How to Create Successful New Year’s Resolutions

What Makes a Successful Resolution?

Every year, people make New Year’s Resolutions – losing weight, exercising more, swearing less – all different kinds of resolutions. And usually, by about 3-4 weeks into the year, those resolutions have fallen by the wayside, to be chalked up as “Oh, well, better luck next year” (if you’re an optimist) or as proof of failure (if you struggle with that inner critic). It’s 2 weeks into the New Year – how are you doing so far?

The question is – how do you make a resolution that you can stick to, that actually improves your life and creates a more successful year?

3 Keys to Resolution Success

  1. Limit yourself to 3 resolutions or fewer
  2. Be clear, specific and measurable with your resolutions
  3. Make resolutions that are tactics and actions not goals

Limit Yourself to 3 Resolutions

Too much change, too fast is a recipe for failure.

As human beings we resist change and we especially resist radical change. Smaller, more incremental change can short circuit this resistance. So limit yourself to 3 specific behaviors that you think would make a significant difference, but make them smaller in scope.

For example, if your goal is to improve your fitness:

  • If you never work out at all, resolve to work out for 10 minutes a day (Instead of 2 hours a day which would be too much)
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator. (A specific behavior)
  • Park at the back of the parking lot instead of the closest spot you can find. (A tactic to increase your daily step count)

These are 3 simple, small steps that will improve your fitness level without changing everything all at once. And notice, each choice was clear, specific and measurable. You may find that the 10 minutes expands naturally. Let it – that’s OK – but don’t mandate a huge chunk of time that you won’t be able to live up to.

Choose Clear, Specific and Measurable Resolutions

This seems pretty self-explanatory on the surface – so why do we have so much trouble with it? For example – do you have the words “less”, “more”, “longer”, etc. in your resolution? Those are comparative words and are inherently NOT specific.

To make a resolution specific, use a measure that you know you’ve either done or not done. For example, instead of “Exercise more,” how about “Exercise 3 times/week.”  Can you feel the difference between those two things?

If you’re not sure if your resolution is clear or specific enough – give it the success test. Will you know on any given day if you were successful in fulfilling a resolution?  If not – get more specific.

Resolutions Are Tactics and Actions Not Goals

In Goals and Actions and Strategies, Oh My! I clarified the difference between those terms. You may find it helpful to read that post as well before crafting your Resolutions.

Definition of a Tactic:

an action or method that is planned and used to achieve a particular goal

So to be clear – a resolution is not an objective or end result. It is the action or methodology that you believe will put you on the path towards your goals. So take a look at your resolutions – are they in alignment with a goal or goals? Will they move you forward towards what you want in your life for this year?

How to Implement your Resolution

Baby steps, baby steps, baby steps. You’ve chosen 3 (or fewer) simple actions or behaviors. You’ve made them clear, specific and measurable. You’ve clarified that they will indeed lead you in the direction of your goals for this year.  Now what?!?

Start today

Whatever day today is. It doesn’t matter if it’s the first or the 15th. It doesn’t matter if it’s June!!! Today is the first day of the rest of your life, right? Isn’t that how the saying goes?  Start today.

Forgive Yourself

If you choose not to keep your resolution one day. Or maybe you forget. Or you only get to part of it. That’s OK – forgive yourself. If you use that as an excuse to stop, if you use “doing it perfectly,” as a reason to not do it at all, then you are not going to reach your goals.

Are you willing to not reach your goals?!?

Instead, say the following, “I recommit to doing this resolution now. I’m starting again, now.”

I heard somewhere (I wish I could remember where), a story about how this person quit smoking cigarettes. At first he decided to quit once a week. On Monday. “OK – It’s Monday, I’ve quit smoking!”

At first, it only lasted one day. He was smoking again by Tuesday. But after a few months or so of quitting every Monday, he had gotten up to 7 days without a cigarette. So that next Monday, he quit again… Pretty soon, he was only having to quit on the first of the month. Then, the first of the new year. Then he stopped thinking about it all together – because he didn’t smoke anymore.

So, just keep choosing the action or tactic. There is no failure. This next moment is another opportunity to choose.

But also – you can think of each resolution as an experiment. You choose a particular resolution because you think it will have a particular impact on your life. But what if you’re wrong?

This year, I made a goal to read 1 book a month that is not strictly entertainment – they can be self-improvement or inspirational or skill building books. They could be biographies or histories or science books. But not mysteries or romance or science fiction!

