It\’s the New Year, and time to make a new start with all your good intentions to have a productive, fulfilling, happy year. But sometimes it\’s a struggle. We get sidetracked, bogged down. Before we know it, our good intentions have vanished into thin air. What hinders us?

Negative motivation. “I\’d better get this promotion or I\’ll be really angry.” “I\’d better lose 20 pounds or I\’ll be so embarrassed about how I look.” “I\’d better not get a bad grade or my record will be tarnished.” All negative motivators. Pretty soon you\’ll feel bad when you think about your goals, and then you won\’t want to think about them. It\’s human nature. But when you don\’t think about your goals, you are less likely to achieve them. So find a positive reason for working toward you goal. You\’ll feel physically better if you lose weight. Your clothes will fit better. You\’ll be healthier.

Getting Easily Discouraged. If your goal is worth having, it\’s worth a little effort to get it. You may have to persist—try, try again. Or maybe, if you didn\’t achieve your goal one way, step back and try another way. Ruminate. Be creative. Often the direct path does not yield success, but another way might. Perhaps you have been lucky in life and things have come your way effortlessly, so you aren\’t used to overcoming problems. But problems can be a strange gift. Because when you struggle to get past them and find a resolution, reaching your goal is all the sweeter.

Blaming Others. “I never get any luck.” “I would\’ve gotten the promotion, but my coworker undermines me.” “I can\’t ever catch a break.” Whether you blame Fate or another human being, it\’s just not helpful. Remember you want to achieve your goal, not wallow in excuses. Everyone\’s got problems; everyone\’s had a terrible childhood or bad luck or some outside force that\’s blocked their success. But if that\’s all you focus on, you get stuck and you\’re likely to stay stuck. Shake it off. Move on. Own your problems and when you do, you can begin to create a plan to overcome them.

Don\’t let your own bad habits undermine your success. Learn to identify what hinders you and make it a priority to change those habits—possibly the best New Year\’s resolution ever.

Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional.  If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch.  You can reach her here: