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Six characteristics of people who follow through with New Year’s resolutions

Every year I love taking time to reflect on the year that has passed and set some goals for the one ahead. You may be thinking ‘no one ever reaches their New Year’s resolutions’, but research actually shows people are ten times more likely to reach their goals if they set them at the start of the year1.

Now we’ve already talked over and over again about how people set themselves up for sabotage by setting the most common New Year’s resolution2 a weight loss goal – as weight loss approaches have a 97% failure rate in the long term and, depending on the approach, often do more harm than good. And I’ve written about how you can sidestep sabotage and set yourself up for success by setting goals that acknowledge that your happiness, health, and purpose in life are multifaceted (and about far more than just a number on a scale or dress size!). That’s all in my book too (OUT NOW – I CAN’T BELIEVE I’M SAYING THAT!!!), but because I love you I want to go beyond the importance of setting non-weight goals and share another important reflection with you that I think can help make all the difference …

We don’t want you to keep doing the same thing over and over again in 2020 – that’s thinsanity. I hate seeing people sabotage themselves before they even get started, that’s why I have to remind you to set your intentions in a new (non-weight focused) way. But I also hate it when people start off with the best of intentions and then struggle to keep going with them, so I am going to give you some game-changing principles to help you follow through with your New Year’s resolutions, whatever they are3! Specifically, I want to share with you the characteristics of people who get the most out of our work together. Whether it’s one on one, in my workshops or online, my most successful clients have the following six characteristics:

1. They keep an open mind

In my last blog I wrote about the importance of doing something truly different in order to get truly different results. And if you are going to explore new ideas, it’s likely that your brain will find some of them hard to accept at first4. Opening your mind doesn’t mean you need to blindly believe everything about the new approach you are following, but it does mean being prepared to contemplate an alternative way of seeing things.

2. They self-nurture

I believe all the warm fuzzies most psychologists believe: that you deserve good things, that it’s okay to prioritise yourself, and that you’re worth it. But I also think about things practically. Working with thousands of clients, I see that no matter what we’re working on, it never works if you don’t prioritise yourself. Results simply don’t come until you make them important. Taking care of yourself is not selfish – it’s nothing to feel guilty about, it’s just necessary. Hell, you can even enjoy it! So let’s make a pact to get over this hurdle together in 2020 (if you know this is going to be hard, please watch this video).

3. They embrace growing pains

While we could search for underlying reasons why it has been difficult for you to change – and probably find some – the number one reason is that change is sometimes uncomfortable. However, unlike the familiar discomfort of being stuck in the same place, the pains you will experience as a part of making a positive change are ‘good pains’ – I call them ‘growing pains’. I’m not saying it has to be hard to be worthwhile, or that things have to get worse before they get better, just that if we need to experience some discomfort in order to move forwards, let’s make a bit of room for it.

In therapy, when people tell me they’re in a ‘comfort zone’, they are really in a familiar discomfort zone. If they were in a comfort zone, they wouldn’t want me to help them get out of it! So if you need to experience some discomfort – be it fear of the unknown, guilt for saying no, uncertainty about the future, the uneasiness of learning a new skill, some sadness that you are no longer suppressing with food or just plain effort – take a deep breath, summon your inner courage, get any support you need and make yourself worth it! Once you get over the initial pains, you’ll thank yourself for being brave, taste a delicious combination of relief and self-satisfaction, and maybe even realise it wasn’t as hard as you originally thought. (For a little more help overcoming growing pains, read this quick blog!).

4. They cultivate imperfectionism

Many people I see wonder why they can have everything else in order, but struggle so much with their weight. This is because perfectionism works well in a lot of areas of life (you don’t want your pilot not to be a perfectionist!), but terribly when it comes to eating, physical activity, weight and body image concerns. Perfectionism is linked with body image issues (it’s hard to love your body if anything less than perfect is not okay), disordered eating and unhealthy attitudes to exercise, and with both unhealthy weight loss and unhealthy weight gain. So if you have a strong perfectionistic streak, let’s leave it for areas of life to which it’s better suited.

