With just a few hours left in 2013, everyone is making claims about how they will be different next year, from health to wealth, personal and professional relationships, and everything in between. All the best resolutions dancing in your mind and dreams seem to culminate today in that movie-like fantasy you are going to create and live happily ever after. Right? Not likely. There is nothing wrong with the goals and dreams you have. You are worth them and more! Unfortunately, next year, less than 1% of your resolutions will happen unless you understand how goal setting works, and the common traps that stop you dead in your tracks.

The top 3 reasons resolutions don’t work:

1) unrealistic, grandiose or too big a bite all at once

2) made at a head level, where will power comes from, and not a heart level, where real and lasting change occurs

3) lack strong agreements and accountability with a support network

Sound familiar? You are not alone. Resolutions are often what ‘sounds good in the moment’ or a bonafide dream with a poorly thought out strategy. Resolutions, AKA goals, are not for the faint of heart. If you really want to walk your talk with your resolutions this year and raise a glass of kicking success at the end of 2014, follow the steps below.

Steps to crushing your resolutions (goals):

1) Clarifying your goal. There is no room for vague or wishy-washy here. You want to refine your goal until it is crystal clear, tangible and measurable. What are you going to achieve and by when?

2) Break it down. If you set a 12 month goal or more, break it down into concrete steps about every 2-3 months.

3) Write it down. If you aren’t clear of the staggering difference this makes yet, see the graph to the right. Yes, it matters that much!

4) Why does this matter? This is the litmus test of head or heart. If this REALLY matters, you will likely have some emotions around it. You need a strong WHY from your heart to win.

5) Putting rubber to the road. Almost every great goal fails because it lacks a strong, simple implementation strategy. What is the daily or weekly behaviour you are going to do, that are not currently doing, that ensures you get to your goal?

6) Be accountable. This is where you can increase your chance of success by nine times!! Tell at least two close friends about what you are doing from the above steps. Make an agreement about daily or weekly check-ins with them and exactly what you are reporting (hint – start with what you decided in #4).

7) Negotiate support. You are not in this alone. Ask for someone to participate with you in making your new behaviour a habit. Set up a network of people you can share your successes and challenges with, and be clear with them what you need to hear back to keep going no matter what.

Remember to keep it simple. The seven steps above will help you to choose the resolutions (goals) that truly matter and distill them into a methodical daily/weekly plan to guarantee  your success. The secret byproduct of this process is a massive increase in self-confidence to take on other goals. If you are going to declare resolutions anyway, why not be the one of the small percentage of those who get do the happy dance next year because you rocked your resolutions? You are worth it! You can do it! Time for a new YOU in 2014 and beyond.