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11 No-Fail Ways to Succeed in the New Year

By Abby Rodman, LICSW; Psychotherapist, Author,

Made your list of resolutions yet? Whether you’ve already written them down or they’re still in development, you have every intention on making good on them. But when we reflect on the year we’re leaving behind, why does it always seem we didn’t do/accomplish/finish what we vowed last January 1?

If you don’t want to keep repeating this self-defeating cycle every year, you need a plan. It’s not that you won’t try. You’ve already renewed your gym membership or sworn off sugar. You’ve jotted down notes about that book you want to write. You’ve downloaded that meditation app.

But how do you keep your resolutions from sliding into distant memory by the time the crocuses bloom?

You already know to build your goals into your schedule. And you understand the need to prioritize. You realize you can’t allow your self-proclaimed busy-ness to distract you. All are good practice but it’s not as if you haven’t tried them in the past. Is it possible you need a higher-level overhaul of the way you’re approaching your goals?

Let’s try something different this year.

1) Get smart. Nothing says boredom and dissatisfaction than putting a halt to learning. Without fresh ideas, you’ll stumble at best and atrophy at worst. Never stop trying to teach an old dog new tricks. Opening your mind to new information will feed your creativity and fuel your ambitions. Pick up a book. Watch a documentary. Follow someone on social media whom you admire for his wisdom. Nourish your brain.

2) Try fearlessness. What, actually, will happen if you fail at something? Answer: Not much. You may be ridiculed or embarrassed but…so what? Without some gamble, you don’t run the risk of success either. Your dread of ending up red-faced isn’t reason enough not to try. Go ahead. Take a chance. Every misstep is a precious lesson. Failure isn’t a dirty word. It’s a gift.

3) Don’t lose yourself. Being responsible for others can bring us joy, but be careful you’re not always putting others’ needs before your own. If you commit all your time and energy to others, you’ll quickly find your own dreams and goals on the back burner. There’s a balance. Create it.

4) Practice gratitude. If you had a hot shower this morning or can remember your last meal, you have something to be grateful for. If you’ve lived to see the beginning of this new year, well…you get it. In the grind of daily life, it’s sometimes hard to acknowledge our truest blessings. If you must, start small. The more you’re grateful, the more you’ll have to be grateful for.

5) Chase your own goals. Establish whether your goals are ones you want for yourself, or those others want for you. Being steered in a direction by another’s hopes for you is a surefire recipe for eventual resentment and disgruntlement. Get good with your internal compass and follow where it leads you.

6) Take a step. One step. Any step. Your goals won’t materialize until you start moving toward them. Think of them as someone you’d like to meet at a party. To even have a chance at an introduction, you have to approach her. Standing in the same place — and hoping she’ll make her way over to you — won’t get you anywhere. Same goes for your goals.The closer you inch toward them, the greater your odds of achieving them.

7) Forgive and apologize. Unresolved grievances take up a lot of space in your brain. Ruminating about how you’ve been hurt in the past isn’t worth the time you’re investing in it. Likewise, if you owe someone an apology, offer it. Not making amends for the pain you’ve cause others is an energy suck. Say you’re sorry and lose the distraction.

8) Watch your self-talk. If you’re consistently giving yourself messaging that ensures your failure (“I can’t open my own business…or write that blog…or meet someone new…or go back to school…”), then you must figure out a way to shift to an achieving mentality. To start, fix the way you talk to yourself. Remember, you’re listening.

9) Build a tribe. Find like-minded folks who will support you in your endeavors. You’ll get nearer to making those resolutions a reality if you hold yourself accountable. Having others cheer you on and celebrate your successes with you won’t hurt either.

10) Respect yourself. Achieving your goals begins with feeling pretty good about yourself. Don’t expect to manifest your dreams if you’re engaging in behaviors that have you saying, “What was I thinking?” on a consistent basis. Shame, regret, and embarrassment are all roadblocks to achieving your goals.

11) Ignore the naysayers. There will always be those who have some skewed investment in keeping you down. Whether they’re envious of your ballsiness or they’re trying to protect you from disappointment, that’s their crap to work through. You don’t need others to approve of the song your heart is singing. It’s your song. It’s your dream. Sing along and dream on.