Executive Coaching, Business Coaching, Life Coaching, Edinburgh, Scotland.             Aeona Coaching and Training: Dr Sue Mitchell MAC AMInstLM
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Evolution through Coaching
Strategy. Adapting. Change. Performance.

New Year Resolutions and Goal Setting.
Set yourself EXACT 4P goals you will WANT to keep and
achieve all you aspire to!

Are you setting yourself a New Year's Resolution this year? Will this be a positive boost to you in 2010 or will you find your resolution starts well and fizzles after a week or two? Have you found that resolutions you made in the past just fizzled out so now you don't bother with them? Do you find that you tend to make resolutions about what you should do this year, what you feel others expect you should do, or what you should stop doing?


If this sounds familiar, then why not try setting yourself a resolution this year that you will WANT to keep? Here are some coaching hot tips around setting goals that will help you! (These apply to goals in your personal life and in work!)


Perhaps you are already familiar with "SMART" goals that are often used in business. They are:

  • Specific.
  • Measurable.
  • Agreed and understood, or Achievable.
  • Realistic.
  • Time Framed.

This can be a good start, but often doesn't quite hit the buttons to make a goal that you feel really motivated to work at and keep. Possibly it's because SMART goals are designed to be made with someone else, perhaps your boss or your staff, and they need to be not too unmanageable and discouraging. SMART goals might also be framed negatively. For example: to lose 10kg in weight by May 2010 and keep track by aiming to lose about 0.5kg a week. This is a realistic amount of weight to lose sustainably. This resolution is specific and measurable (10kg, 0.5kg/week), agreed with myself and achievable and realistic (about 1lb a week is generally recommended to be sustainable for long-lasting weight loss) and time framed (by May 2010).

Does that goal feel exciting? Your own goals need to be personally motivating and really hit your buttons. A way to do this is to start with the end in mind – what benefit does your resolution bring you? You need to know how you will recognise when you have achieved your goal! Spend some time to visualise how it will be when you achieve your resolution and also what you do get there, to make it feel more real and achievable. See what you are doing, how you feel, and what is happening. Write it down.


Now think how you can make your goal more than SMART – and make it EXACT with 4Ps:

  • EXiting – positive and inspiring.
  • Assessable – measurable in some way.
  • Challenging – stretching, energising and inspiring so it is motivating and desired.
  • Time Framed – within a deadline.

Then use the 4ps to write down your goals and make sure they are:

  • Personal.
  • Present tense.
  • Positively stated.
  • Possible – this is a goal you have the ability to achieve, even if it is stretching or you might need to learn new skills or involve other people in order to do so!


My SMART goal above to lose weight is now reframed as something like: By May, I'm feeling healthier and I can fit into my favourite jeans again because I am 10kg lighter. I am eating a balanced diet with "right-sized" portions of healthy tasty foods that I like and I am regularly exercising in ways that I enjoy. At the least, I go for 2 walks or cycle rides a week, and one evening class of Yoga or body balance. I write times/dates into my diary and/or I arrange to do it with a friend so exercise doesn't get pushed aside by work or other commitments. I am having fun and challenging myself by seeing how much further I can walk or cycle in an hour each week and how many new places we can discover. I am also keeping motivated by celebrating every 1kg that I am lighter and challenging myself to come up with a different celebration each time.


Does this resolution sound more fun, exciting and desirable? I think so! Why not see if you can give your New Year Resolutions the same treatment?


Now some tips to help you stay motivated and keep your more exciting resolution!

  • Write your plan! How will you achieve your resolution? What will you do? How and when will you do it? What "milestone" or mini-goals will you have that show you are on track? Break your resolution down into small, more easily attainable steps that together will add up to your whole resolution. Draw up your action plan. Write specific times and dates and actions into your diary.
  • Develop your confidence and make sure you do what you plan! Make your plan happen. It is easy to become discouraged and find change daunting or difficult. Start with some easy small steps that you know you can achieve. Build up from there. You CAN do it!
  • Involve others! Tell your friends and family so they know about it and can support you and help keep you committed to your resolution. If it's about work, involve your colleagues. If you feel you can't do this for any reason, or you would like someone non-judgemental and independent from your own circle of friends and colleagues, you could get a coach who can be your partner for support and encouragement. (A coach can also help you draw up an action plan that you feel excited about being committed to!)
  • Pin up a short snappy reminder somewhere you will always see it - e.g. on the fridge door, or on your computer. Write a few key words or post a picture that reminds you of why you are doing it and keeps you motivated.
  • Write a list of all the positive reasons to change your behaviour and keep your resolution, all the positive benefits that come from it. Write a list of all the negative consequences of not changing. Keep this list somewhere handy you can see it often and remind yourself of why your resolution is good and exciting.
  • Be flexible! Imagine what obstacles might come up and think how you would adjust to cope with this – have a plan B for contingencies, so you are mentally prepared for potential setbacks and can keep on course. Be aware too, that your resolution itself might change, since as your life changes, your goals, dreams and aspirations can change too. Be kind to yourself and feel ok about changing your goal to one that you will care more about.
  • REWARD yourself! Celebrate every step and milestone along the way. Make it fun, interesting and entertaining.
  • Remember a resolution is not just for New Year! Use these tips to stay committed to it for the longer term. It's great to gain momentum from the tradition of setting resolutions at the New Year and do remember you can also set goals and resolutions at any time.

Enjoy achieving your revamped New Year's Resolution and aspirations for 2010!

I'd love to hear from you if you have a go at revamping your goals using these tips and please keep me posted on how it works for you!
Dr Sue Mitchell       info@aeona.co.uk


A coach is your partner to help you make changes in your life or business that will release your potential and propel you to new heights. Your coach helps you stay committed to those changes so you can achieve all you aspire to.

Call or email to arrange a confidential, no obligation discussion about how you could develop your resolutions and strategy to achieve your aspirations. See how our clients have benefited from coaching with Dr Sue Mitchell, MAC AMInstILM.

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"People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing." Dale Carnegie

"If you only look at what is, you might never attain what could be." Anonymous


Evolution: (noun) A gradual development. An exercise carried out in accordance with a procedure or plan.
Evolution through Coaching: Improved performance and desired changes achieved using a strategy to adapt people's attitudes, behaviours and actions.

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