How to Avoid the Yearly Trap of New Year’s Resolution Failures

How to Avoid the Yearly Trap of New Year’s Resolution Failures

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Hello, my dear readers and a happy new year once again.

The year is racing along already, and I bet a few of us are armed with our extensive list of goals and maybe a plan on how to avoid the yearly traps New Year’s resolution failures

After all, the new year is another opportunity for a fresh start, a clean slate to make things right if we can.

Do New Year’s Resolutions Really Work?

The traditional practice of making a new year’s resolution is one way most of us think will help us become a better version of ourselves and create the future we envisage.

But I have lived long enough to know that we will fail woefully at our attempts to make all things new if we don’t take the steps required to make the change.

For this reason, I don’t actively engage in making resolutions at the start of the year. Instead, I take an inventory of things in the previous year with a grateful heart.

Doing so gives me a clear perspective of where I’m and where I want to go from there.

Best of all, it keeps me away from the trap of riding on the bandwagon, of making a resolution I can’t follow through.

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How Are You Doing?

At the time of reading this post, we would have been about almost three weeks into the new year.

If you’re so determined, you could be making good strides along your trajectory of change.

However, many of us fall off this change wagon for various reasons; the lack of focus, or the fizzling out of steam, especially when the euphoria dies down and life gets back to normal.

Or it could just be that the unexpected happened…

 If The Unexpected Happens…

how to avoid New Year’s resolution failures in 2021.
When the unexpected happens

Now, we don’t know what life holds ahead of us, for even with our projections and hard work, the unexpected still happens.

In August 2013, I heard the news no mother wants to hear!

My adopted son, Frank, who was 14+ years old at the time, was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer on his right arm.

He had just finished his Junior Certificate Exams, full of dreams and plans for the future.
We began aggressive treatment immediately, which involved chemotherapy and limb saving surgery. We had it in mind to beat this beast of a disease.

Soon after the surgery, to save his hand from being amputated, he started practising writing again.

He soon recovered, and in February 2014, was declared fit to return home. Upon our return, we continued to carry out routine tests and checks.

We were hopeful and optimistic that he had a chance at surviving the disease.

By summer, we started making plans on the way forward with his schooling.

He lost a year because of the disease and didn’t want to go back to his former school, as his classmates and friends had moved up to fifth class.

I guess he didn’t want to remember what had happened to him.

As we worked on getting him into another school, he was already researching the university he wanted to attend and the course he wanted to study.

He was planning for his future three years in advance.

How to avoid new year's resolution failures in 2021
Attending to the university of his choice

The thought of attending the university of his choice and studying architecture excited him. It was his own way of dealing with his setback.

Life was going on as planned until we went for his August checkup, only to discover that the cancer was back with vengeance, this time to kill him.

The tests showed spots on his lungs. Shortly after that, another tumour surfaced on his right arm.

Life didn’t make sense to me anymore

Once again, my life flipped upside down. I felt a churn in my stomach. Life didn’t make any sense to me anymore.

The Doctors said he had to do several rounds of chemotherapy. This time, there were no guarantees that the treatment would affect the tumour.

In the end, he got fed up and didn’t want to continue with the treatment. As expected, his condition continued to deteriorate, and by February 2015, the following year, my boy passed away!

Five years later, the world is saddled with a global pandemic (Coronavirus) that is still ravaging continents.

Like me, I’m sure many of us had made some plans that didn’t happen due to the pandemic.

Against the backdrop of life’s unexpected turns, we might struggle with the rationale behind making plans and setting goals for the future. At least, I did, after I lost my son.

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Lessons Learned

You might want to ask me if making plans and setting future goals is an act in futility. The answer to this question is a resounding NO!

I have learned from my loss and now this pandemic that life doesn’t stand still simply because you’ve been dealt a hard blow.

If you don’t have any life goals, you would be wasting valuable capital and resource, which is you.

Worst of all, your refusal to live meaningfully would be an insult to those who died without achieving their dreams and aspirations.

How to Avoid the Yearly Trap of New Year’s Resolution Failures In 2021

In setting out our plans for the year, I asked Sunny Enebi (my husband and a certified trainer and executive coach) for some tips on avoiding the yearly trap of new year’s resolution failures.

Below are some insights he shared with me.

# 1 Don’t look at the new year’s resolution as an event; it’s a process and a journey

According to Mr Enebi, many of us fall into the trap of seeing our new year’s resolution as part of the new year celebrations without considering the hard work required to actualise our goal.

To not fail, your new year’s resolution should be a goal you would have thought out beforehand so that you can work on it over time.

Tip one: You can decide to take an inventory of where you are and seek room for further improvement.

# 2 You can set new goals at any time of the year

Enebi believes you can set new goals or make changes at any time of the year, not just on January 1st.

He says:

“The more you refuse to subscribe to the norm that views new year’s day as a time to make changes, the better for you.”

Tip two: A good time to make a change is when you realise things can’t continue the way they are.

# 3 Have your long-term goals broken into manageable sizes

When you want to see something happen in the long term, say in a week, month, year, and so on, you would need to carry out daily, weekly, or monthly tasks to help you accomplish your long-term goal.

