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January isn’t to blame for your New Year’s resolutions failing: how to realistically reset your goals


By Eva Hall
12th Jan 2020
January isn’t to blame for your New Year’s resolutions failing: how to realistically reset your goals

There are two tribes of people in January: those who set a New Year’s resolution and those who think the idea is rubbish. Health and wellbeing expert Elizabeth Whelan is here to tell you you can reset your goals any time of the year, but ‘January’ isn’t what’s making you fail… 


I’ve only ever made one New Year’s resolution and stuck to it, and to be honest, I’m not even sure if it counts as a ‘resolution’. On January 1 five years ago, I pledged to give up sugar in my cup of tea as a way of cutting down on my tea intake altogether. Back then, I drank three cups a day in a working day, so 15 a week.

That morning five years ago, for the first time since I was a child, I didn’t put sugar in my tea. It tasted gross. I thought this would deter me from making the second and third cup. It did not.

Five years later, I still drink three cups a day, with some coffee thrown in between depending on how stressful my working day is. I don’t have sugar though, so I kinda stuck to it? I’m not sure why I decided to make this – albeit tiny – change on January 1. This was before the days we could get #influenced, and certainly no one in my family or friends group was cutting sugar out of their daily cup.

Life and career coach Elizabeth Whelan says the reason so many of us try – and fail – to stick to New Year’s resolutions is because we follow a pack mentality on January 1. She says, “People just do it as a New Year’s resolution because you’re all in a gang and you all say ‘right guys what are the New Year’s resolutions?’ and people don’t really think about them, they just fire them out.

Click here for tickets to IMAGE How To: Avoid Burnout with Elizabeth Whelan 

“When creating goals, we’re supposed to process it in a positive way. You could have a life-changing event now, and you might decide to change your goals because your goals are not going to be achievable this year. Or you can see a bigger goal, because you’ve got this new promotion and see other opportunities.”

Realistically, I was never going to give up tea altogether – it’s a comfort, a stress reliever, and after 20-plus years of drinking it, I am most likely addicted to it. So resetting the goal of eliminating sugar from my tea was a better approach for me.

“Your goals can be made any time, but your approach to how you’re setting those goals will make or break the goals,” says Elizabeth.

You have to believe in your goals and be able to visualise them in order for them to be successful, says Elizabeth.

via GIPHY

“Every process we have has a beginning, a middle and an end. When we’re working through things in our life we begin in a honeymoon phase, we’re full of enthusiasm, full of this dream, this intention – we want this. Then we start moving on, and week after week we don’t see this goal manifesting. We don’t know why, and we lose the momentum.

“For some people they drop the goal, they don’t go back to the red light again, instead they should ask themselves ‘how can I review my goals to make this happen?’ Where people go wrong is in their process of achieving their goals,” say Elizabeth.

Elizabeth takes a three-phase approach of mindfulness, meditation and manifestation which helps you get your goals down on paper and learn tools to visualise them. “It’s like the process is actually where the joy is. My job in life coaching and business coaching is to get people to feel the joy of their goals.

“If there is no emotion behind the goal it will never be achieved.”

You can benefit from Elizabeth’s three-phase process live at The Westbury Hotel in Dublin on Wednesday, January 22, when she demonstrates how to achieve your personal goals in conversation with IMAGE group contributing editor Melanie Morris for a How To: Avoid Burnout event. For tickets click here.


For more tips on how to decrease stress and enhance your productivity, as well as identify tools and techniques to help you achieve your personal and career goals, join health and wellbeing expert Elizabeth Whelan for IMAGE’s How To: Avoid Burnout event on January 22 where she’ll outline how to deal with stress in your daily life and share tips and advice on mindfulness, meditation and manifestation. 

Main photo: Elizabeth Whelan