We all do it. New Year comes around, and with the flurry of cork-popping and the flip of the calendar page, we tell ourselves all the things we’re going to ‘do’ this year. But when that New Year feeling passes, do you stick to your plans? Or do all your good intentions fall by the wayside?

Here’s some of the common reasons I find people don’t achieve their goals. If any of these seem familiar, perhaps it’s time to try a new tack, and make this year your best yet.

You don’t write your goals down.

It seems obvious doesn’t it, but so many people don’t write down what they want to achieve. Capturing your goals is a great way to focus your energy and help you to attract what it is you want in your life. Every year, I hold a Career Vitality goal setting workshop where we learn some great techniques for expressing and clarifying our ambitions. It can really help to wrap some detail around your goals: What is it? What does it feel like when you’ve achieved it? Who is there with you? Write it all down and put a picture next to it to remind you. Connecting with the emotion of achieving the goal can be really powerful, and helps you to enjoy the anticipation along the way.

You stuff your goal list in a drawer and don’t look at it again.

We’ve all been guilty of this one. Life gets busy, right? But what we focus on grows, so why not spend some time focusing on the good stuff? If you put your goal list away, it’s unlikely that you’ll spend time day-dreaming (or visualising) about your success. Putting your goals where you can see them reminds you, and the universe, how important they are to you. I have mine pinned above my desk where I see them, and they see me, every day.

You don’t have the faith that you’ll ever reach your goals.

Imagine believing wholeheartedly that you are going to achieve your goal. What does that do to your energy levels? Chances are that it’s going to put a spring in your step! Sometimes when you know what you want and believe it’s going to happen, there’s a good chance you might get there in different way to the one you expected. I have seen this happen to many clients who have had faith in their ability to reach their goals. Believing you can do it adds to your confidence, and opens you up to opportunities and contacts that you might otherwise ignore.

You sit on the couch waiting for success to appear.

Thomas Edison once said, “There is no substitute for hard work.”  While I’m a big fan of the law of attraction, and believe in our ability to manifest, it takes action to make things happen. A couple of years ago, one of my goals was to get the inspirational Julia Baker (aka Animal Planet’s “Snake Boss”) to speak to CareerSmart Mums. I had no idea how I was going to do it. And Julia wasn’t going to knock on my door and offer her services! I put it on my goal list, and opened myself to ideas. But it was action that made it happen. When I found out that a friend had set up a charity that supported African women, it gave me a great idea to run a fundraising CareerSmart Mums soiree, with Julia as the speaker. I’m sure that without this open-mindedness and focus on my goal I would not have made this connection. I invited Julia to talk, and put in the hard work to organise the event. The night was a sell-out, raising more than $2,300 for the charity. Julia was a hit, and it was such a thrill to have her there. Not only did my hard work pay off, but my success was all the sweeter for it.

You don’t believe you deserve the spoils of success.

This is more common than you think! Often we’re not even conscious that we feel this way, but self-doubt and negative self-talk can impact the actions we take and our ability to attract what we want. Perhaps it’s time to ask yourself – why shouldn’t success happen to you? Surely you have the right to a life by design as much as anyone else. Believing that you deserve success and happiness can boost your chances of reaching your goals, and your mood on the journey.

This year, try to avoid the pitfalls of one-night resolutions, and set firm, clear goals instead. Keep them visible so you are reminded where you’re headed and can visualise what success will feel like. Be confident, and take action. Then you will know there’s no one who deserves success more.

So, what are you going to achieve this year?

Donna Thistlethwaite is passionate about providing career help for mums. She is the professional careers coach behind CareerSmart Mums, a workshop that offers return-to-work mums the practical and motivational help they need to pursue a career that they love. For more information, and to join the CareerSmart Mums network, visit www.careersmartmums.com.au.