For example, if your long-term goal is to do up your baby nursery, buy a family-friendly car, or encourage your child to read 24 books in the year, you must do something daily, weekly, or monthly to accomplish the goal.

Say, for instance, your long-term goal is to get your child to read 24 new books in a year; you can’t wish that into happening, can you?

You would have to make conscious steps to get there.

You may get your child to read two books in a month. But to read two books in a month, they have to read a book a fortnight.

For that to happen, they have to read a book for a certain number of hours every day.

You can see how taking little steps every day goes a long way in helping you accomplish your goal.

Tip three: Take deliberate actions towards your goal every day.

#4   Set S. M. A. R. T. Goals

Another thing you should do, according to Mr. Enebi, is to set SMART goals.

S. M. A. R. T is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound goals.

Set S.M.A.R.T Goals

Be specific and very clear on your goal. For instance, my goal is to do up my baby’s nursery.

Let the goal be measurable. In other words, you can track or measure your progress.

For example, if you’re doing up your baby nursery, you can measure your progress by saying, I have completed the floor, or I have painted half of the room, or I have bought 50% of the furniture.”

Your goals should be achievable, not something too far fetched! They should be within the realms of reality yet stretching your ability just a tiny bit!

Be realistic too. Here is a question, can you do up your baby nursery from scratch in two hours?

It’ll take a lot to do a new floor, paint, do the fittings, buy and arrange the furniture in two hours!

Your goals should be time-bound. Avoid leaving things open-ended. Set a time to start and finish what you set out to do.

You can say to yourself; I want to finish doing up my baby nursery in two days, or one week, or one month, and then do things daily to get it finished on your set time.

# 5 Be kind to yourself

Be kind to yourself if things don’t go for you as planned. As you set your goals, make room for adjustments as you go along.

Enebi says:

“Nobody predicted that Covid-19 was going to happen, but when it came, a lot of goals that were already set had to be realigned to cope with the current situation.”

# 6 To every plan, add a prayer

Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed.” Proverbs 16:3 NLT
For those who believe in prayer, I would say, to every plan you make, add a prayer. I’m a firm believer in this.

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Plans and Goals are Still Important In life

Although life looks uncertain, Covid-19 wise and now the fallouts from the current Russian and Ukrainian crisis, it doesn’t mean that we can’t live our lives intentionally.

I will say, regardless of how things may appear, still set goals for your future.

We might be tempted to follow the tide of uncertainty by adopting the just go with the flow and see where life takes us, attitude.

If you do, you will wake up at the end of the year, realising that you have just let 365 days of your life go to waste.


Every day is a clean slate. Your big dreams can happen only when you take intentional, consistent steps!

Please leave a comment reply. Stay safe. Happy new year once again.

Ibinabo Enebi

Ibinabo Enebi

I'm Ibinabo Enebi, and I can now safely say that my life is a beautiful journey of ups and downs. What had appeared to be fragments of unfulfilled dreams and missed opportunities were, in fact, the dots and colours necessary to create this worthy experience I call my life. I'm a wife, a mother of four, a sister, a friend, and an aunt. I hold a BA (Hons) in English Studies and a Master of Arts degree.

8 thoughts on “How to Avoid the Yearly Trap of New Year’s Resolution Failures

  1. Ingofuro Wakam
    Ingofuro Wakam says:

    Great piece. Proud of you darling sister.

    1. Ibi

      Thank you, I appreciate it. 💕

  2. Toyin

    I enjoyed reading this Ibi.

    “Your big dreams can happen only when you take intentional consistent steps!”

    How to attain consistency is one out of my challenges. I am working slowly on this God help me.

    1. Ibi

      Hi Toyin,
      I am glad you found this post helpful. I have an event on Saturday 23rd of January at 6pm GMT.

      You can ask your questions.
      Thank you

      You can join us by using the link.

      Ibi Speaks… is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

      Topic: How to avoid new year’s resolution failures in 2021

      Time: 6pm GMT
      (7pm Nigerian Time)

      Join Zoom Meeting

      Meeting ID: 354 976 5949
      Passcode: k9hmSj

  3. Florence Ajala
    Florence Ajala says:

    I attended the Facebook live event on the 23rd of January 2021 on how to avoid new year’s resolutions failure and I must say it was an insightful talk. I learnt that goals have to be measurable, achievable and broken down into small goals. Above all prayer is the key to achieving any goal. Thanks

    1. Ibi

      Hi Florence,
      Thank you. I’m delighted to know that you gained alot of insight from the Facebook Live event I hosted. The key to reaching your goal is to set SMART goals. I wish you a successfulyear ahead.
      Thank you

  4. Danielle Williams

    Another point I would like to add, is prepare for setbacks emotionally and with respect to resources. If you cant run outside then jump rope or any other stationary cardio. Alternatives are everywhere we just need to be smart about it.

    1. Ibinabo Enebi

      Thank you Danielle. You are absolutely right about preparing for set backs emotionally. We never really put that into consideration.

      Alternatives is a big one too.

      Thank you so much for this Danielle.

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