001: Why Resolutions Don’t Work | Tanya Dalton Skip to the content
January 17, 2017   |   Episode #:

001: Why Resolutions Don’t Work

In This Episode:

In this episode, we focus on goal setting. This is part one of a three-part series where I will break down how to set your goals and make them achievable. We’ll discuss why New Year’s Resolutions tend to fail and how you can change your mindset to create goals that work. I’ll share my three step process that helps insure goal setting success.

Show Transcript:

The Big Idea

It’s not you that failed, it’s the goal setting system.

Questions I Answer

  • What’s the best goal setting strategy?
  • How can I set better goals?
  • Why do I always struggle with my New Years Resolutions?

Key Topics in the Show

  • The goal setting strategy setting that results in success.

  • How to avoid the guilt and shame of not finishing your New Years Resolutions.

  • How a 90-day sprint can help you run a marathon.

Resources and Links

  • Please Note: Unfortunately, the download mentioned in this episode is no longer available.
  • Get the goal setting planner from inkWELL Press
Show Transcript

Hello, hello everyone. Welcome to Productivity Paradox. I’m your host, Tanya Dalton,  and this is episode one, the anatomy of goal setting. I love that this the very first  topic of this very first episode of this podcast that we are going to be tackling. It’s  actually just the first part in this three part series. I love goal setting. It makes me so  happy to watch people set and achieve goals and I know, from my own personal  experience, what huge difference setting goals can make. This is part one of this  three-part series where we are going to be breaking down how to set your goals and  make them achievable. I think that is really the key. It’s not just about how to set  goals because everybody set goals from time to time, but it’s really about making an  actionable plan, so you can achieve them.  

 One of the things I hear from a lot of people is that they don’t set goals at all.  Some of them say, “Oh, I set New Year’s resolutions every year, they don’t really  work out,” and I have to be honest, I don’t like New Year’s resolutions. I don’t like  them at all and you know why? Because I really don’t think they work. To be honest  with you, 25% of New Year’s resolutions are abandoned within that first week. That’s  crazy, right? That means that by January 7th, one in four people feels the guilt and  the shame of having failed their resolutions. Really, it’s not their fault because New  Year’s resolutions don’t work. People tend to set them and forget them. They think of  it like a crock pot, I guess, I don’t know. They throw all the vegetables in in the  morning and then them come home to a nice home cooked meal. That’s not how it’s  supposed to work. Real goal setting takes nurturing, it takes attention, it needs to be  treated like a priority. You can’t just set it and forget it.  

 A lot of New Year’s resolutions are really not achievable or they’re just too  vague. People say things like, “Oh, I want to lose weight or I want to get better at my  running” and they don’t set specific goals. The other issue with New Year’s  resolutions is a lot of people think of them as one big year-long goal and you may  really prefer and thrive with three-month goals. To be honest with you, that’s my  preferred method. I really like to do what I call 90-day sprints because they’re nice  and short, they’re achievable, I’m able to feel successful and then I move on to my  next goal. Really, it’s not that you can’t create your goals, it’s that New Year’s  resolutions are working against you because when you’re not successful with them,  the following year, you already kind of start in a negative place and you think, “Ah,  they never seem to work out for me,” but this is your year.  

 This is the year that we’re going to make a difference because we are going to  be setting goals and achieving them. You want to know why? Because we are going  to break it down together and I’m going to be working with you each step of the  way. We are going to figure out your why, your what and your how, which is really  the key to getting your goals to work for you. I believe goals should be personal.  Goals are meant to be customized to you and I think that’s one of the things that 



people forget about. They think that everyone has the same list of 10 goals and if you  really take your time and you figure out what are the goals that are important to you,  you’re going to feel a lot more excited about them, so you’re going to feel passionate  and you’re going to really want to focus on them. The more excited you feel about  

your goals and the more passionate you feel about them because they’re tied to your  priorities, the more likely you are to be successful.  

