As we launch into a new year, most of us pause to some degree and take stock of where we find ourselves in life. Doing so, we often then turn our attention toward growth and change, and this leads to the infamous set of New Year’s Resolutions!

The only problem is that most of these resolutions are just a source of disappointment a few weeks or months later when we realize that no real change happened. Rather than making New Year’s a monument to ‘false hope’ built on flimsy, ill-conceived resolutions…let’s go for something serious and make those resolutions stick.

Change is difficult, and thus to get a real change on something of importance to you, work will be required. I suggest if this scares you, that you abandon any talk of resolutions and accept life as it is. That is certainly okay.

If change is essential in some area of life, then this is one way of bringing that about.

Just Pick One.

If there is a shortcut to getting results, it is a simplification. There are more resolutions, the more likely you will fail on all of them. Pick one of importance, and focus your energies on that.

To pay the price, you must SEE the promise.

There is a price to be paid when changing habits. This is usually in time and energy, and perhaps even an economic price. To bring change about, we must have a clear vision of what is promised. Thus, visualize the outcome you seek and do it repeatedly. Do it in the shower. Do it eating breakfast. Do it in the car. Do it while waiting for an appointment. Repeatedly see the outcome you want, and make it real today in your mind. This will infuse you with motivation.

List three decisions that guarantee the success of your resolution.

It is important to now shift your attention to a decision-making model, and (today) make the tough decisions in advance of the tough moments. What do I mean by that?

You cannot lose weight by leaving the ice cream in the freezer. If you wait until next week, when you crave an ice cream binge, and the ice cream is only two steps away…then failure is guaranteed. To set up a resolution today, and fail to decide today what to do with your biggest temptations…then this is the very essence of false hope. It’s a true path to self-torture and failure.

If you are going to commit to exercise, then move your schedule today, set up a partner to meet you today, and announce to the world your decision to be there. Make it impossible to avoid your resolution, by having already made the decision.

So, pick the big three decisions for you. Three decisions you make today, in advance of the tough moments. In essence, this is about a predetermined set of decisions that require action today…not Champaign and a toast.

Build in a bigger WHY to your resolution.

Before you begin, put on some music that inspires you. This is important for this step.

Once you have done all the above, then it’s time to enhance the emotional drive tugging at your resolution. You do this by invoking a bigger WHY…. a bigger purpose. That purpose or why will pull you into it…if you make it alive with the power of your heart…your source of your emotions.

It’s not too complex: just ask yourself…why is this resolution important to me? How will it affect me? How will it affect my future? How could it bring or invite more love and opportunity into my life? How will it affect those I love? Why would it be important to my family, my friends, or even my community? How will it change my destiny? How will this open up opportunities for me and those I care about? How will I grow and evolve from this? (You get the idea.)

Just keep asking these questions, and allow your mind plenty of time to wander through the emotions that come with each answer. Then, start writing these down. As you do so, revisit each of the three decisions you made in step three, and allow the emotional WHY to solidify those decisions even more.

In the end, the effort will rule the day. Remember: Life responds to effort.

This is not about strain. This is not about grunting and moaning. This is not about whining about how hard it is.

Your resolution will be alive in your life if you consistently put effort into it. This is the way of life.

Yes, the resolution, the decisions, and the emotions are all important, but in the end…it will be your daily effort that determines the result. Use this last pointer, to set up a simple routine to be ready for this effort. Here’s how: Never go to bed at night without a daily written plan for the next day, which includes the predetermined decisions and the effort needed for success.

How many will do this?

In the end, very few will be following these five simple steps to completion for even thirty days. However, for those that do, satisfaction awaits. Keep at it, if you want some change that is worthy of your life. Happy New Year to you all!