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Why you’re not achieving your News Year’s Resolutions each year

Did you know – only 8% of everyone who creates a goal, or sets a new year’s resolution, will ever achieve it.  

Do you know why? TIME – it’s the biggest reason I hear. But in reality, ask yourself how you’re actually spending your time:

Are you working on low-value things and not enough high-value action items? Do you dislike some of the tasks on your plate? What about your team?

Do you find yourself constantly busy but not achieving your high-ticket tasks that will actually move the needle?

Bogged down by day-to-day life admin?

Research says that more than 50% of people say they are exhausted and overwhelmed.  It may feel like you’re a hamster on a wheel and you’re trying to do more and to get it done faster.  And on top of that 92% of people won’t achieve their goals or resolutions again next year.

In my book, Sweetspot – how to spend more time doing what you love, are great at, and adds most value – we help people find ways to reduce or eliminate time and energy spent in unproductive or low value activities.

We have recently created a Sweetspot community to help you finalise your goals for 2021 and actually carve out the time to achieve them – we are opening this more widely for a short period of time – JOIN NOW.

However, even when they have identified these there are common forms of resistance; these often hold people back from getting rid of unhelpful activities and therefore from making progress. These include:


  1. I can’t find my Sweetspot!

I sometimes hear comments like: ‘I’m not really sure what my purpose in life is; I feel directionless.’ Many of us have felt this way at some point, and we know that it makes it hard to identify a Sweetspot or to want to commit to making changes towards it. So, how do we get out of this situation?

The Sweetspot Mindset: Start taking action. That doesn’t necessarily mean dropping it all in favour of a sudden shift in direction; it’s OK to start with small changes. Take a night-course, invest in a prototype, take on a part-time project. What you learn through the iterative process of trial, error, and success provides the insight of where your Sweetspot is, and what direction to take.


  1. How much? Money.

This is the most common barrier I see to people moving towards their Sweetspot. The problem is that many of the activities required to remove 3 D activities require spending money. Each of the 4 actions to reduce or eliminate 4 Ds can involve expense:


May require


Ditching a low-paying customer; giving up paid work.


Hiring new staff members (which may increase wage expectations from other staff); commitment to hire full-time staff; increased overtime payments.


Paying for services you were previously doing yourself; expensive outsiders; high retainers; choosing extra fees (e.g. for delivery/express service).


Software subscriptions that lock you into monthly payments; systems that are hard to get out of; further costs for migration.


The Sweetspot Mindset: start taking on costs associated with removing 3-D activities before you’re comfortable doing so. Take a chance: exercise the muscle of making investments. Hire the new staff member; take on the agency; sign up for the software. Put a specific price per hour on your time and don’t do any activities lower than that – pay someone else.


  1. I have to do it

Employees sometimes find it difficult to see what they personally can do to reach their Sweetspot. It’s harder to control direction and outcomes when you work for someone and don’t feel in control of key decisions in your work. For example, if a company employs you in a general operations role and you particularly enjoy project work so want to move away from administration then how can you make that happen?  

The Sweetspot Mindset: have a view. Your career development is in your own hands. State specifically to your employer or line manager the direction you want to develop into. Be explicit in your aspirations. Good employers will respond (if for no other reason than they don’t want to lose you), and if they’re not a good employer then why are you still there? If your employer is not having Sweetspot conversations with you, take the initiative and arrange it yourself: you’ll both benefit from the time spent. It’s your life after all, so why wait?


  1. How could anyone want to do this?

We can be so unenthusiastic about our 3-D activities that sometimes we wonder ‘Would anyone want to do this?’ Our experience of a disliked activity colours our thinking about handing it over to others. As a result, we project our resistance onto others, assuming they wouldn’t want to do it either; sometimes, we decide it’s not even worth asking.

The Sweetspot Mindset: Remember that your 3 Ds are other people’s Sweetspots! There is someone out there who would love to take that task from you – you just need to find them. This is the way the world works: society and the economy are a huge network of people using their Sweetspots to take away other people’s Ds. If you hate making powerpoint slides, there’s a company for that; if you can’t stand networking, there are many who love it; even much-derided paperwork and administration tasks are a joy to many.


  1. No one can do it like me

It might sound strange for activities that are not in our Sweetspot, but we often hold onto them simply because we don’t trust others to do them for us. There are 2 forms of this mistrust:

  • I can’t trust them with the information – it’s too sensitive.
  • They won’t do it as well as me.

Tasks involved in finance, such as trusting someone else to make payments on your behalf, are a common area of resistance. We hold on to all sorts of tasks due to lack of trust, though. We might want spreadsheets done our way or think only we’re capable of cooking an omelette just the way we like it. All sorts of perfectionist and OCD tendencies can come out when we look at handing tasks in our lives over to others.

The Sweetspot Mindset: Be sensible, set clear expectations and monitor – but take the leap. If it doesn’t work first time, it simply means it was the wrong person, not the wrong thing to do. Pick up and start again. Accept that there will be mistakes: delegation may create imperfection. Figure out what went wrong and fix it.


  1. Do I really want to spend time in my Sweetspot?

Everyone’s Sweetspot is different, but our actual experience of spending time there has one thing in common: intensity. How do you actually feel after a full day spent in your Sweetspot? For example, if developing strategies for businesses, or tweaking car engines, or interviewing potential candidates sits in your Sweetspot, and you know that tomorrow you will do only that for a whole day, how would that feel?

If we’ve accurately identified our Sweetspot, then the experience of spending time there is that of being fully occupied. This is sometimes called a ‘flow state’, sometimes described as being like: ‘time passing without knowing it’; or a sense of ‘total engagement’. This is different from a Drain, as we do enjoy the experience, and get great outcomes from it. However, it does have the effect of leaving us tired. Spending time in the Sweetspot usually requires us to fully deploy our skills, it tests us to our limits, and hence drains energy. It feels like time well spent, but can require effort to build up to, and take time to recover from.

That being the case, it forces us to ask ourselves – do we really want to spend more time in our Sweetspot? If the alternative is to spend time on comfortable but low value tasks, does the lizard part of our brain not steer us towards the easier option? Of course it does!

The Sweetspot Mindset. A commitment to get the most out of life, by actually maximising the time spent in high intensity, high energy, high ability activities. This means a willingness to actually get rid of activities that are easy, familiar, and unchallenging.


Overcoming Resistance

Given that there are common points of resistance people face, what can be done to overcome them? Are there approaches or techniques that can be helpful in the face of all of them?

  • Forcing change. People sometimes have times in their life where they quite naturally go through Sweetspot-style purges of unnecessary activities. For example, parents going on parental leave have to streamline life while they are having a baby. There is no choice about it, unnecessary things have to go, and important ones delegated or outsourced. If you’ve had a serious illness, or had to take care of a sick relative, then maybe you’ve experienced something similar?

So when undergoing a Sweetspot exercise, if you are struggling to get the focus or clarity on how to make a change, then ask yourself questions such as: ‘If I had to take 3 months off, what would I get rid of, and how?”; and ‘If I only had 1 day to work a week, what would I do, and how would I get rid of everything else?’

  • An Objective View

All the 6 Points of Resistance have one thing in common: they relate to our own established way of thinking. It can be hard to recognise these thought patterns within ourselves, but we’d quickly spot them in someone else. The sure way to throw a light on them is to lean on another person. This means finding a buddy, coach or accountability partner to go through the exercise with.

Speak to one of our coaches today.

For an honest conversation with one of our leading coaches get in touch.

Speak to us today.

For an honest conversation with one of our leading coaches get in touch.

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