10 ways to make your New Year's resolutions stick

By Richie Norton

For the Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 25 2012 3:00 p.m. MST



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Sarah wants to lose 20 pounds. Bobby wants to make a million dollars. Kerry wants to find a job. No matter the goal, ultimate success (or lack thereof) is dependent on your ability to make resolutions that stick. If your resolutions aren’t sticky, your goals will fall and quickly wither away, like leaves before winter’s first snow.

Here are 10 ways to make New Year’s resolutions that are sure to stick:

1. Know thy commitment

“Any fool can know. The point is to understand.” ― Albert Einstein

In football, the term “Hail Mary pass” denotes a low probability effort to get the ball to the end zone and score. In essence, you throw the ball as far as you can, cross your fingers and pray like crazy. This play is generally reserved as a “last ditch” effort, and it very rarely leads to success.

Some resolutions are what I call “Hail Mary resolutions” or “Hail Mary goals,” not because the goal itself is impossible or unrealistic, but because the execution is so improbable to yield success. If you are truly committed to achievement, you cannot approach your goals in this way. You can’t simply throw a goal out there, cross your fingers, pray like crazy and expect to achieve the results you seek.

In order to make resolutions that will stick (and lead to success), you have to do the work up front a) to truly understand what it is you’re after, and b) to know what it’s going to take to get you there. Once you’ve decided that the ends and the means are absolutely worth it to you to achieve your goals, your propensity for success will increase tenfold.

2. Equip yourself

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” ― Benjamin Franklin

Preparation is your most important ally if you hope to create resolutions that stick. All too often, people blame failure to achieve on not having something they need to be successful (for example: the right tools, important knowledge, adequate support, etc). If you acted on the first tip, you should know exactly what you need to achieve success. Now, do the work to surround yourself with what you need to win. No excuses.

3. Engage others in your success

“Enthusiasm spells the difference between mediocrity and accomplishment.” ― Norman Vincent Peale

Please, please, please get others involved in your success. There is absolute magic in accountability.

4. Plunge in 100 percent

“Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes but no plans.” Peter F. Drucer

Making your New Year's resolutions happen is about making an absolute commitment — 100 percent. Even if you commit at 99 percent, guess what? You'll achieve 0 percent of the results. That tiny, seemingly insignificant 1 percent lack of commitment has the power to poison every ounce of your remaining resolve.

5. Grow down

"Do you wish to rise? Begin by descending. You plan a tower that will pierce the clouds? Lay first the foundation of humility." Saint Augustine

You “grow down” in two ways:

1. Don't be so "grown up" that you can't take a fall. Setting goals and working towards reaching them is like learning how to walk all over again; you're going to wobble and you’re going to fall. Follow a child's example and just keep getting back up. Don't take yourself so seriously that you can't handle a little failure along the way. When you mess up, forgive yourself, stand back up, put a smile on your face and move on.