Now Explode Off the Starting Line

Last week I discussed the half-dozen ways people stumble on their New Year’s resolutions and goals right at the starting line. It generated a healthy discussion and I appreciate everyone’s contribution.

This week I’d like to offer you the half-dozen ways you can explode off the starting blocks and set yourself up to not only stay in the race (this time), but actually finish victorious!

1. Big 3

If you are using Living Your Best Year Ever, it guides you through making several goals in all 8 key areas of life. It then helps you reduce your plethora of goals down to your Big 3. I know you will want to accomplish ALL your goals, but it is critical you reduce it down to just 3 to supremely focus on.

Pick the 3 goals that are most important to you and would have the most dramatic impact on your life and lifestyle. Resist the urge to chase after other shiny objects that come into your field of vision.

2. One Thing

As Curly in City Slickers said, “Find your ‘One Thing’.” In this case, it is the one key behavior that is most important to you accomplishing each of your Big 3 goals.


Goal: Liberate 20 pounds to become ideal weight of 180.
Key behavior:
45 minutes of exercise, 3 times per week at a sustained target heart rate of 175.

Goal: Earn $200,000 in sales income.
Key behavior:
Collect 5 “no’s” 5 days a week.

Goal: Deepen intimacy with spouse.
Key behavior:
Say something appreciative or acknowledging 3 times per day, (at least) 6 days a week.

3. Installation

You can figure out your Big 3; you can even identify your One Thing that will be key to making it come true, but remember this very key point:

Goal achievement doesn’t come down to dreaming, writing out and planning. It comes down to the day-to-day decisions and behaviors of DOING what you said you were going to do, long enough for you to make it to the end point.

In order to ensure, as best as possible, that you will actually do, and keep doing, you will need to install your One Thing into a routine that you can do, eventually without thinking about it.

In The Compound Effect (page 99) I talk about Routine Power and then how to Bookend Your Days. The key point is you need to find a place in your day that you can install your One Thing for each of the Big 3 that will be regular and as predictable as possible.

In the book I discuss how I needed to stretch more, but never found a way to do it consistently. Then I installed it into my routine (the 8 minutes while the coffee is brewing first thing in the morning) and now I get it done religiously, without any thought.

Figure out where it can be installed and what your “trigger” is. What are you already doing that when you do it now, will remind you to do your new behavior? For me it is when I put the coffee on; that is the trigger for my stretch routine.

4. Track

This is the key of these key points. As mentioned as one of the stumble points: You can’t improve what you can’t measure. Tracking your One Thing is the key to keeping your awareness on it and continuing to improve on it. If you have Living Your Best Year Ever, there is the Weekly Rhythm Register for each week of the year as part of the Achievement Management System. If you don’t have the program (gasp!) you can download the WRR by itself here for free.

5. Reinforce

This is a big tip to staying on track past where your willpower normally wanes and fails: Find reinforcements. This can be a peak performance partner, a mentor, a mastermind group, public accountability (blog or post your goal and progress on website, blog or facebook) or join a group to stimulate competition and/or camaraderie.

6. Have Fun

Mike jumped the gun on me in the comments from last week’s post. It’s true—lighten up and be sure to celebrate your day-to-day victories. Bring joy to the journey. We are pleasure-seeking creatures. If you neglect yourself for too long you will crack. You have to let some steam out of the kettle.

No matter the goal I always have a lax or cheat day. Yes, even if it is positively acknowledging my wife. One day a week I am not going to track and monitor my behavior, and whatever flows, goes! ;-)

This past weekend my wife and I completed our best year ever planning (yes, we just got our copy too!). We always go on a heart pumping hike before we begin. We like to find a quite and spiritually uplifting vista to do our designing process. Then after a couple hours of work we go to one of our favorite spots to complete the process and celebrate the beginning of our new journey into our new best year ever!

Which of these tips was the best for you? Which will make the biggest difference in helping you stay on track with your goals? Any other ideas, please share in the comments below.


Darren Hardy is the former publisher of SUCCESS magazine, an entrepreneur and New York Times best-selling author of The Compound Effect and Living Your Best Year Ever: A Proven Formula for Achieving Big Goals.

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