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The New Year’s resolution formula for achievement

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 are 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 past 10 years?

Happy New Year!

Yes, it’s time to make the annual pledges to do more, less or better, to quit, start, change and do it this year for sure.

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 you better take into consideration.

You have all heard the legendary quote, “Begin with the end in mind.” This is a half-truth and, actually, dangerous thinking.

Here’s an example: If your goal is I want a new car by the end of 2011, 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 Land Rover by September of 2011.”

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, and they often 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 don’t understand. I (and then you go on to tell me your situation) am single, am married, no kids, have one on the way, am divorced with kids.” Yada yada. Same answers — the ones you give yourself — just a different set of responsibilities and circumstances.

Ask yourself:

Why am I smoking?

Why am I overweight?

Why am I out of shape?

Why am I not achieving my sales goal?

Why am I fighting with my 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, what lifestyle changes you may have to make and what self-disciplines you have to implement in order to shed it. Otherwise, the weight will stick. Literally.

And then you have to 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. It made an impact on a lot of people and got hundreds of re-tweets and LinkedIn comments.

Here are a few positive resolutions 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 and 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 every day before noon. It will make your day, not just theirs.
  • Renew one old friendship a month. Start 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.

Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of “The Sales Bible” and “The Little Red Book of Selling.” President of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs sales meetings and conducts Internet training on selling and customer service at www.trainone.com.

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