Then, I resolved to read these books on my lunch break. (Notice the difference between the goal and the resolution)

But here’s the thing – I don’t want to read stuff that’s “good for me” on my lunch break. On my lunch break, I want to be ON A BREAK!! And so the resolution lasted about a week and the second week, I just couldn’t get myself to do it. Does that mean I’m a failure? Should I give up on that goal? No, I need to choose a different tactic. Find time slots that are not break times to do that reading. I didn’t fail – I just chose the wrong tactic. A different method can still get me to my goal. But if I look at it as a failure, if I judge myself harshly – then I won’t even try a different tactic. The key is to think of it as an experiment – if it doesn’t work, try something else!

So please share with me in the comments – what actions or tactics are you choosing to make this your best year ever? And come back and tell me how it goes!

S.P.E.C.I.A.L. Step 5: Implement the Plan

Artists MBA, Professional ProgramGET INTO ACTION – Finally

So, you’ve explored your starting point, created your vision of the ending point, explored all the ways to get there and created a plan. And now, finally, it’s time to put that plan into action!

In Step 5 of the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. Roadmap to Success, you implement the plan that came out of all the groundwork you laid in Steps 1-4.

In this class, we’ll explore:

  • How to build this into your already hectic life
  • How to handle all the “What If” fears that stop you from starting
  • How to create steady sustainable momentum with your plan

Thinking, wishing, dreaming, planning is all well and good, but you’ll never achieve your goal until you get into action. Ready? Set? GO!

Additional Resources for this Class:

Prerequisite Class:

Listen to the Class:

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Enroll in the Artists Marketing & Business Academy Foundation Program
to access the following classes today ($5 for first 10 days/$27 per month Tuition):

Read the Class Transcript

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Transform Your Belief – The Key To Success

Artists MBA, Professional ProgramJust get into action, right? That’s the way to succeed.

Then why does it feel so hard all the time?  Dig a little and I bet you’ll discover that you have beliefs that work against you, undermine you, and even stop you dead in your tracks. Those beliefs can be very strong and they can be very subtle.

I can’t say this strongly enough: your beliefs determine your level of success.

Just as strong muscles help you win a ball game, strong empowering beliefs boost your energy and confidence, create opportunities, attract powerful partners, clear obstacles from your path, and propel you effortlessly into action and results.

Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t — you’re right.
– Henry Ford

So how do you move forward, easily and joyously?  Create beliefs that give you buoyancy, that clear the tangle of weeds from your path and that fuel your energy and excitement.  And once you’ve created those beliefs, you have to strengthen and reinforce them.

In this Workshop you will discover:

  • How your beliefs are working for and against you
  • 3 Steps to build beliefs that work for you
  • Actual practice building some new beliefs

In this call, you’ll learn tools to create and maintain beliefs that will give you any results you choose to believe in!

I was blown away by Debra Russell’s “Transform Your Beliefs – the Key to Success” workshop at the TAXI Road Rally. It set the stage for the rest of the conference and created a powerful focus for both me and my husband throughout the conference. Since the Rally, working privately with Debra and in the Artists Marketing & Business Academy has given me the confidence to follow through on my goals.”
Tina Claxton, Artist Manager, Barnville Music Productions
Despite a certain old, dark resistance, I caught Debra Russell’s “Transform Your Beliefs” seminar at the TAXI Road Rally. I remained a bit uncomfortable and squirmy throughout the talk, actually staying to the end because what she was saying seemed so true, clear and right. It helped that Debra is an exceptionally relaxed, focused, well-prepared speaker. I left feeling that a light had shone onto some areas that have plagued me for most of my forty years as a musician.
Bill Gordon, Pianist, Composer, Teacher

Additional Resources for this Class:

Prerequisite Class:

Listen to the Class:

Thank you for your interest. This content is visible to ArtistsMBA Professional, Mastery Program members only. Click here to access.

Enroll in the Artists Marketing & Business Academy Foundation Program
to access the following classes today ($5 for first 10 days/$27 per month Tuition):

Read the Class Transcript

Thank you for your interest. This content is visible to ArtistsMBA Mastery Program members only. Click here to access.

Enroll in the Artists Marketing & Business Academy Mastery Lab to access the transcript of this class today

Thank you for your interest. This content is visible to ArtistsMBA foundation, professional Program members only. Click here to access.

Next Class:

Maintaining Motivation

I came across this blog post by Jared Matthew Kessler in which he talked about ways that he stays motivated and I was motivated to write a response.  Jared talks about creating more reasons why to do something than reasons why not to do something.  And I agree with that – but think you need to take it one step further.

If you want to not only create motivation in yourself, but also be able to maintain it over time, the type of reasons to do something are also critically important.  When you are looking at your reasons for doing something – you want your reasons to be forward motivated, not away-from motivated.

