Don’t Make New Year’s Resolutions, Build Solid Foundations First

Sometime around January 1st, 2011, we were all excited and energized, thinking that this year will be different and that we will keep our new year resolutions but by the end of February or so we found many excuses and we just failed. The US government has a site listing the most common New Year ‘s Resolutions for Americans:

  • Drink Less Alcohol
  • Get a Better Education
  • Get a Better Job
  • Get Fit
  • Lose Weight
  • Manage Debt
  • Manage Stress
  • Quit Smoking
  • Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle
  • Save Money
  • Take a Trip
  • Volunteer to Help Others

 If you failed, the good news is that you are not alone, more than 80% of people who use will power only to establish new habits and stick to them are usually out of track after the first couple of months.

Main reasons for failure:

1-Setting unrealistic  goals : too big challenges without appropriate resources including time, readiness and money

2-No Support from your partner, family or friends 

3- Lack of true motivation or discipline or energy 

4-You try to become someone you are not

5-You want to please other people in the hope they will love you more

So What Can You Do Differently in 2012 ?

Once upon a time there were three little pigs, who left their mummy and daddy to see the world …I love this classic story and the animated version from Disney made in 1933.

So what are the lessons we can learn from this story ?

We all acquire  different levels of resilience based on our experiences.  In the  story the bad wolf represents the adversity and the materials used to build the houses demonstrate how strong is our integrity. The brick and mortar house was more solid than the virtual houses made of straw and sticks. The house of bricks refers to building a strong foundation before doing anything else for lasting results.


In the The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,  Stephen R. Covey use a systematic approach for changing bad habits for good, solid ones. His model is holistic, integrated and value or principle-centered. In addition it  really works and has been adopted by many of the most successful companies in the world and individuals.

I selected three out of the Seven Habits that I think are absolutely needed to start any  change process:

  • Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind Self-discover and clarify your deeply important character values and life goals. Envision the ideal characteristics for each of your various roles and relationships in life. .Habit 2 is based on imagination–the ability to envision in your mind what you cannot at present see with your eyes. It is based on the principle that all things are created twice. There is a mental (first) creation, and a physical (second) creation. The physical creation follows the mental, just as a building follows a blueprint.
  • Habit 3: Put First Things First Habit 3 is about life management–your purpose, values, roles, and priorities. First things are those things you, personally, find of most worth. Plan, prioritize, and execute your week’s tasks based on importance rather than urgency. Evaluate whether your efforts exemplify your desired character values, propel you toward goals, and enrich the roles and relationships that were elaborated in Habit 2.
  • Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw Balance and renew your resources, energy, and health to create a sustainable, long-term, effective lifestyle. Sharpen the Saw means preserving and enhancing the greatest asset you have–YOU. It means having a balanced program for self-renewal in the four areas of your life:
    • Physical: Beneficial eating, exercising, and resting;
    • Social/Emotional:Making social and meaningful connections with others;
    • Mental: Learning, reading, writing, and teaching;
    • Spiritual:Spending time in nature, expanding spiritual self through meditation, music, art, prayer, or service
You can do the journey alone by following self-help books like the one from Covey. You can also invest in a coach, who will help you first to assess of  what materials you are made of , your values, principles, help you define what you need to put fist by setting the right goals and strategies to reach them. I have been working with many clients on building their personal foundations while helping them dealing with the most urgent issues or blocks preventing them to move forward.

Do you want to be successful in 2012 ?


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About Anne Egros

Zest and Zen is a blog about Expat Life Challenges, Global Leadership, Intercultural Communication, Health and Wellness, Nutrition, Change Psychology, Life Transitions
This entry was posted in Coaching, Executive Coaching, Life coaching, Personal Development, self-help, Time Management and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Don’t Make New Year’s Resolutions, Build Solid Foundations First

  1. Pingback: Getting A Balanced Life in Only Two Steps « Anne Egros, Global Executive Coach At Zest and Zen International

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