The Key to Keeping Resolutions Is to Follow the Correct Formula

 Goal achievers have a set of skills, personalities and techniques that help accomplish goals.

As each year comes to a close, millions of people go through a ritual of reflection and goal setting. Assessing the previous year and hoping to spark positive change is the process practiced by the masses and results in a variety of New Year’s Resolutions. Some people make them and keep them, others don’t. There are recurring themes that show up on resolution lists each year. They include things like exercise more, eat better, save money, get out of debt, be more “green,” quit a bad habit or addiction, or spend more time with family. Here’s a list of the top 10 most common resolutions every year:

  1. Exercise more

  2. Lose weight

  3. Get organized

  4. Learn a new skill or hobby 

  5. Live life to the fullest

  6. Save more money / spend less money

  7. Quit smoking

  8. Spend more time with family and friends

  9. Travel more

  10. Read more

Since just about everyone makes resolutions, what is the difference between those who make and keep them and those that don’t? Is there a common characteristic that separates the goal achievers from everyone else? Turns out there is something different between these two groups. According to the University of Scranton, 92% of people who set resolutions never follow through with them. 


So what do that 8% do differently to follow through and achieve their goals? And how can the rest of us follow their example to reach our goals? Here’s a breakdown of what these goal achievers do to succeed.

Where do you want to go?

When using GPS to find a location, there are only two points you need to input, where you are, and where you want to go. In short, you gotta know where you’re headed. When you write down resolutions, make sure that you clearly understand the path to your goal. A goal without a planned roadmap is just a dream. Once you write your goal on paper, make a list of what resources you'll need to get there. These become your subgoals.

Focus intently

Most successful people avoid trying to do everything all the time. Successful people focus on their goal in their mind so intently that it becomes real. That visualization technique drowns out the noise and focuses directly and intently on the goal. By focusing on the end goal every day, like seeing yourself cross the marathon finish line, you drive to accomplish it exponentially. Compare that type of intense focus with someone who doesn’t even write down a goal. You know which one will be more successful just in the difference in intensity of focus 

Surround yourself with support 

One thing many productive people do is surround themselves with support. They know that they can achieve more with the help of a coach, or advisor. Just look at successful athletes, they surround themselves with coaches to get them to peak performance. If you wanted to run a marathon and didn’t know where to start, you would probably hire a coach who could help you improve your form, or just run alongside you as trained. Setting big goals is no different. Find a network of experts who are invested in your successful outcome. Chat regularly, get their wisdom and advice, and then go and do.

Power of music

Anyone who has seen Rocky knows how important music is to mood and motivation. You just feel motivated when “Eye of the Tiger” starts playing. Music has been proven to be a great way to maintain focus and productivity. To harness the power of music as a motivational tool for you, do some trial and error to find the music that helps you focus. There are a ton of curated music lists on Apple Music that can be a good starting point. Ask trusted friends what they use to motivate them. Ask coaches and mentors what they think. Over time you will know yourself and what works best for your motivation.

Know your distractions

Another area that separates the achievers from non-achievers, is the ability to recognize distractions and avoid them. It's important to pinpoint the reasons for your distractions. It may be a particular part of a task that you don’t like, and that becomes the source of their avoidance. To prevent this from happening try to do the following:

  • Clearly prioritize checklists and schedules for completing a task

  • Set strict deadlines for goals to help counteract avoidance 

  • Reverse engineer the goal by working backward from your deadlines to understand timeframes, and when to get started 

  • Don’t put too much on your plate. Just try to hyperfocus on one task at a time

Specificity is imperative

Vague goals net vague results. 

What that means is that if you don’t specify in your goals what exactly you want to accomplish you’ll get exactly that, probably nothing. Researchers found that when people are specific in their goals they are much more successful. If your goal is “run a marathon by the end of the year.” That is much too vague and not specific enough. Instead, try this: 


"In January, I will start walking for 40 minutes every day, in February I will increase my speed and run-walk for 1 hour every day..." 


With that amount of specificity and clarity around your goal, the probability of success increases dramatically.


If 92% of us who are trying to accomplish our annual goals can take a few of these techniques and proven skillsets and implement them we too can be successful. In fact, if we can implement just 10% of these skills, on a list of 10 resolutions, we’d master one of them. And that is better than most of us do anyway, so why not give it a try?  

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