Setting New Year’s resolutions

A study many years ago by John Norcross, a psychology professor at the University of Scranton, proved that 77 percent of people who make New Year’s resolutions maintained their pledges for a week. By the end of the two-year study, that success ratio had dropped to 19%.

Why resolutions often fail

The exact statistic may have changed slightly now, but there are still very high numbers of people who set lofty goals on the first of January to quit smoking, lose weight and generally be a better person, but find themselves puffing on a cigarette, eating a full block of chocolate and moaning about their co-workers just a week later. Dr John Demartini says he knows why and it all comes down to setting the right goals.

“So many people don’t achieve their New Year’s resolutions and I think it’s because their goals weren’t really right for them in the first place.” says Dr Demartini. “You have to set them in line with the things you really value or you’ll fall off the wagon within weeks – or even days. In my programme we talk about highest values and that’s what you need to use as the basis of your yearly goals.”

Resolutions should match your true values

Dr Demartini believes if you make a resolution that’s not aligned with your true values, you have almost no hope of achieving it.

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For example if you want to exercise more, but health isn’t actually one of your real priorities, your chances of success are low. On the other hand if being a good parent is one of your highest values, a resolution to spend more time with your kids has a much better chance of success.

How to find your true values

So how do we work out what our highest values are? Dr Demartini believes the answers are all around us: what we fill our spaces with, what we spend our leisure time doing, what energises us, what we spend our money on, what we think about, where we are most effective. He has even devised a free online test to help people work it out.

“Often our values arise from our conscious or unconscious voids,” he says. “What you perceive as most missing in your life often becomes what you perceive as most important. The more important a value is – the higher it will be on your hierarchy of values and the more discipline and order you will have around it. The less important a value is – the lower it will be on your hierarchy of values and the less discipline and more disorder you will have associated with it. This is why so many resolutions fail, but people don’t necessarily realise it, because they aren’t aware of their values.”

How to make your New Year’s resolutions stick in 2016

Here are Dr Demartini’s tips for keeping your resolutions this year:

1. Evaluate last year’s resolutions

Before setting this year’s resolutions, evaluate which ones you kept last year and which ones you didn’t and really think about why.

Your life demonstrates your true highest values or priorities and if the newly-desired action is truly all that important you would probably already be doing it. Your daily actions speak louder than your words and wishes.

It is wiser to set resolutions that are truly demonstrated to be of high value and do them incrementally to build more lasting momentum. Build greater expectations as you begin to demonstrate and achieve them. Piggy banks become biggy banks.

2. Define your true values

Work out your true highest values (priorities) by completing a value determining exercise and set your 2016 resolutions accordingly.

Unless you set resolutions or goals that are congruent with your highest values you are likely to become self-defeating. If you have trouble determining them, use Dr Demartini’s free online tool. Only set goals that are truly important or you will erode your self-worth and discourage yourself from wanting to set goals at all.

3. Keep the ‘why’ in mind

When your ‘why’ is big enough, your ‘hows’ will take care of themselves. So stack up enough feeling-oriented reasons for doing what you say you want to do before attempting to actually do them.

Repeatedly ask yourself, ‘How specifically could doing this particular newly desired action (goal) help me fulfil or enhance what is also and already demonstrated to be highly important to me?’

By linking whatever you would love to begin doing, to whatever you have a long-term track record of already doing, you increase the probability of doing them together through association.

4. Go back and analyse

If you are failing to keep a resolution, go back and analyse what you have decided to do instead.

Every decision you make and action you take is based on what you feel at that moment will give you more advantage than disadvantage, more reward than risk. So if you are doing something other than what you intended, there must be more advantages in your mind consciously or unconsciously for doing that instead, or you would not have chosen it.

Make sure there are more advantages in doing what you claim you would love to do than any alternative.

About Dr Demartini

Dr John Demartini is a leading authority in human behaviour and leadership development. He is the author of 10 self-development books, translated into 29 languages, and an extensive library of CDs and DVDs covering topics from business, financial mastery, building teams, communication, to activating leadership and greater productivity in all areas of life. He is also a business consultant, an educator and the founder of the Demartini Institute. He has synthesised 41 years of research in over 280 disciplines into keynote speeches, educational courses and seminars. He has shared the stage with Sir Richard Branson, Steven Covey, Deepak Chopra and Donald Trump, and been interviewed by the world’s leading media, such as Larry King Live, Wall Street Journal and O Magazine (Oprah Winfrey). For more information, visit

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