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Part 10: Time to ditch those New Year resolutions!

Last update - Thursday, January 11, 2007, 00:00 By Metro Éireann

Metro Eireann presents the latest weekly column by the entrepreneur coach and business growth specialist, designed to help you overcome any obstacles and reach your dreams

Are you one of the 90 per cent of people that made a New Year’s resolution? Will you be one of the 95 per cent of those people who have dropped it by the end of January?

Most of us make New Year’s resolutions because of peer pressure. We make them because every one else is making them, and we don’t want to be left out and seem weak. So we follow the crowd.

But remember, it’s the crowd that retires without enough to really live on in comfort. It’s the crowd that never achieves financial freedom. It’s the crowd that sits in traffic for three hours a day, going to a job they don’t love, existing in a world where they know there is more to life but they never seem to get off the mill wheel.

I don’t know if you are different – only you know why you are reading this right now. Do you know what you wish to achieve and where you really want to go with your life? Are you happy doing what you do right now? Did your New Year’s resolutions create a lasting change in your life last year? Should you do something different this year?

Life’s five-point star
To live a happy and fulfilling life we need to have balance in what we do. Think of your life as a five-point star. Focusing all of your effort on only one or two of the five points on the star will leave us unbalanced and lacking in the other areas.

The five points of our life star are as follows:

Career - You should wake up each work day looking forward to the challenges that your working day will bring. Whether you are employed or working for yourself, it is imperative that you do something that you truly enjoy.

Family - Whether you are married, single, with or without children, the family unit is a focal point of love and happiness. Our relatives are not people we choose; however the better we get on with them, the more support we can feel as we meet every day’s challenges and tribulations.

Leisure - “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” is an old saying that has its roots firmly in reality. Successful people are said to work hard and play hard. Retirement is so much more fulfilling if we already have pastimes or hobbies that we can look forward to spending more quality time engaged with. Health Without your health, we will have no energy or enthusiasm to appreciate the other areas of your life. Your body is your temple and it is essential to look after your body and maintain it to the best of your ability. You are amazing, and I want you to stay that way!

Finances - Worry about lack of money is one of the most debilitating diseases that we face in our modern society, where keeping up with the Joneses is all the rage. Money is a tool that enables us to do what we want in life; it should be treated with respect, but not love. You should examine each of these aspects of your life and rate each one on a scale of 1 to 10 depending on where you believe you are today and where you would like to be a year from now.

What should you really do at the start of a new year?

In order to start on the journey to achieve the life you really want, for each of the five key life aspects above I want you to answer the questions below. For simplicity’s sake, I would like you to set a time limit of one year on each of these questions. At a later stage you can go back and review each area in longer terms.

What do you want from your goal or endeavour?

Many people initially answer this question with what they don’t want. While this information can be useful, it is important to write down specifically what it is you do want from this particular aspect of your life.

How will you know you’ve got it?

Again this must be a specific measure. The more vividly a goal is imagined, the more the unconscious can help to achieve it.

Who else will be involved in this goal or endeavour?

No one is an island and what we do in life will invariably affect other people. It is important to recognise this and ensure you enrol the appropriate people’s support or involvement where required.

What would achieving this goal do for you?

You know that you want to shed 10kg. So what will that enable you to do? It is important to understand the implications of the goal. Dropping a couple of dress sizes is one thing, being able to go on your dream holiday with a body that you are hugely proud of is something more vivid to imagine.

Is there anything you might lose as a result of getting this goal?

Sometimes you may wish for a promotion in work. How will this affect your standing or companionship with your colleagues, as you switch from co-worker to supervisor? It is important to always look at the bigger picture and ensure that your goals are aligned with the life balance that you are looking to achieve.

What will you do to get what you want?

This is the planning part. If you want to run in the Dublin City Marathon, you need to do more than just write down ‘Run the Dublin City Marathon’ as a goal and turn up in August and expect to run 26 miles. You need to create a training plan and follow it through, to ensure you have the fitness and stamina to complete the gruelling run.

I don’t know what it is you will decide to do. However you must be persistent in doing everything you can to achieve it. It is only with true persistence that we can reach our goals and fulfil our ambitions.

A story of persistence

I got a fantastic lesson in persistence and perseverance from my five-year-old daughter, Jade.

She set herself a goal to walk across a 10-foot (3m) pole that is used as a horse jumping pole. It was about 4 inches (10cm) off the ground, about 4 inches in diameter, and moved when she walked on it.

After nearly 50 attempts, she had got one-third of the way across. She was crying with frustration, but she kept on trying. I did not help too much; once she got past halfway across, I told her how proud I was of her, and that she had done brilliantly. Yet she was having none of it. It was about 8 in the evening – having been up since 6.30 that morning – when she finally walked across, to within a foot of the far side, and put her hand down and leaned on the post.

“Fantastic!” I said “You’ve done it!”

“No, not yet Dad,” she replied, “that would have been cheating, but now that I know I can do it, I am going to show you. Do you want to see me do it, Dad?”

With my heart in my mouth, I watched as she tried again. This must have been the 100th time she had tried. And boy, did she walk calmly across, with a huge grin on her face, and stopped at the other side.

“Sorry Dad for getting cranky,” she said. “I just wasn’t sure if I could do it, but I really wanted to do it, so I had to keep trying.”

It was both a humbling yet magnificent learning experience. A five-year-old had taken on board all that I had said about never giving up. It was amazing to see what never giving up really looked like.

If you have taken the time to go through the exercises in this article you have shown the first signs of a true winner. What you do with yourself from now on will determine the type of person that you can really be. Are you a winner who sticks at what they need to do to get what they want? Or are you just one of the crowd?

E-mail Peter at


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