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Here we are, in a New Year and a new beginning. Are you excited about the possibilities of a fresh start? Did you make a New Year’s resolution? You’re not alone. I had a 15 minute wait on every machine at the gym the last 2 days. I wonder if those people will still be there in February.

What do you think are the top resolutions people make each year? Did any of the following make your list? More time with family/friends, get in shape/lose weight, quit or reduce smoking/drinking, reduce debt, learn something new, help others, get organized/focused or make/save more money. Everyone starts off motivated and determined about their resolution. Unfortunately, most people fall short of their goals.

It is important to understand that motivation like your attitude is not a gene you’re born with but a muscle you have to exercise regularly. Zig Ziglar once quipped “People often say motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily”. According to Franklin Covey, the average New Year’s resolution is broken fast? 35% of resolutions are broken by January 31st. 77% of people who make resolutions give up before they ever really get started. How can you make these changes last and be in the 23% that achieve success?

One way is to create a roadmap for success and set goals. To be successful you have to break some bad habits and create some good habits and most importantly, stop procrastinating and do it now.

You have to make sure your goals are written and S.M.A.R.T. Specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time bound. Let’s break that down.

  1. Specific – you have a greater chance to accomplish a specific goal then a general goal (not get in shape but lose 25 lbs.). Ask the 5 W’s.

Who – is involved? (you and your trainer), What – do you want to accomplish? (workout 4 days a week for 90 minutes), Where – will it take place (Planet Fitness and in your home gym), When– will you work on it? (6am M-T-TH & Fr), Why – what are the specific reasons and benefits you want that are compelling and make you feel good? (stamina, energy, confidence, appearance, keeping up with your children or grandchildren and to avoid heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, etc.) The ‘WHY’ is paramount to your success. You will have inevitable setbacks. Don’t get discouraged and give up. Go back to your ‘WHY’ for motivation. If your ‘WHY’ is strong enough, you can do anything.

  1. Measurable – how will you measure your progress to make sure you’re on track to hit your goals. (lose 25 lbs. in 5 months means if you lose 5 lbs. a month you know you’re on track.)
  2. Attainable – do you have the abilities, skills and knowledge necessary for success? Are your goals ambitious enough to help you achieve big things yet reasonable enough to succeed?
  3. Relevant – Are the goals relevant to your overall purpose? Will others see the relevance and give you support when needed? Having an accountability partner will improve your chance of success. If you have a workout partner at the gym, you won’t miss the workout and let them down.
  4. Time Bound – Do you have specific deadlines and benchmarks in place? A commitment to a deadline helps you focus your efforts on the completion of the goal. It will create a sense of urgency so you don’t get caught up in the urgent yet unimportant activities that get you off track.

Here are some questions for you to answer. What do you want and why do you want it? What’s stopping you? Are saying to yourself; I just don’t have the time? If your goal is to work out 4 times a week and you’re missing workouts, look in the mirror. How are you spending your time? Do you watch TV 2-3 hours every night? Do you want it bad enough to change some habits and make some sacrifices in your current lifestyle? The only thing stopping you from being all you can be is you. Make a commitment today. Pick one personal and one professional goal you really want and write it down and make them S.M.A.R.T. Let’s make 2016 the best year ever.