The issue of weight loss is a common case in point.  Lets say you want to lose weight.  This is away-from motivated – you want to move away from your body as it is right now.  You want to get rid of something – the weight.  The problem with this and any away-from motivation – is that as soon as you are far enough away from the pain that caused the motivation – you will stop being motivated.  So as soon as you’ve lost the weight, you are no longer motivated to exercise and eat healthy and control your portion size, and so on.  And the tendency is to slip back in to your old habit of behavior.  Hello weight gain and yo-yo dieting.

If your motivation is forward-focused, you want to create a healthy body and tons of energy.  Then you will continue to be motivated to indulge in those healthy behaviors – because you are still wanting those results.  And so, you create ongoing motivation, not cyclical motivation.

This concept is applicable to any behavior you want to create with consistency.  For example – making money.  If you’re focused on not being broke – you will create just over broke and stop working.  If you’re focused on creating wealth and freedom – you will be motivated to continue to create money even when you’ve got enough to get by on.

So focus on what you want to create, not what you want to eliminate and you will create powerful habits of behavior and thought with a lot more ease and joy.

Motivation and Momentum-The Missing Keys to Successful Time Management

What is Motivation?

It is what drives your behavior.  And according to the experts in the sciences of neurology and behavior – 95% of what drives our behavior as human beings is unconscious!  As an actress and director, I studied motivation in my characters – what desires drive my character to act as she does and what conflicting desire drives her to sabotage herself?  That understanding allowed me to create believable characters .

But how can we possibly hope to influence our behavior consciously and intentionally in the real world?

Most people try harder and push themselves.  They beat themselves with self-recrimination, blame, and shame.  And it becomes like Sisyphus pushing his boulder up the hill, only to have it roll back down.  The hopelessness of your efforts can destroy any motivation or momentum you’ve managed to create.  And the amount of energy it takes will eventually burn you out.

From a Law of Attraction standpoint, it is the desire for what you want that both draws you forward (motivation) and draws your desires into your life (serendipity or luck).

It is much more energetically and ecologically sound to draw yourself forward by creating a powerful and inviting vision of what you desire, using your passion to create movement, than it is to push, manipulate and punish yourself into action.

And remember, the basic tenet of the Law of Attraction is that you get what you focus on.  If you are focused on how you are struggling and not doing what you “should” and the lack of what you desire – you are creating more of that lack..

Bottom line – focusing on a specific and juicy vision of what you desire to create will clear the obstacles, and increase your motivation and energy to take the actions that will manifest your vision.

Once you’re clear about what you want (your vision) and you are moving forward towards it,

How do you Maintain your Momentum?

You need to understand how and why you are stopping yourself.  And yes,

YOU are stopping YOU!

Momentum doesn’t come from magic fairy dust.  It comes from within you.

In my experience, the most common destroyer of momentum is fear and the desire to control your speed (and thereby reduce your feeling of fear).  So, notice what you are doing to slow yourself down.  Get wise to yourself.  Because once you are conscious about what you’re doing and what’s motivating that behavior – you have the power to choose differently.

So, once you understand what’s motivating you and you’re working on that, how do you create momentum?  It’s basic physics.  According to Newton’s Laws of Motion – a body that is still, through inertia will stay still.  A body in motion will tend to stay in motion.  So, to create momentum you must get into action.  Even one small baby step can create the shift in energy that will enable you to move solidly towards your goals.

And be willing to be uncomfortable.  That discomfort is evidence that you’re changing your reality – and isn’t that what you want?



The Energy of Belief

I’ve been thinking a lot about the nature of belief as a result of the class in the Artists Marketing & Business Academy called Transform Your Belief – The Key to Success. So forgive me, but I may get a little woo-woo in this post.

It seems to me that the law according to physics is that every action has an equal and opposite reaction, right? But when we think about the things we do, the actions we take, the interactions with others, why is it that the reaction doesn’t always seem to match the action? Why do we sometimes get a response that is out of proportion to the action we took, either in positive or negative ways?

Well, I have a theory. (You knew I would, didn’t you?) Our actions are taken not just on the physical plane but also on the energetic plane, as we are spiritual beings as well as physical beings. Unfortunately we are not always conscious of the tenor of the actions we take on the energetic plane. We just aren’t always aware of the energy we put out along with the actions we take.

Belief in Your Success,law of attraction, motivation and momentumSo here’s my theory: When you take an action, your action is accompanied by energy that is completely colored by your beliefs. Since those beliefs are often unconscious, multi-layered and even contradictory to each other, so is the energy that you are creating.

So, if the results you are getting don’t match your intentions. Ask yourself – what am I believing about this?

If you feel like you are always pushing uphill against resistance when you try to accomplish anything. What you are pushing against just might be the energy that your beliefs are creating. So ask yourself – what am I believing about this?

(By the way, this is the Law of Attraction at work.)