3 expert steps to ensure your New Year's resolutions stick through 2020

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Transformation coach Niamh Ennis shares her strategies for making those new year’s resolutions stick


Hands up – how many of you are feeling more than a little irritated each time you are asked, "Have you set your new year’s resolutions yet?" Apart from the undeniable pressure it places on us to conform, we cannot but remember this exact time last year when we did the same thing… and failed. And let’s be honest, in some cases, we failed spectacularly!

For many of us, new year’s resolutions are a painful reminder of how we start each year with such great intentions, creating a list of things we are determined to achieve or acquire in the next 12 months, but as the months slowly unfold, we are forced to admit defeat, prepare our reasons and defences and vow to do better next year.

But what if we did it differently? What if we were smarter about how we approached this annual self-sabotaging ritual? Well, the good news is we can.

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I personally believe that we have the order in which we approach these all wrong. If you follow this, my tried and tested three-step process, I promise it will get you the results you actually want.

Step 1 – letting go

In the run-up to the end of the year, we are well placed to look back and let go of everything and everyone that didn’t serve us. We acknowledge our successes and admit our failures. It’s at this time that we can also look back over our relationships. Did anyone hurt or disappoint you? Are there conversations you wish you’d had or responses you regret not giving? Do you need to forgive anyone? Do you need to apologise to anyone? Is there something that’s constantly playing on your mind?

Well, why not honour these feelings and write letters to anyone you want to and then burn them? It’s a powerful release and a terrific way to clean the negative energy you are carrying and really helps you clear the way and leave this stuff behind you.

Step 2 – creating your vision

This year, 2020, we have the added dimension of not just a new year, but a new decade to look forward to, which makes this next step all the more important.

You wouldn’t jump in your car and head off on a long journey without some idea of where your final destination is, would you? Yet when it comes to our own lives, we rarely take the time to reflect and think about the direction we want to be travelling towards.
Have a clear vision of where you are going, where you want to be when we get there, any little stop-offs you want to make on your way, who you want to accompany you on the trip, and how you want to feel throughout the journey as well as when you arrive.

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Analogies aside, before we start looking to the next year, we need to connect with what that overall vision for us is. What does it look like, feel like and who are we in this vision?

Try it. Take out your journal and write this question at the top of your page:

If I had no fear, if there were no limits, financial, physical or otherwise, who would I be, how would I feel and what would I want to say I had achieved at the end of 2020?

Then answer it in as much detail as you possibly can. Describe what it is you specifically want. Create an image of it in your mind. See yourself there. In this picture, how are you feeling, who is with you, where are you, what are you saying to yourself and to others? Write until there is nothing left to write about. If you want, you can even repeat this same exercise for your career, relationships and your health.

Think also about what your values are. What really matters to you (not what you think should matter). Our values change very frequently, especially as we get older, so it’s worth checking in with them as often as you can.

Then throughout the coming months, when you hit a bump into the road, which inevitably you will, you can refer back to your answer. This answer is your why. It’s why you are moving in the direction you are going.

There are so many tools or aids that can really help with creating your personal vision, such as journaling, manifestation, visualisation, meditation, energy healing, forest therapy and breathwork to name but a few, but the key is to find the ones that resonate best with you, as you’re more likely to be consistent with these and they will become part of your daily practice, ensuring that you are constantly connecting in with your vision.

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Finally, step 3

When you have your vision, when you are clear about where you want to go, then and only then should you begin the process of setting out your goals and resolutions. Not before. These goals should be small, realistic and achievable and in full alignment with your vision. This is where the key to your success lies.

So many of us start with this step of goal setting, but if we follow this three-step process, it might help explain to us why we have experienced some false starts before.

So, to recap: release and let go, create your vision, and then finally set your realistic goals and resolutions. And repeat!

Make 2020 your best decade yet! If you choose to.

Transformation coach Niamh Ennis is hosting a "2020 Vision – Are You Ready to Take a Leap of Faith?" one-day workshop in Dublin on Saturday, February 29, 2020 (leap day). Niamh will help you discover who you really want to be and work with you on creating and implementing your personal vision for the year (and decade) ahead, sharing with you the tools that you will need to make it come to life.

A very limited number of tickets are available by emailing [email protected], by clicking here, or visiting niamhennis.com.

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