 Now, one of the things too that’s different about goal setting versus New  Year’s resolutions is New Year’s resolutions are generally said around the table out  loud and goals are more likely to happen when you write them down. If you know  anything about me, you knew I would insist they be written, right? After all, I make  paper planning products, organizational notepads and planners and things like that,  so you knew that I would really think that they needed to be written down. If you  don’t want to believe me, you can maybe believe the people at Harvard because  Harvard did this study where graduate students were asked if they wrote down their  goals. Out of those graduate students, 13 had goals in mind, but they were not going  to write them down, 3% had goals written on paper, and 84% had no goals set  whatsoever. So, 10 years pass and the researchers went back to those graduate  students and asked them how they were doing. Now, the people who had set  abstract goals, who set them in their head, they were making two times the amount  of money as the ones with no goals. They were doing pretty good. However, the  ones who wrote their goals down were making on average 10 times more than the  other 94% combined. That’s crazy, right?  

 You can see goal setting when it’s written down can obviously make a huge  difference. Why is it that writing it down is so important? First of all, it forces you to  clarify what it is you want to accomplish. When you say goals out loud, it doesn’t  take a whole lot of thought to put your words out there, but when you’re putting pen  to paper, you really think about the words you’re writing and it makes a big  difference because that will really help you hone in on exactly what it is you’re  wanting to accomplish. It also makes a difference because it enables you to see your  progress. Progress can feel a little bit abstract, so when you write something down it  makes it into a physical item, something that you can post or you can look at or you  can see and it’s easier to keep track of. When you don’t have a goal and you don’t  have a map and you don’t know where you’re going, it’s so much more difficult to  become the person that you really want to be and that’s really what goal setting is  about. It’s about becoming the best you that you can be, the person that you really  want to be and focusing on the priorities that are important to you. Customizing and  personalizing your goals is the key here. I cannot stress that enough.  

©Productivity Paradox 2017 Page 2 of 7



 Keep in mind too that goal setting is not just about personal goals, you know,  losing weight, running a half marathon, things like that. Those are all good, but there  are other types of goals too. There are business goals. Recently, Staples put on a  national small business survey and they interviewed 300 small businesses, 80% of  those that surveyed said that they do not keep track of their business goals, 77% of  them have yet to achieve the vision for their company. Goal setting works whether  you are a business owner or you work for a company or you’re the CEO of your  house. Goal setting really can make a difference, especially when you’re writing it  down.  

 Here’s what we’re going to be doing in the course of the next three episodes.  We are going to be breaking it down and we are going to be talking, again, about the  why, the what, and the how of how to make sure that you set and achieve your goals.  Don’t worry if you have not achieved goals in the past because we are leaving that  behind. We’re moving away from those New Year’s resolutions and we are setting  manageable goals for you. We’re going to break it down and we’re going to do this  together. I’m going to walk through each step. We will be working hand in hand with  exercises and activities and things like that to really help you figure out what are the  goals that are important to you. Because really what it’s all about is helping you feel  successful and happy about achieving your goals. That is really what it’s all about.  

 By establishing a long-term plan, you’re going to be able to visualize and  review your goals daily and you’re going to be able to make course corrections when  you need to. There will be times where you need to because goals should be flexible.  This is going to allow you to bring your future goals into focus today. It’s going to  allow you to really start working towards your big goals in life. I’m really excited  about this because everyone needs a plan, but we are going to be creating an  actionable plan that is customized to you and that’s what’s different about the style  of goal setting that I really talk about and I advocate. I really think everything we talk  about when we talk about productivity and when we talk about goal setting and we  talk about prioritizing, it really needs to be customized to you because everybody is  different.  

