7 steps to successful New Year’s resolutions

by PJ McClure on December 27, 2012

It’s almost New Year’s Eve! A traditional time of celebration, reflection, and hope… unless the past year hasn’t been what you wanted. If that’s the case, New Year’s Eve may be a time of denial, regret, and anxiety.Cork Pop The good news is, it doesn’t matter! Regardless of the events of the past year, or the past hour for that matter, we can begin to intentionally move toward what we want, right now.

I emphasize the word, “MOVE,” because that is the greatest danger that accompanies the enthusiasm of the new year. People tend to spend their time and energy talking about what they are going to do and not actually doing it.

If you have a goal for the new year (and I hope you have at least one) I’d like to make a suggestion. Instead of telling everyone you see about your grand plans to…(fill in the blank), keep quiet about it.

I know that traditional wisdom says to tell people so that you are held accountable by those people. If others know about your plans, that creates the proper pressure to keep you going. If that is your stance on the subject, let me ask you… how’s that working out for ya?

The truth is, when we start talking about what we are going to do, all possible momentum dies.

I know, I know… how can that be? When I talk about losing 20 pounds, or starting that business I’ve put off for 10 years, I get excited about it and want to go take on the world, right? That’s the problem. When we talk about a goal, before we’ve actually done anything about it, we convince ourselves that the talking is the same as doing.

The emotions are the same, the immediate feeling is the same, and we even get the same sense of accomplishment and pride when someone tells us how great our idea is. The difference is in the results. We expend all of our energy blabbing and get nothing done. For this year, try something a little different with your goals/resolutions/life changing ideas…

  1. Drill down into the ‘why’. What is so important about this that it deserves to be accomplished?
  2. Decide if you really believe it can happen for you. The idea of making $1,000,000 isn’t  much good if you only believe your worth $20,000. Set a goal at the edge of what you think is possible for you.
  3. Be clear about what it looks like. When this goal is realized, what will it look like? How is life at that moment?
  4. Get into gratitude. You’re unlikely to move boldly toward more, if you don’t appreciate what you have. What do you love about your life right now? Apply that emotion to #3 and really feel the accomplishment of your goal.
  5. Get rid of the grudge. Forgive yourself for the failed goals of the past. Most resolutions fail because people accept their past as their present. “I didn’t make it happen last year so I probably won’t again this year.” Get over it. Forgive yourself and enjoy the liberation.
  6. Shut up and do something! This was the biggest difference maker for me. One of my mentor’s asked me if I had laid out my goals. Just before I could launch into a dazzling description, he said, “Don’t tell me. Show me. I don’t want to even know what you’re doing until its at least 75% done.” The energy build up I experienced from being brief about my goals was amazing. Try it and see how much more attention you give to the tasks at hand.
  7. Enjoy every moment of it. We don’t sing songs to finish them. We don’t live life to die. It is always the experiences along the way, the moments, that make something worth while. Don’t get so caught up in the accomplishment that you miss the moments.

Give it a whirl! Each step is in order and each builds on the one before. If it doesn’t pass every test, you won’t accomplish it. Guaranteed. I don’t say that to depress you, but to encourage you. Find a goal that runs the gauntlet and you’ve got a winner! I guarantee that too! I’d love to hear your thoughts. Here’s to a life lived to its fullest.

Happy new year. PJ


Richard December 28, 2012 at 4:18 am

Good stuff PJ. Very wise. I am applying these to my 2013 career map. 4 simple goals – one for each category Sandi covered. I have to keep it simple. The core power of this is knowing the “Why”.

Lori Bruton December 27, 2012 at 8:51 pm

I admit the word “goal” does not have a positive affect on me. I’m glad you said that even if I’ve failed at a past goal that doesn’t mean I won’t succeed at new goals. I am going through a training class to gain skills to assist people, but I just realized my past experience and some failures with that may be holding me back into making it successful and prosperous this time. Thanks, PJ.

Felicia Armijo December 27, 2012 at 1:23 pm

Yes. This hit me like a ton of bricks. This has gotten me in trouble a lot this past year. I went through so many jobs and emotions and I would come up with a great idea and tell it to the world and then realize that’s not at all what I want to do. Then I look like I give up in everything I do. Thanks PJ I enjoyed.

M.Sp8 December 27, 2012 at 9:47 am

This is wonderful. Thanks for sharing your wisdom. I am, or should I say- was- a blabber. I am going to take this to heart and move forward with less talking and more doing in 2013. This definitely confirmed some things for me.

Paula December 27, 2012 at 6:04 am

So well said! I always do well when I keep my goal under wraps. The energy spent “talking” about it depletes the energy behind the “doing” of it and saps my momentum.

Tiffany December 29, 2011 at 6:10 am

Hi PJ! This is excellent:) and has definitely helped me to halt on blabbing about everything I’m going to get done in 2012. Instead I’ve written some things down so I can see it myself and have noted to share when I’m 75% there. Thanks so, so much for all you do!!!

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