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As I said in yesterday’s article, your New Year resolutions are not doomed to fail if you adhere to some goal-setting tips.

Part 1 covered “Nudging” your goals in the right direction; being “Exact” about what you want to achieve; and “When” you want to achieve it” — that is, N-E-W.

Today’s article continues with the Y-E-A-R way to stick to your resolutions:

Yours truly

Back in your school days, did you have friends who studied hard because of their parents’ expectations?

Or in your workplace today, are there colleagues who work hard to meet their bosses’ expectations?

Yes, these people are striving hard for a goal, but whose goal is it?

Goals are most effective when they are personal, and the great mistake these people make is to work towards other people’s goals.

If you are guilty of doing this, take some time to sit down, and reflect on what you really want to achieve in your new year. Make your goals yours truly.

Excruciating pain

World-famous motivational speaker and master of goal-setting Tony Robbins said that all human beings are driven by two basic instincts — the pursuit of pleasure and the avoidance of pain.

Everything we do in life is to achieve either of these two results.

And if we were to pit pleasure against pain, we would do almost anything to avoid pain, even if that means the foregoing of pleasure.

So how do we use this to our advantage in goal-setting?

By making it excruciatingly painful for us to miss our goals.

Mr Robbins told this story of his friend who utilised this to great effect. His friend set a goal to lose weight by dieting, which is known to be extremely trying on the willpower.

To enforce it, she made a commitment to her closest friends that if she were to flout her dieting plans, she would eat a plate of dog food in front of them. Now, that is a form of excruciating pain to keep one’s efforts on track!


Ralph Waldo Emerson was an esteemed poet, essayist and lecturer who was responsible for works of incredible wisdom and yet, even he said “an ounce of action is worth a ton of theory”.

Action is the great bridge between intentions and results. All great endeavours and marvellous feats have one thing in common — consistent, relentless, focused action.

Therefore, when you set your goals, make them action-based.

For example, instead of writing “I want to be a novelist”, try “I will write a novel”.

Even better, go for small, specific and actionable goals with deadlines, such as “I will write 500 words a day for my novel until I finish it on March 3, 2014”.


Finally, reward yourself for all the hard work you are putting in.

According to the theory of motivation, the best results are achieved when rewards are intrinsic.

In other words, the achievement of the goal should be the greatest reward in itself.

Setting goals that you personally find fulfilling will go a long way in keeping you on track, since you will enjoy every drop of sweat you invest into the process.

On top of that, you can, of course, plan for additional rewards for yourself, such as taking a day off, or treating yourself to a nice meal.

By psychologically linking the fulfilment of goals to extraordinarily pleasant feelings, your brain will push you to achieve more and more goals.

So there you go, seven N-E-W Y-E-A-R ways to bulletproof your New Year resolutions and supercharge your 2014!

Article by Seah Ying Cong, a communications and leadership expert with Training Edge International.