3 critical elements to achieving your New Year's resolution

New Year's resolutions don't succeed often. You will not be one of these people because you will use the three primary elements to a successful New Year's resolutions: a good goal, a process, and letting that process work.

A well-structured goal

There are many bad goals. "I'm going to lose weight" is a bad goal. The idea is not bad, but the structure of the goal is bad. "I'm going to lose 20lb in a year, and I will validate that by measuring my weight every morning on a scale," is much better structuring. It is specific. It has a time limit. It's realistic. It has a way to measure progress. (Check out this more in-depth article about goal-setting for fat loss ). With doing nothing else, this thought process of structuring your goals in a specific, realistic, time-based, and measured way will greatly improve your likelihood of success. But that shouldn't be all you do.


You need a process that will facilitate your goal becoming true. A process like "reading a book about auto mechanics" would not be a good process for learning how to sew buttons for a pea coat, so the process has to be relevant to the goal. To achieve the goal of losing 20lb in a year, a good process would be something like "I will determine my maintenance calories and stay 100 Cal/day under that. I will track my calories using a calorie counter and weigh my food." Now that's a process that will be relevant to your goal and make progress on that goal. Don't worry about making your process or goal perfect. Just pick something that makes sense and stick to it.

For an extra robust process, add a "what to do if x occurs?" contingency (or many contingencies). An example for weight loss would be "what do I do if my weight doesn't go down after three weeks?" An answer to this would be "lower my daily caloric limit by another 100Cal/day." That way, at any point during the process, you have an answer for if the result you're expecting does not happen. If you find that you're at 500Cal/day, and you're not losing weight, check your calorie counting. You're probably not recording accurately.

However, there is one final element you should add.

Let it work

You need to give your process time to work. So many New Year's resolutions fail because people give up too quickly or change aspects of the process. If you don't lose weight in your first week of January, it doesn't mean your process is bad. Give it two weeks or even three weeks. If the process is effective, it may take longer than you expect to start seeing progress. If you truly feel you have given your process time to work, then it may be time to tweak (but not abandon) the process.

If you commit to doing these three things (set a structured goal, make a plan with a solid process, and let that process work), you will greatly outpace others doing New Year's resolutions. Many of your co-workers and friends will talk about how awesome their New Year's resolutions are going to be. The first week or month of the new year, you will hear all about how amazing their progress. I assure you, however, that by July, many if not all of these people will no longer be talking about their New Year's resolutions, because they've given up on them. You will not be one of these people if you have a goal and a process, and you let that process work. In July, you will be talking about all of the great and steady (but slow) progress you've made over the last six months.

Regardless of your New Year's resolution, I'd love to help you design and achieve it. For a free consultation, use the contact form below or call me at 989-488-3877. Even if your goal is to spend more time with your kids or be less stressed, I'll be glad to talk with you to structure your goals and process.

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