

Brick walls are those things that stand in between you and your goal.  Imagine for a moment that you are setting out on a journey, from home to work for example.  You really have to go to work today.  You know the route.  But half way there someone has built a brick wall and its blocking your route. It stops you dead in your tracks.  And this is what happens in life.  Its exactly the same as starting a new weight loss campaign where you’ve decided on a diet and exercise plan and then going a breaking a toe so you can’t get to the gym.  All of a sudden your plans come to a complete halt.

So what do you do?  Give up?  Turn around and go back home? (a tempting alternative to work I imagine) and the obvious and first answer. And when we’re working through a problem on our own we often take the first answer that comes to mind and accept it.  Where coaching makes the difference is that a coach will always challenge further.

There are always options. Some of the suggestions I’ve had include:

  • Find a way around the wall.
  • Pole vault
  • Find a ladder

I’m sure you could think of more and of course what works for one doesn’t always work for another.  Personally I’d rule the ladder out – having a bit of a fear of heights and would get out a map and compass to navigate my way around it.

So, you can’t get to the gym because of that broken toe? Sit down and have a good think about what you could do instead. And if like my client the answers don’t come to you, ask a friend for some ideas.  They might not all work for you, but one idea might.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about what your real brick walls have been in life, and how you’ve overcome them, and if you haven’t perhaps other readers may have a solution for you.

Taking the Plunge

Whilst part of the role of this blog is to inspire and motivate its readership, I also wanted it to be an outlet for some of my more personal thoughts and a record of my own personal learning journey.

Those more observant, regular readers will have notice a new page appear “Thin from Within”.  Ever since I first trained as a personal development coach I have wanted to do something for those people who pay their fees to weight-watchers and similar clubs every week just to be disappointed that they once again have failed to loose weight because they can’t stick to a really strict diet. The minute they treat themselves to one thing they’ve broken their diet and loss of motivation can set in.

With no diet plans, the Thin From Within concept works on the basis that deep down we all know – to lose weight we put less in and increase our exercise levels. That requires motivation and will-power.  Its a process I truly believe in – I have dieted as strongly as anyone else over the years and true success only comes when I have the right mindset.

I’m now running a local club in Leek, my home town.  I need to compete against the powerful advertising of Slimming World and Weight Watchers and I need to get people in through my door.

So I’ve been out and put up posters, I’ve pushed it on Facebook and Twitter, emailed my contacts, in fact I’ve done most things except….


I rang the local station to see if I could get a bit of free PR.  They said “yes”.  “Great!” – I thought.  “Why don’t you come in?”

The strange thing is, although I knew it would be the best thing, I wasn’t going to do it.  It puts me right outside my comfort zone.  Yet, saying yes was incredibly easy.  And now I’ve said yes I’m having to go through all the steps to do it.

There is a moral to this story.  If you’re not sure whether you’ve got everythng you need to meet your goal, why not take the first step.  The rest is sure to follow.

By the time you get to read this, I will have done my radio stint.  If you want to know how I went on – come back next week.

A diet rich in soy and whey protein, found in ...

Self Labelling – I am an athlete


I make no bones about the fact that I was always last in anything sporty at school.  Always the last one to be picked for netball and hockey teams.  I used to dread cross country where I would end up breathless and last once again.  Gymnastics was a particular hate where I never even mastered a forward roll properly.


Women's Cross Country Team runs the OZ invitat...
Image via Wikipedia


I was one of the fattest kids in my year at 12.  Not by today’s standards but in 1982 everyone else was skinny.  I was a faddy eater with a very sweet tooth and the latter hasn’t changed being particularity partial to a little(sic) chocolate.

I don’t actually recall what changed and when.  I know I started by first diet at 12.  I didn’t lose weight although I did grow and maintain my 8st giving a thinner appearance.  Yet puberty blessed me with a number of shapley curves and chunky thighs so something in my mind kept that “fat” label for some time.

Its very easy to label ourselves  and once we do that it can become a self fulfilling prophecy, so now I chose carefully what I label myself with and avoid the negative ones at a costs.

So why with all these painful school memories do I chose to label myself as an athlete?

Well, I’ve worked hard to get rid of those chunky thighs.  I can’t.  I’m blessed with them, together with the curvy waistline and larger than average cup size. However, at 41 I’m fitter and healthier than I’ve ever been.  I work out 3-4 times a week, covering pilates, body pump, Zumba and aerobic type exercise.  I walk 8-12 miles at a weekend or cycle 20 (no mean feat for someone who learned to cycle at 28).  I choose to eat healthily although regular chocolate is still part of my treat regime.

I still can’t do a forward roll.  I don’t have the flexibility and my chunky thighs and curves just don’t allow it. I just don’t bend enough.

My personal trainer summed this up for me some months ago.  She said the real athletes aren’t the ones that win races easily- they’re the ones that have to work at it and don’t give up.  So that’s it – I’ve swopped the “fat”label for “athlete”.

I’ve achieved a lot.  But to remember this I have to make sure I don’t compare myself to the performance of others and celebrate my own personal achievements.


Four key points to remember:

  • When you compare yourself to others look for the favourable things that you see in you.
  • If you’ve stuck labels on yourself, change them for more positive ones.
  • If you want to change something, stick with it, some battles are long but they can all be won.
  • Remember to celebrate your own successes and regularly.





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