 There are three areas most people use for goal setting. We’ve already talked  about two of them. There are personal goals, things like I’m going to run a half  marathon in six months. There are work goals, I will get a promotion by the end of  the year. There are also family goals and let me stop you right there before we get  too far into family goals because a lot of people have in mind when I say the word  family that a family is a husband and a wife and 2.5 kids and a dog, and that’s not  necessarily true. A family is any time there is someone that you are partnered with. It  could just be a family of two of you. It could be your partner. It could be your  

©Productivity Paradox 2017 Page 3 of 7



business partner. It could be your husband or your wife or your boyfriend or your  girlfriend or your fiance, but a family is anyone that you’re working really closely  with. Your family goal could be something like we will focus on finances and save  money to go on a trip together next summer. Keep that in mind when we are talking  about goal setting because each area should really kind of get its own focus.  

 Here’s the thing, I feel like I hear the word balance thrown around an awful lot  lately. It’s like the new buzz word. Everyone talks about balance. Here’s what I have  to say about that. Balance is bogus. I know that’s kind of a hot opinion to have, but  it’s true because when we talk about balance, it sounds like everything has to be  really even and it’s not about being balance. It’s really about finding harmony in the  different areas of your life. There are going to be times where one area is needing  more attention than the others and that’s okay. It’s about finding ways for them to  work together. If you’re going really hardcore for some work goals, perhaps, then  we’ll want to make sure that you’re personal and your family goals are not quite as  rigorous. If you have a really big personal goal, your family goals and your work goals  should be a little bit easier because harmony is about these three areas working  together to create a happy lifestyle. Absolutely, not about them being perfectly even  because that is not going to happen, not in real life, it’s really not.  

 Let’s talk about how real goal setting works. We’ve talked about that they  need to be written. You knew I was going to go over that again, right? We talked  about how they need to be customized. Let’s talk about how we’re going to  customize them. We’re going to be going through a series of exercises together and  we’re going to be going through all three steps of this process. Episode one, today, is  about reflection. That’s our why. Episodes two will be all about projection, our what,  what we want our goals to be. Episode three will be focused on action and that is our  how, how we’re going to make these goals happen. Each one is going to get its own  episode and we’ll be going through together with exercises and activities, so you are  going to feel confident and comfortable at the very end of this whole series that you  are going to achieve your goals.  

 Let’s get started talking about reflection. This is what sets our why and, to me,  this is one of the most important things that a lot of people miss with goal setting.  This is what makes it personalized. I really want to figure out what are the things you  want to focus on. We are going to reflect back and look over the past 12 months and  figure out what we did well. I love focusing on the good. We’re also going to focus  on what did not go so good. We’re going to be looking for gaps in places that need  to be filled because that’s where you’re going to really want to focus your goal  setting. Looking at the things we did well will act as a spring board to push our goals  even further. Now, I’m not going to lie to you, this is not going to be all sunshine and  

©Productivity Paradox 2017 Page 4 of 7



lollipops here. We’re going to dig deep to get some real answers, even when they’re  difficult to accept. That is really where we start to see growth when we look at the  hard things, the ugly parts, the things that we don’t want to think about, the things  we don’t really like. The only way to change and to grow is really to acknowledge it.  

 That’s what we’re going to start with and I know it’s not going to be easy, but I  really encourage you not to skip over this part. What I have done is I have designed  15 questions for you to answer and I have them listed on my show notes, which are  under inkwellpress.com/podcast and you’ll find them under episode one, because I  don’t want you to answer them right now. I want you to write them down because  we know writing them down will help, and I want you to take your time and really  think about them. I know that right now while you’re listening to this podcast, you  are maybe driving in your car or you’re working out at the gym. I want you to set  aside some time so you can focus on these questions and really dig deep. I don’t  want you thinking about this in your head. They need to be written down. Just like  Harvard to us that they need to be written down, we’re going to be writing these  down. Now, I love the idea of having a planner or a journal or some sort of dedicated  space, a notebook, some place where you can have dedicated space for you to  dream, make plans, and most importantly see your progress with goal setting. I really  think that makes a difference when you can flip back and forth through the pages  and see how you’ve grown.  

