Every year, at the strike of midnight on December 31st, millions of people will be making New Year’s resolutions.

Fuelled by a glass or two of bubbly and the sounds of fireworks and Auld Lang Syne, we’re all hyped up with the enthusiasm to spark positive change for the year ahead.

We’re a predictable lot though – so all the same themes  tend to come up each year.  According to research, our top ten resolutions include exercising more (gym membership, anyone?), losing weight, learning a new skill or hobby, saving money (or spending less of it), quitting bad habits such as smoking, cutting down on booze, junk food or sugar, and spending more time with family.

All very worthy of course – but the sobering fact is that 80% of all our resolutions will have crashed and burned by February.

According to psychologists the biggest mistake most people make is to identify what they want to achieve – without thinking about how they’re going to do it.

So, setting goals like getting a ‘dream body’ or ‘spending more time with family’ may be fine as a starting point – but many will stop right there, in a kind of dreamland.

The key to success is to go further and write out a step-by-step action plan.  So instead of “I want to fit into my old jeans”, be more specific, and say “I’m going to get into my old jeans by June 1st 2022”.  In short, make sure the goal can be achieved realistically in the time frame.

Also, the goal needs to be exciting, so don’t just say “I want to save money”, but fire it up with a purpose, such as “I’ll save the money to take us on holiday to some exciting new destination”  – and then read all about the place to feed your enthusiasm.

Some people swear by the Post-It note method – writing down intentions on those little squares of paper and sticking them wherever you’ll regularly see them, like the bathroom mirror or the fridge.

If it works for you then go mad with the Post-Its.  But then possibly not if your resolution is to keep a tidy house!