1) Restructure! – Most resolutions don’t work because they’re no more than wishful thinking… fluff and no more. First, change the verbal structure of your resolutions: Don’t say, “I’ll go to the gym and lose weight.” Instead say, “I’ll join the gym tomorrow at noon… exercise three times a week… lose 20 pounds… and once again fit into these old jeans.” Assigning dates and numbers gives your goals “teeth,” making them real and reachable.
2) Simplify! – The Queen Mary weighs over 81,000 tons – nearly 35,000 tons heavier than the Titanic. Yet the rudder – the part that ultimately determines the direction in which the entire massive ship moves – weighs “just” 140 tons. Compared to the rest of the ship, the rudder is small! But to everyone on board, it’s the most important part of all. Ask yourself, “What is the ‘rudder’ of my resolutions? What’s that one thing that makes all the difference?” For example, let’s say you want to write a book about how to make money with your computer. A million things need to be done to make it happen, including research… learning to write a query letter… deciding whether or not to hire a literary agent… determining what publishers might be most interested… learning how to format your manuscript… how to get publicity for your finished book to drive buyers to bookstores… and much more. Overwhelming, isn’t it? Instead, find the “rudder” and simplify! In this example, that all-important “rudder” is the very act of sitting down at your computer and starting to write! Say, “I will sit down every day for at least 30 minutes and write at least 500 words.” Type some topic ideas. Write the first sentence… first paragraph… first page… whatever! It’s getting yourself writing that will ultimately produce a finished book with your name on the front cover!
3) Break It Down! – As a butcher once quipped, “How do you eat a cow? One steak at a time!” Break your goal into tiny pieces that are so ridiculously simple you can’t fail to begin! Want to start investing? Take the change from your pockets and drop it in a jar RIGHT NOW! Quit smoking? Call your doctor RIGHT NOW. Start exercising? Open the phone book and call 2 gyms RIGHT NOW. Get the ball rolling RIGHT NOW and keep it going by taking the next tiny step… and then the next!
4) Set “EBOT” Goals! – People use setbacks as excuses to quit. Don’t do it! Instead, have at least 3 responses planned and mentally rehearse them so you’ll be prepared should you lapse into old behavior… then get back on track immediately! In other words, set “Emergency Back-On-Track” goals – and they too, should be specific and measurable. Did you start smoking again? Don’t say, “I’ll stop smoking again as soon as possible.” Tell yourself, “If I start smoking again, I’ll crumble the entire pack of cigarettes in the kitchen trashcan by 10 P.M. and begin fresh the very next day.”
5) Apply the “7 x 3 Success System!” – Try this experiment: force yourself to perform your desired behavior every day for 3 weeks. Psychologists say it takes 21 days to form new habits. After that, your new behaviors become easy and automatic. Place reminders everywhere: in your business case… on your refrigerator… on the pages of your Day-Timer planner… car dashboard… computer monitor! And be sure to reward yourself for hitting each plateau or for each month you’ve stuck with your goal. On day 21, write in your planner, “CELEBRATE!” This one idea alone – if used – can change your life. Try it for some little goal. Then, when you’re convinced, go for the big ones!