How to Set Goals not Resolutions for a successful 2019

It’s totally ok to have grand plans for your new year and I’ll let you in on a little secret, you can achieve those plans – so long as you set Goals and not Resolutions. 

The difference? A resolution is an intention. It’s like saying you’ll clean the house today but then re-runs of Friends is on and you can’t resist, so you put off the cleaning until another day. You don’t actually commit to doing the task, so you may or may not do it. With a goal however, you make it very clear what your intention is and most importantly WHY.

I speak about the “Why” of your goals all the time. It can take clients a good few weeks to define the “why” for the goal they want to achieve and sometimes during the coaching process, they even change the “why” completely by the end of a programme as they discover more about themselves and what they actually do want.

You can apply this technique to any goal you want for 2019. Write down the goal – it’s important to physically write things down as your brain absorbs the information better that way. Then, ask yourself why? for every answer you give, up to a total of 5 Whys. When you do this, you’re digging deep into yourself and your true intentions. The process also gives you clarity on how you might achieve your goal and provide you with the motivation required to keep you focussed on it.

Here are a few examples to help you understand the difference between a goal and an outcome:

  • Money is not a goal. It’s the outcome of a goal.
  • Weight loss is not a goal. Healthy lifestyle is.
  • Changing jobs is not a goal. Working in a place that makes you xyz, is.
  • Finding a partner is not a goal. Having love and respect for yourself is. A partner is the outcome.

Some of those might be common goals that you’ve tried to achieve already. You’ll notice the differences that are required to really create a goal that works, that has all the intention required to keep you focussed and the motivation needed to be consistent and determined to follow through.

This is a really fun exercise but can also be difficult, so give yourself some time to reflect when the “Why” becomes more difficult to answer. Sometimes deep rooted thoughts and beliefs might pop up and you’ll need to work through them. Ensure you do the reflective work and allow the thoughts to occur, feel them and address them in your plan.

If you’re finding it hard to do this, or you stumble on a difficult “Why” – sign up to my Coach &GO mail >>HERE<< where you can ask me anything and I’ll coach you through it. You’ll also receive weekly coaching tips from me.


  • Puja McClymont

    Life and Business Coach

    Puja McClymont is a certified Life and Business Coach in London. Helping professionals achieve clarity and direction in their work and personal lives by improving mindset and confidence. Subtly combining NLP techniques, positive Psychology and Wellbeing coaching, Puja focuses on helping clients manage the pressures of modern living by creating a life by design, with purpose. Host of the Self Care 101 Podcast - a wellbeing podcast that has practical self care tips and support to help you achieve your full potential.