Why you are already about to not achieve your 2024 goals 

New year, new you….. it’s the time of year we find this on every billboard or blog post. It’s a depressing starting point I often find frustrating. There is zero reason a “new you” will suddenly appear as if by magic because the clock struck midnight. Also it presupposes a deficit position of you needing a ‘new you’ which can be psychologically harmful. So let’s now suppose we love the old you but you just want to make a few changes and achieve well in 2024. How might goals help?  


Frankly most people don’t succeed with the goals they set for themselves (let alone those set for them often by managers or caring family members). Just having a SMART target (specific , measurable, achievable, realistic or time bound) doesn’t make it happen (just slightly more likely to happen). In the Hunger Games they always said, “may the odds be ever in your favour”. So, what can we do to make the odds around our goals be more favourable?  

92% of people who set goals regularly fail to achieve them. The focus often is on the goal setting but rarely the execution or action part or, in my experience, the goal is just wrong in the first place. As a coach one of the most valuable conversations I can have is to really challenge is if someone really wants to achieve the goal. People often lack the high level intention but have moved straight to a goal. An intention for me is the overall aim, the higher purpose. It is the mental condition that precedes any plan. This must happen before the goal process gets kicked into shape. Spend time working on intentions.  

Goals setting ten top tips

So now we’ve established there is nothing wrong with goals , as long as the intention is there, but what can we do to enhance our chances?  

  1. Push yourself. Really push yourself, with your coach, on what goals you are setting? How much do you really want it? Is it going to be worth your effort?  
  2. Look again. Are goals challenging enough but attainable? Over 1000 studies pointed to high quality goals, carefully set, had an efficacy on both performance and motivation. Are you excited for it? What will success look and feel like? 
  3. Ignore motivation and focus on discipline. To write the goal you’ll need to be motivated but to achieve it requires discipline. What strategies to enhance discipline in your goal area might you develop?  
  4. Get accountable. Who is your accountability partner? You’ve a 65% chance of achieving your goal if you have someone to help you. A coach is perfect for this but so can your partner, close friend or work peer.  
  5. Identify your anti-supporters. Who won’t support you? Who will get it your way or try to subvert you? What will you do to avoid this? 
  6. Report it weekly. The Journal of Applied Psychology shared that you are 40% more likely to achieve your goal if you reported on it weekly.  
  7. Do the detail! A study by Forbes found that people who can describe their goal vividly were more likely to be successful. Using visualisation can really help.  
  8. Know the cost. Are all your goals coherent and aligned? This is the issue that people I coach mostly get stuck on. They haven’t checked each goal as a coherent whole. Do they fit together? Or have you overscheduled, over committed resources or time? What are you prepared to give up or sacrifice to achieve your goal. Who else is involved that will need to support you? There is always a cost for change. Know what this loss/cost is. There will be financial costs, emotional costs, time costs, physical cost. Explore them all. Make peace with it or change the goal or…. fail.  
  9. Have a plan B. “No plan survives first contact”. When it goes wrong (and it will) then have you got a plan B you can drop into rather than just give up?  
  10. Know your first step. When I climb mountains I always think getting out of the car park is the hardest part. Get one foot moving in front of the other and the mountain top soon appears. Getting started is always tough. What will your first step be?  

Time to rework

23% of people quit their new year resolutions at the end of the first week. 43% quit by the end of January. So, before it’s too late get out your pen and paper and rework your 2024 goals. Ask yourself some tougher questions now and refine or redefine your goals. Work with your friends, partner or professional coach to get clarity and cast-iron goals. Do this and the odds will forever be in your favour.  Best of luck!