A Realistic Formula for True Achievement

Success doesn’t come from resolve alone; it flows from understanding what the goal is, and charting a course to get there.

By Jeffrey Gitomer

Well, have you blown all your New Year’s reolutions already? Did you actually achieve any of them yet?

New Year’s resolutions are a pain. Lose 20 pounds. Eat better. Get in shape. Join the gym. Run three miles a day. Stop smoking. Stop drinking. Stop (fill in the blank). 

NONE of those things is gonna happen. Oh, they may happen for a week or three, and then it’s back to the old groove. Or is it a rut? Remember last year’s resolutions? How did they work out? How about the last 10 years?

So you made the annual pledges to do more, less, or better. To quit, start, change, and do it this year for sure. 

The good news is, it’s early. There’s still time to set goals for this year. If you’re open enough to accept a new idea or two, I may have uncovered an answer as I was reviewing my own achieved and failed resolutions. Before you resolve what to do next, there are a few things to consider.

You have all heard the legendary quote, “Begin with the end in mind.” This is a half-truth, and actually dangerous thinking. Example—Goal: I want a new car by the end of 2018. OK, so what? A better understanding and engine starter would be to elaborate and say, I want to take more weekend drives in the mountains. To do that, I’ll need a new car. I’m looking to buy a Toyota TJ by September of 2015.

Begin with understanding what got you to this point, and what you’re seeking to accomplish after the first part of the goal is met. Then make a plan with the “outcome defined”—not the end in mind.

Resolutions and the first of the year are also a time for reflection. You bring to mind other items of resolve and resolution over past years. You can’t help it. 

The toughest answers, and the most important answers in your life, are the ones you have to give yourself. How you did it, or why you didn’t get it done.

“Jeffrey,” you’re thinking, “you don’t understand—I have (and then you go on to tell me your situation: single, married no kids, one on the way, divorced with kids, yada yada). SAME ANSWERS–the ones you give yourself–just a different set of responsibilities and circumstances.

Ask yourself: Why are you smoking? Why are you overweight? Why are you out of shape? Why are you not achieving your sales goal? Why are you fighting with your spouse?

Those answers provide the foundation of goal, or resolution setting and achievement.

You can’t take off weight until you figure out why and how you gained it, and what lifestyle changes you may have to make to lose those 20 pounds, and what self-disciplines you have to implement in order to shed them. Otherwise the weight will stick—literally.

Then affirm the resolution or goal in writing and post it on a mirror. Look at it every day until you begin to take action.

IDEA: Why don’t you resolve to do some positive things? I tweeted: Happy New Year. Resolve to do something you want to do, not something you have to do. Way more fun. #Gitomer. 

That simple message made an impact on a lot of people, and it drew hundreds of re-tweets and LinkedIn comments.

Here are a few POSITIVE resolutions that I promise will happen, if you resolve them in writing. 

  • Go to more ball games with kids, spouse, and friends. Name the games.
  • Shop more. Give yourself a defined budget. Then go spend it. On yourself.
  • Call one person a week and tell them you love them, and are grateful for their presence in your life. List the people.
  • Perform one random act of kindness for someone every day before noon. It will make your day, not just theirs.
  • Renew one old friendship a month. Start by searching on Facebook. Start with your old neighbors or high school classmates.

New Year, New Way, New Opportunities–not a “new you”–rather, a better, happier you. All year.