In the next 10 days, we are going to make 10 promises for the New Year. Each one is going to set you on a path that will, at the end of the year, make you happier, healthier, and more successful.

Today, as you might expect, we are going to talk about setting goals. January 1 is the traditional day to make promises. And this is the first Monday morning of an entire year. What better day could there be to restart your life the right way?

According to a magazine I found on my wife’s bedside table, 92% of New Year’s resolutions are not kept. Most promise makers start out with conviction but fail to follow through.

Lack of willpower is the “reason,” most experts say. I don’t believe it. I’ve never had any willpower whatsoever, yet I’ve somehow managed to accomplish most of what I’ve set out to do. In my opinion, that’s because those who appear to have more willpower than I do, actually have weaker desires.

The secret of accomplishing your goals is twofold:

1. Break each big goal into bite-sized objectives.

2. Make the accomplishment of those objectives pleasurable.

The ETR goal-setting system enables you to do just that. In case you’ve forgotten, here is how it works:

* You contemplate your lifetime goals by dreaming your best dreams, thinking about your responsibilities, and imagining the elegy at your own funeral.

* You identify four life goals.

* You break down your four life goals into 10-20 five-year goals.

* You break down your five-year goals into 10-20 one-year goals.

Your one-year goals become your New Year’s resolutions.

But this year, we are going to do something different. We are going to make our promises over the course of 10 days, not all at once as we used to. By spreading out our promises, we will be able to make better promises and give ourselves a much, much better chance of accomplishing them.

During the next two weeks, I am going to make one specific suggestion each day. I will illustrate the value of these suggestions with examples from my experience. Start today by making Promise #1 for the New Year: Resolve to stick with me on this. If you do, I promise you the most productive and enjoyable year of your life. That’s a fair proposition, wouldn’t you say?

Review the ETR goal-setting system (outlined above). Write down your life goals, your five-year objectives, and your New Year’s resolutions. When you are done, read through the list once . . . slowly.

Keep in mind that this is not a final list. We will be modifying it over the next nine days.

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