A supermarket run to fill the house with veggies is better than a super-food fest you didn’t have the funds to buy. A ten-minute stroll in the fresh air at lunch is better than an hour-long walk you planned but didn’t do. A night out wearing a dress that’s not your fave is better than a night out you missed because you didn’t have the perfect dress. To paraphrase a quote from Voltaire, ‘Perfection is the enemy of good.’

“The road to your dreams is paved with imperfect action.”

This is how it will work. You’ll set a few intentions for the year. Some you’ll smack out of the park, others you’ll half do, some you’ll remember but something will get in the way of, and others you’ll completely forget about. And that’s fine! This is exactly how it happens with my clients in sessions. I reassure them that it’s okay, and we keep moving forward, content to be doing a good job of things.

5. They have patience (pole pole)

Do you ever feel impatient about change and end up sabotaging yourself by looking for quick fixes? I am constantly encouraging clients to develop patience and focus on slowly creating lasting results. So I had to laugh at myself when I climbed Mt Kilimanjaro, and had to take a big dose of my own medicine. There is a Swahili saying – ‘pole pole’ (pronounced ‘poli poli’) – which means ‘slowly slowly’. Our guides would often remind us ‘pole pole, Kilimanjaro’, meaning, ‘Go slowly. We have a big mountain to climb.’ At times it seemed we were going slower than a snail’s pace and I remember thinking, Are we really going this slowly? I had to have faith that my leaders knew the best way to get me to the top, just as my clients must have faith in me. So when you feel like you can’t wait to reach your goals, remind yourself ‘pole pole’: transforming yourself is a big mountain, and we’re going to get to the top!

A picture I took on one of the many hills that make up Kilimanjaro.
(Lucky I had plenty of time to take photos along the way!) 

6. They do the ‘work’

Every year, I reflect on our most successful clients and have a little laugh to myself because the most extraordinary results always come from the people who do the most ordinary thing – it always comes back to ‘they just did the work’. First and foremost, my clients need to make their appointments, my TMT members need to show up to their workshops, and my TMT Online clients need to log in to their programs! If you’re not working with me in 2020 (and why wouldn’t you be!), it’s worth reflecting on what work you need to do to turn your dreams into a reality this year.

It’s my sincere wish that you will be like my most successful clients, so I wanted to let you know about some essential mindsets that you can bring to the table before you dig in to your New Year’s intentions …

And speaking of doing the work to turn your New Year’s dreams into reality, if you do really want to change, the best way to sidestep sabotage, cultivate the mindset for following through with your goals, and make a New Year’s resolution that will leave you feeling happy, healthy and proud of your achievements in 2020, is to join me for the new and improved Twelve Month Transformationwhere I personally support you to develop these mindsets – and experience all of the benefits to your eating, physical activity, weight and body image that come as a result – in a structured way throughout the entire year. I spent over ten years and put my mind, heart and soul into making a program that is scientifically proven to work for people just like you, and I want to help you achieve all of your goals and dreams in the year ahead, so I’m going to extend the Earlybird offer for the Twelve Month Transformation and Twelve Month Transformation Plus and the 20% off discount code for the Twelve Month Transformation Online for the next 24 hours only.






Yours in creating the mindset for success,


1. Researchers think the changing year is naturally a time of reflection and that the tradition of setting intentions at this time may help with motivation, self-belief, and social support.
2. Followed by doing more exercise, quitting smoking and saving money.
3. And even if they’re not ‘New Year’s resolutions’ per se but just plans, goals or intentions you have for the upcoming year!
4. As you take on new information, you are likely to be confused. That’s okay! Confusion is the natural emotion we experience before clarity, so when you feel it, you are on the way to finding the answer that is right for you. Francis Bacon said, ‘If a man [or woman] will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties.’ So let’s make room for uncertainty and have faith in your chosen process (provided it is one worth having faith in!).