Alex Dalland

The New Year is viewed by many as the best time to make changes, and with January 1 on its way, many of us are already thinking about our New Year’s resolutions.

“I intend to play a bit more golf in order to get better, and put some effort into seeing if we can get the tender for graffiti removal day again,” Roger Norman, the Director of Membership and Vocation from Turramurra Rotary Club says.

Norman is just one of many local residents who have set themselves goals for next year. Unfortunately, not everyone is likely to achieve these goals. In fact, statistically speaking, New Year’s resolutions are often destined to fail.

While the New Year can often be seen as a ‘clean slate’ that poses a great time to start afresh and reform on last year’s behaviours, a recent study by the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania found that while 45 per cent of people surveyed usually made New Year’s resolutions, only eight per cent actually managed to achieve their goals.

Dr. Richard Keegan, an Assistant Professor at the University of Canberra has conducted research into motivation and goal setting among athletes, and believes it is the mindset people use when approaching their goals that determines how likely they are to achieve them.

“People make big, juicy goals, but they’re not structured,” Dr. Keegan says.

“Set little stepping stones along the way. Take happiness from achieving small goals along the path, and clearly set out the processes of how you are going to achieve every step of the way.”

The research paper also noted that people who make explicit goals were ten times more likely to achieve them.

“People forget to pay attention to their goals. Monitor goals and modify them, which may be a good thing, for example, when you have almost achieved your current goal and want to set your sights even higher,” Dr. Keegan says.

Other similar studies suggest seeing the journey to your goal as an adventure, which can help frame setbacks as temporary, and using frustration to fuel your focus and increase your drive to achieve. Using negative situations as a way to create a positive mindset can also set you on the path to success.

Local Resolutions:

“I resolve in 2016 to work actively to help hope and positive thoughts overcome fear and negativity.” – Jonathan O’Dea, Member for Davidson

“I have a three-pronged New Year’s Resolution as mayor – to keep Ku-ring-gai council as a stand-alone council, preserve Ku-ring-gai’s unique architectural and environmental heritage, and to focus on the council’s humanitarian projects – including distributing more refugee welcome packs and increasing donations for the Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Women’s Refuge.” – Cheryl Szatow, Mayor of Ku-ring-gai