How to Create New Year’s Resolutions that Work

2014 is just around the corner. It’s that exciting time of year again. To reflect over 2013 and plan for the new year. In hindsight, how was your 2013?

Did you take charge and achieve all goals you’ve set for this year? If you are like most people, let me be honest – you’ve probably failed . In fact, neuroscience shows that 88% of New Year’s Resolutions fail. The reason for such failure stems from multiple factors but one of them being the sheer disconnect with the short-term and long-term. That is, the yearly goals we set in the beginning of the year cannot stand alone. It needs to be integrated into something bigger – your life-long goal.


Now, before you start writing your “to-do lists” for 2013, let me offer one suggestion. Take a step back in your life with a 30,000 ft perspective of life. Think about three things. Your mission, vision, and core values. This may take a while to articulate since this requires a concerted effort for self-awareness, but without gaining an acute understanding of these three key elements, creating your New Year’s Resolutions may turn out to become a sheer waste of time. (Check out my previous blog posts on “Hall of Fame of Mission Statements” and “How To Discover Your Mission Statement“)

Mission and Vision

Core Values


Once you gained a clear picture of your life defined by your overall mission, vision, and core values, this will make it easier to think about the”How.”  The “How” are broad objectives that enable you to achieve your mission and vision guided by your core values. These should be generally 2-4 key objectives. What will be your key objectives in life? Here’s Mine:

key objectives 1-2key objectives 3


Another easy and helpful way to create a direction for your life in 2014 is to create a theme. This helps you simplify and articulate your goals and direction clearly. What top five words would you describe as your key theme for 2014? Here’s mine:

2013 Key Theme


Now, your goals you created for 2014 will fit into the big picture. You’ll see alignment in your decisions, activities, and endeavors. Under the three key objectives, I created SMART goals to create a sense of accountability. What will be your 2014 goals?

key goals for 2013


Now, if you feel overwhelmed or distracted, it’s because there’s a lack of discipline. Enhanced efficiency is not the only solution to feeling overwhelmed. In fact, it’s about “saying no” as Jim Collins says – and closely guarding your key focus. Collins suggests the 20-10 assignment:

“Suppose you woke up tomorrow and received two phone calls. The first phone call tells you that you have inherited $20 million, no strings attached. The second tells you that you have an incurable and terminal disease, and you have no more than 10 years to live. What would you do differently, and, in particular, what would you stop doing?

This assignment of a “stop doing list”  is now part of my 2014 New Year’s Resolutions as it helps me allocate the most precious of all resources: time. As Collins says, “Saying no – and closely guarding your focus – must also be part of the productivity equation.” What will be on your “Stop Doing List?” Here’s mine:

Stop Doing List_updated