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Making New Year’s Resolutions for the New Year THAT STICK!


It's that time of year again when most of us start thinking about making New Year's resolutions.  Let me ask you, did you follow through with what you planned to do last year?  Do you even remember what your resolution was from last year?

If you answered yes to both of these, congrats!  You're in the minority.

If you answered no to either of these, keep reading!

Why is it that so many people start out the year with good intentions, but fail to follow through?  I believe there are three primary reasons.

3 Reasons People Don't Hit Their Goals

1.  WHY – They don't fully understand WHY they want to change.  The first step I like to take is to look at the end game.  What is it that you want your eulogy to say about you when you're gone?  Write that down!  Take a look at this any time you are thinking of goals, and ask yourself does this really matter?  Will this lead me in the general direction of where I want my life to be?  If it doesn't, then maybe it isn't a great goal.

2.  OVERWHELMED – They try to change too much.  This is probably the most common issue I see.  This year I would like to get fit, get rich, find my soulmate, get married, have kids, buy a house, travel the world, become famous, develop great friendships, move to Florida…  If you try to change everything, what happens?  Nothing!  Write down everything you would like to do, then pick one small thing that leads you in the direction you want to head to work on now.  Once you've accomplished that one thing, then you can work on the others, but not until then.

3.  FORGOTTEN – They don't write it down and put it somewhere they will see it regularly.  I've started making a habit of taking notes whenever I hear good ideas (I use ColorNote because it is very simple and syncs across devices), and I'm constantly amazed when I look back because I forgot half of the stuff I wrote down.  If you don't write it down, you WILL forget it eventually.  Write it down!

How Can You Hit Your Goals?

1.  WRITE YOUR EULOGY! – Determine what your end game looks like, write it down.

2.  PICK 1! – Brainstorm all the things you want to do this year.  Pick 1 thing that you feel is realistic and write it down.  This is your goal for the year.

3.  BABY STEPS! – Figure out what you need to do each day in order to accomplish that thing, and put it into your schedule.  Ideally this should not take more than 15 minutes of time each day.  If it takes too long or you don't specifically figure out when you are going to do these things, the little interruptions in life will take over and you won't succeed!

I created a workbook for this which can help you reach your goals this year.

Good luck, and Happy New Year!

Here are a few good follow up articles if you want to do a deeper dive on habit changes or goal setting.  Enjoy!


Don Smith

Don Smith is a business coach with decades of experience. Happily married with five children, he lives in Springfield, Illinois. To work with Don, please click here.