It’s here! That time of year when you and I are inundated with messages about how to make this year our best year yet. According to the University of Scranton-Journal of Clinical Psychology, 45% of Americans will do this by making New Years resolutions.

Some will tell you that making resolutions is the key to your transformation; others will tell you resolutions are hogwash and instead you should focus on goals.

At the end of the day, I think it boils down to semantics. You can call it making resolutions or goal-setting – either way, both reflect that there is something about your current reality or experience that you want to change.

With all the emphasis on the actions you need to take to achieve your resolution or goal (i.e., avoid junk food; exercise more; spend less; save more; etc.), which indeed is important, I wish more people focused on the mindset needed to change their reality.

To truly succeed at keeping your resolutions or with meeting your goals, you need to change your mind, too!

Do you know why? Because most of the obstacles you’ll face as you work on your resolution or goal are internal…not external.

I encountered this this morning. One of my personal goals for 2015 is to run four (4) half-marathons. The first one I’m targeting is March 15th, not that far away. So that means I need to run! But I run outside, and when I saw the air temperature was 16 degrees with the wind chill making it even colder, I was NOT too enthusiastic about today’s run and almost talked myself out of it.

But I reminded myself that while I can’t control the weather, I can choose how many layers to put on. Plus, I play this game with myself where, daily, I can ask, “If I do nothing else today, what would make me feel successful – like I accomplished something?” Whatever that is, I do. Today, that was running regardless of how cold it is.

So, a full week into 2015, if you need help with your resolutions or goals, consider this:

  • It’s not enough to have a plan. You’ll be better served if your plan addresses not just the actions you need to take, but also the mindset you need to have to keep your resolutions or meet your goals.
  • Think about your resolutions/goals through the prism of the habits or rituals you need to foster to set yourself up for success, as well as those you need to discontinue.
  • Don’t just focus on the large, sweeping resolution/goal you have. Also visualize the smaller ones that need to happen along the way that ultimately make the big one possible.  (For example, today’s 3.3 mile run helps me get ready for March’s 13.2 mile run.)
  • Go beyond the surface reason for your resolution/goal. Invest the time to tap into the real motivation; here’s a good time to ask, “What else?
  • Write down (preferably on paper) the one thing you can do daily and weekly to set yourself up for success.
  • Then, write down what you’ll do to re-group when you falter. (ALERT! We all falter from time to time. Having a lapse or relapse isn’t the issue – it’s what you do to get back into the groove that matters.)
  • Know the tools and the people you’ll need to support you…and then diligently use them!

In truth, this time of year really isn’t that different than any other month or day. It’s just that it is a universal marker for us all to collectively start over or do something we’ve never done before – together.

So whether you prefer to make resolutions or make goals, I wish you the happiest, healthiest, and most successful year to date. I hope your challenges and disappointments are not too great. And, I hope your good experiences surpass your wildest dreams and expectations.

Happy, Happy New Year!

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