Failed New Year resolutions are almost a cliché, but yours don’t have to be.

Here are some goal-setting tips (inspired by the acrostic N-E-W Y-E-A-R) based on the theory of motivation that will supercharge 2014 for you:


Begin with goals that nudge you in the right direction. In other words, start small.

Generally, there are two ways you can set a goal — starting small and well, then moving on to bigger goals, or starting big and badly, then getting better at it.

From personal experience, starting small and well is definitely the way forward.

History is filled with examples of giant leaps of achievement reached by consistent tiny steps.

Google Books is one such example. It is rumoured that when Mr Larry Page announced that he wanted to bring the world’s books online, people called him crazy.

He ignored them nonetheless and began scanning books, one page at a time.

He timed how long he took to scan a book, and calculated that the world’s libraries can be reasonably indexed, given the right execution.

The rest, as they say, is history. This is the immense power of small goals that nudge you into big results.


Some 99 per cent of New Year resolutions fail because they are too vague.

Yes, you want to lose weight, but how much weight? Yes, you want to increase your income, but by how much?

The devil is in the details, so never ever waffle about your goals.

To illustrate the power of exact goals, let us look at the story of accomplished entrepreneur and motivational author John Assaraf.

Mr Assaraf might be successful now, but that wasn’t always the case. In his early days when he was still struggling to make ends meet, he set a very specific vision for his future, including the kind of house he wanted to live in.

He was so exact about it that he even had a magazine cutting of the house pasted on his vision board.

Over the next five years, his business picked up and his wealth expanded tremendously.

One day, when he was clearing his storeroom, he rediscovered that old vision board, and was overcome with tears of amazement — right smack in the middle of that board was a picture of the very house he was living in.

Therefore, be very exact about the goals you set.

Commit to measurable goals like “I want to lose 10kg over the next six months”, and you will witness the magic of transformation for yourself.


Goals are wishes with deadlines tagged on.

Your goals are not goals until you have determined a specific deadline that will psychologically force you into action.

Too many people are too afraid of setting deadlines even though they know that open-ended goals are the No. 1 cause of resolution failures. Why?

Because deep down, they are fearful.

Of what, you might ask?

The fear of failure.

Most people are risk-averse and terribly scared of failure, and thus having concrete deadlines means a very real chance of failing.

However, what they don’t realise is that by omitting a deadline, they have already failed.

The real tragedy in life is not to have aimed for the stars and failed, but to have aimed for the gutter and succeeded.

So step over your fear, set concrete and reasonable deadlines, and then commit to meeting them.


Article by Seah Ying Cong, a communications and leadership expert with Training Edge International. For more information, e-mail or visit