“Own your new year resolutions!” (Part 1)

WE have come to the time of the year where one could be counting down to a new year. 

It is not uncommon that people have lots of hope for a new year, for this is when we all can hit ‘refresh’ and start new.  

This is maybe why usually during end of year or beginning of year, there tend to be more talks about setting our new year resolutions and goals for a new year.  

However, many studies and research have shown that new year resolutions usually do not survive past even the first month, some studies suggest people even let go of these aspirations after just two weeks into a new year.  

After working with many clients for many years, experience tells me that one of the reasons we do not stay accountable to our new year resolutions or goals can be due to lack of ownership.  

It may seem curious that if we are the one who set those resolutions and goals, how can there be a lack of ownership?

Kevin Neoh

I would suggest that this lack of ownership is mainly due to a lack of clarity. In the sense that while we list out what we want to accomplish or do over the next 12 months, however, we might not really understand why we want to have those outcomes, or why we want to do what we say we want to do. 

For instance, “Subscribe to gym membership and visit the gym three times a week” may be one of my new year resolution. When I confirm this goal, I might not have thought much about why this is important to me, and what is this for.  

Maybe my initial response to this question is “because I want to be healthy.”. However, to think deeper, this is not really a reason, or that it lacks clarity. When our why is not strong or clear to us, it is easy for us to lose accountability and drop the ball halfway.  

If I were to think of why it is important for me to be healthy, my further reason can be so that I can ensure I could live longer to care for my two-year-old son. It would be unthinkable if I were to have heart attack and leave the world too soon, and it would be burdensome to my wife. 

Now, this ‘why’ is very personal to me, and it has a strong pull to keep me engaged. It also helps that when we search for our real reason to do something, those reasons are usually very personal to us, and close to our identity of who we are as a person. 

Based on the example above, my ‘why’ is rooted to my identity of being a father who is responsible to my son and wife. These are the kinds of goals that help me to be who I am, and when we have our goals that are rooted to our being and clear with the reason, we will find it difficult to take our focus away.  

In the next article, we will discuss how one can set new year resolutions and goals that are personal to us, and enhance our quality of life so that we can live a life that is worth living. — Dec 11, 2022


Kevin Neoh is a CFP professional and a certified member from Financial Planning Association Malaysia, he is also a Financial Life Coach.   

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.


Main photo credit: The New York Times

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