So it’s New Years already, and you haven’t lost the weight you’d committed yourself to losing.  You still haven’t straightened out the mess in the basement or gone through your piles of paper that clutter up the place like you promised yourself you would.  And you’re still not exercising like you keep saying you need to.

Want to succeed with your New Year’s resolutions this year?  Here’s a guide about how to achieve your goals.

First, examine what’s holding you back from achieving your goal now.  What’s in your way?  Why haven’t you achieved this goal already?  The obstacles that have been in your way will still be there, so knowing where you have trouble will give you extra ammunition in figuring out why you tend to sabotage your goal and defeat yourself.

Second, eliminate from your environment things that sabotage your goal.  If ice cream is your weakness, and your goal is to lose weight, you will find it easier not to have ice cream in your house—than to have it around and expect yourself to refrain from over-indulging in it.  Remove all temptations—especially the temptation of having “just a little.”   You’ll find it easier to eliminate it than to try to keep it under control.

Third, your goal cannot be dependent on other people.  Make sure you can entirely initiate, maintain and control this goal yourself.

Fourth, do you know anyone who has achieved the same goal?  If so, what are the qualities that have made him/her successful?  Imagine that person giving you advice about how to best go about achieving your goals.  What would that advice be?

Fifth, write your goals down, and keep them in front of you every day.   Written goals serve as a basis for reminding you to steel your determination and will power, as well as assessing your progress.

Sixth, word your goal positively.  Not “I’m going to lose 20 pounds,” but rather “I’m going to weigh ___, look great, and be a knock out.”

Seventh, what is the price your goal requires?  Determine what your goal will cost you in time, money, effort, risk and things you will have to do without.

Eighth, be steady and realistic with your goal.  Losing 20 pounds in two weeks is not realistic.  Losing 2 pounds a week—and maintaining that pace over a 10 week period—is much more likely to succeed in the long run and give you a sense of mastery over your weight.

Ninth, decide what actions you will commit to taking to achieve your goal.  What will you commit to doing this month?  This week?  Today?

Tenth, periodically review your progress and fine tune what you’re doing.

I’m reminded of the story I recently read where eight overweight and sedentary professional men in their 50’s made a bet with each other about losing at least 8% of their body fat in a three month period.  If any individual failed his goal, he had to pay $1000 to each of the others.  So what would you guess happened?  At the end of the three months, seven out of the eight met their goals!  Why?  Their motivation to succeed was high because of what it would cost in dollars and in loss of face.

Create such motivation for reaching your goal.  You can’t just wish for your goal—you have to actively—proactively—go after achieving it.  It’s the secret to succeeding with your New Year’s resolutions.

“We have met the enemy and he is us.” Pogo

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