A New Approach for New Year’s Resolutions



“Celebrate what you want to see more of.” — Tom Peters

A lot of folks are thinking about their New Year’s resolutions.

They want this to be their breakthrough year.

They want big changes.

They want to take bold action.

They want this to be their best year, ever.

They want to go for the epic win.

Let me share with you an approach that will help you succeed in your New Year’s resolution.


Preparation is more than half the battle
Long ago, a friend told me that if you want to make a change, then make it a project.

But not just any project.

Make it your blockbuster.

It won’t be easy.  But that’s not the point.

Make It Matter

Make it worth it.

To make it matter, get a good picture in your mind of your future self.  Do you want to be leaner, stronger, wealthier, healthier, or wise?   Do you want to be more of what you’re capable of?  Do you want to spend more time in an area of your life?  Do you want to master a new skill or grow capabilities in a new area of your life?

Whatever it is, get that picture in your mind.  Hold that snapshot of your future self in your mind’s eye.  This is the movie poster of your blockbuster.  That’s the little mental picture that you’ll go back to whenever you need a reminder or a pick me up to help you stick with it.

But that is not enough.

Plan with Precision and Make Time for What Matters

It’s true that where there’s a will, there’s a way, but “the way” is often the difference that makes the difference.

Here’s a new way to set yourself up for success with your New Year’s Resolutions:

  1. Identity behaviors to START, STOP, and CONTINUE.  Make a list of behaviors you need to START, STOP, or CONTINUE.  Make it specific, such as, “When I open the fridge, I reach for the water, not the soda”, or “When I wake up, I put on my shoes and walk for 20 minutes”, etc.   Identifying specific behaviors to change creates clarity and clarity will help you focus on the changes you want to make.  It’s how you go from idea to actual execution.
  2. Schedule it.  Invest time in what you want to change.  Add appointments to your calendar with yourself for what you want to invest in.  To put this in perspective, here’s an example: “I want to be a world-class athlete.  I train 20 minutes a week.”  See the disconnect?  20 minutes won’t cut it.  I need to either make more time for it, and change my goal to something I can achieve.  You get what you focus on, and sacrifice is the price of success.  Only in this case, it’s not sacrifice, you are investing in your future self.  If it’s on your calendar, there’s a good chance it will happen.  If it’s not, there’s a good chance it won’t.  It’s hard to wing things when you’re under the gun and the pressures of the day are up close and personal.
  3. Plan in Jan.  Start in Feb.  Use January as your dry run.  Play at it.  Dive in and experiment.  Find out what you don’t know.  Figure out what your biggest obstacles will be.  Then address them in your plan.  A great outcome for January is a great plan.  Then “do” your plan in Feb.  Alternatively, if you want to start in January, then do your plan in December and try some dry runs.  You can then use the momentum of January, but instead of scrambling, you’ll be executing your plan with skill.

Your Personal Plan is Your Secret Weapon for Success

Keep your plan realistic.  Don’t make it a list of things that will never happen.  Instead, make your plan your secret playbook or insider’s guide, for you, by you, to help you over your humps.

When you fall down, remember this little quote from Mary Anne Radmacher:

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.’”

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Image by Sam Jr.


  1. Love this very practical approach. Thank you for sharing Mary Anne Radmacher’s insightful perspective. Sometimes my ‘perfect action or nothing’ gets in the way and results in no action at all. Great reminder that a willingness to do-over counts big.

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