Resolve comes easily on December 31st.

But by April of the New Year, the resolutions made are in disarray, compromised, abandoned. And the resolute determination to make this year, finally, the year you stick to them, forgotten altogether.

The point of this essay is not to make you feel guilty. Instead, it is to identify the real reasons resolutions and the determination to achieve them are lost, year after year after year – and to help you get on track to systematically set and achieve your goals.

Big Idea #1: You Can’t Achieve New Goals or Make Desired Changes Without Allocating Time to Do So.

Many resolutions never become reality, simply because no room is made for them on the daily schedule. If your days are already full and you resolve to get in a half-hour a day on the treadmill or writing your book, that half-hour has to come from somewhere. Something’s gotta give! You have to find one or two or three things that you can cut 5 or 10 or 15 minutes from.

Big Idea #2: Priorities Should Govern Your Schedule.

The vast majority of business owners and entrepreneurs make the same mistake: They operate like workers instead of bosses and leaders. They report to a workplace, then they allow people and events and interruptions to take control of their day.

You have to wrest control away from the priorities of others and govern by your own.

Big Idea #3: Resolutions Aren’t Resolutions Without Resolve.

Only you can decide what really matters to you. Don’t bother with faux resolutions made to appease or satisfy others. Being honest with yourself is a pre-requisite for success.

Big Idea #4: Resolutions Require Resources.

Almost anything you decide to do … any change you decide to make … any goal you set out to achieve … requires new or different resources. That might mean investing in a piece of home exercise equipment, stocking different food in the cupboard, or establishing a private workspace outside the office. You can’t be serious about a resolution unless you have what you need to make it happen

Big Idea #5: The “Do One Thing Every Day” Rule.

In talking about how he built The Sharper Image from a college kid’s coffee table start-up to a nearly billion-dollar business, founder Richard Thalheimer says he did it by taking “baby steps” – and still approaches every new project that way.

I used the same approach to write four books last year and four more this year … putting in one hour a day to produce a handful of pages.

The idea is to refuse to end the day without doing something, no matter how small, that moves you toward your goal.

Big Idea #6: Who Motivates the Motivator?

Paul Meyer, founder of Success Motivation Institute, posed this provocative question: As an entrepreneur, as the leader, you may be doing a lot to motivate others. But who motivates you?

For the most part, you need to motivate yourself.

As Michael Masterson advises, it’s a big help to create structure for yourself by breaking down your goal into monthly, weekly, and daily objectives. But you can also get into a coaching group or tele-coaching program, hire a one-on-one coach, or just pair up with a like-minded buddy. That way, there will be somebody to hold you accountable … somebody to report your progress to. And as any professional sports coach will tell you: Measurement automatically improves performance – and measurement monitored by someone else improves performance even further.

Big Idea #7: Build Up to Change.

I neglected the treadmill for six months, but on January 1st, I went back to it.

My goal was to do 30 minutes a day. But I knew if I tried doing that out of the starting gate, I’d be a goner. So I started with a measly 5 minutes a day for the first half of January, 10 minutes a day for next 15 days, 15 minutes a day for all of February, then 20 minutes a day in March. I’ll be up to the full 30 minutes in another week – and, as of right now, I haven’t missed a day.

Easing into goals like this is a good way to make them more achievable. Say you resolve to get up an hour earlier every morning to work on an idea that you hope to turn into a side business. Start by getting up 15 minutes earlier for two weeks. Then 30 minutes earlier for a month. Then 45 minutes earlier for two weeks. And so on …

Big Idea #8: Make Better Use of Your Time.

Resolve weakens under pressure, under stress – when you feel you’ve lost control of your time. To keep procrastination from gaining a foothold, you have to practice sound time-management strategies. I wrote an entire book on this subject (No B.S. Time Management for Entrepreneurs ). But it starts with this: training (or re-training) all the people in your world to respect your time, to co-operate and facilitate your peak productivity.

“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.”– Pablo Picasso

(Ed. Note: Dan Kennedy is the author of nine business books, a busy entrepreneur, consultant, speaker and direct-response advertising copywriter. For a limited time, you can take advantage of “The MOST INCREDIBLE GIFT EVER” ($798.89 worth of money-making information).

Dan Kennedy

Dan Kennedy is internationally recognized as the ‘Millionaire Maker,’ helping people in just about every category of business turn their ideas into fortunes. Dan’s “No B.S.” approach is refreshing amidst a world of small business marketing hype and enriches those who act on his advice.

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