If you’ve made a new years resolution this year, the odds are against you my friend. According to a study highlighted on Statistic Brain, 25% of “resolutioners” stop trying after their first week! If you make it past that, the chances of success are even more disheartening; only 8% of people who make a resolution are successful at achieving it.

So, here’s a thought. Don’t make a resolution, SET A GOAL (there is a definite difference). A resolution is essentially something you hope will happen… It’s a wish. However, a goal is a clearly defined objective that has an outlined plan of action. It’s your road map to success.

So, before you tighten those laces up and start your first morning jog, try writing down what it is you’re jogging for and how you plan to get there. If you’re having trouble, here are 7 steps to take so you can effectively set those goals and make them actually happen:

  1. Be as specific as you can about your goal: Listen, it’s OUTSTANDING to want to be a healthier person or increase your income, but what does that mean to you really? Do you weigh less? How much do you want to increase your income by? The more precise you are, the sharper your focus can be, and the better your plan is of making it a reality!
  2. Write your goal down as if you have already accomplished it: The practice of visualization is one that’s been used for centuries by different cultures as a primer for success and achievement. When you write a goal down as if you already embody that goal, you’re forced to see yourself in that form. Give it shot! You’ll be one step closer to making it happen!
  3. Give yourself a target date of completion: I hate using the word “deadline” because the sheer mention of a deadline evokes dreadful thoughts and procrastination. You can call it what you will but just make sure that you set a reachable goal that still challenges you to create positive habits. An example of this would be. “I weigh 15lbs less by May 2015”.
  4. Make some action steps: Here’s where it starts to get real folks. How are you going to make that goal of weighing 15lbs less by May happen? How about cutting out sugary sodas and juices? Or how about hiring a health coach and/or personal trainer? I can give you the name of a few good ones.
  5. Prevent the path of least resistance: It’s easier to sit on the couch and watch Netflix than it is to get your workout in. So instead, pack you bag for the gym and leave it in the car so you can head straight there after. If you’ve decided to do something like morning cardio to begin your healthy journey, make sure your preparedness is stronger than your snooze button. Having your workout clothes and water bottle ready the night before makes the job of starting that run so much easier! Meal prepping is another great way to have healthy food on hand so you aren’t tempted to reach for that quick burger.
  6. Persistence, Persistence, Persistence: Persistence is the great equalizer, ladies and gentleman. This is the one ability that most strongly dictates your success. Are you willing to do the right thing, the best thing, even when you really don’t want to? The studies of the most successful people throughout time all point to persistence as their difference maker. This is your chance to exercise an ability that’s led to some of the greatest people and things in human history. Pretty awesome huh?
  7. Use the 21 Day Rule: Persisting once is a GREAT start, but in order to create change you must make it a habit. If you can put your action steps to work for 21 days straight, you are significantly more likely to continue those habits for long periods of time. Make the habits stick and your goals will, too.

The habit of setting goals and thinking about them daily can bring about some serious change in your health, your career, and your personal life. I personally write my goals down every day and making even one of them happen is a powerful experience. It reminds you that you can do anything you put your mind to.

I wish you the very best following through with your New Years Goals! Let me know how it goes!