 I will post these show notes on my site, so you can always pull them off after  listening here. Again, that will be at inkwellpress.com/podcast under episode one.  When you’re answering these questions, you can answer them under one of the  following categories, family, personal or work and you can do it three times to  answer them. I’m going to go over just a couple of them. I’m going to skip around  just to give you an idea of what these questions sound like. Question two says what  advice would you give yourself 12 months ago? If you could jump in your DeLorean  time machine with ole Marty McFly, and you could go back 12 months, what advice  would you give yourself? Question five asks what experience would you like to  repeat? Followed by the tougher question number six. What would you never want  to do again? Question 10, what’s the biggest problem you’ve solved this past year?  Question 12, what were some missed opportunities. You can see there’s some  questions where we focus on the good and there are some questions where we’re  really going to go into some of those places that are not quite as comfortable to talk  about.  

 Here’s what I want to say to you. I really want you to take your time and I want  you to answer these truthfully, even when the truth hurts. I know sometimes the truth  can hurt a little bit, but it’s when we pull back those bandages on those old wounds,  

©Productivity Paradox 2017 Page 5 of 7



that’s how we really start to heal. I know this is a hard exercise because I do this  myself. I do it every year. I look at it and there are things that I think are really hard to  talk about and there are parts of my life that are not pretty, they’re not Instagram  worthy or Pinterest worthy. I really want to sweep them underneath the rug and not  ever think about them ever again, but I knew that if I spend some time looking at  these things I am going to be able to see some growth. It’s important because  growth can be a little bit uncomfortable. Truth is really important here. We’re going  to look at these as learning opportunities, not as things that have been failures. I  really want you to think about it that way. Help us to learn about what you really  want to focus your life on by answering these questions and who the person is that  you really want you to be.  

 Here’s what I want you to do right now. I want you to set aside some time for  you to go to the podcast notes and I want you to take your time to answer them.  Right now, while you’re listening grab a post it note and write yourself a reminder,  set a reminder on your phone, whatever it is you need to do to remind yourself to  take your time and go inkwellpress.com/podcast and answer these questions under  episode one. Do that right now. Did you pause the podcast? Did you do it? I hope  you did because we are ready to take a deep breath and start digging in. We are  going to be using the answers to these questions [inaudible 00:16:51] episode two.  That is where we’re really going to be able to customize and personalize these goals  for you, because we’re going to look to see what are the gaps, what are the areas  that you are wanting to see some change in. What are the patterns that you’re seeing  over and over again that you maybe want to either exemplify or you want to change.  There’s lots of things that we’re going to be finding in these.  

 That’s what’s going to help us find the goals that are meant to be yours. Goal  setting is a personal process. Let me say that again. Goal setting is a personal  process. It needs to be customized and personalized just for you because you are  unique and different. You are the only person like you, so only you can set goals that  are designed for you. I promise this whole exercise will be worth it. I really look  forward to us working together to help you increase your productivity and to find  your happiness and your contentment with your life through goal setting and  prioritizing and all of those things that are really going to bring a lot more happiness  to your days. Episode two will be focused on projection and we’ll be using the  answers from your reflection sheet to look forward to what our goals need to be for  the coming year.  

 I really want to connect with you because I am really excited about this. I  would love for you to visit me over at inkwellpress.com. I have some social buttons  there on my website or you can find me pretty much on any social media platform under the user name @inkwellpress. Feel free to shoot me some questions or just  pop over to say hello, I’d love that. I really want to encourage you to take your time,  work on your reflection sheet and let’s meet again for episode two, so we can figure  out the goals that are designed just for you. Until next time, happy planning.  

**This transcript is created by AI, so please excuse any typos, misspellings and grammar mistakes.

Tanya Dalton is a top female productivity keynote speaker and author. Her books on productivity and purpose have been named the best business book of the year by Fortune magazine. Tanya speaks about productivity, time management, habits and goal.