Why Most New Year’s Resolutions Are Guaranteed to Fail

  • Robert Pagliarini

Nearly all of us make the same mistake when it comes to New Year’s resolutions, one that practically guarantees we’ll fail miserably. Sadly, it’s not just New Year’s resolutions that we blow. Anytime we try to change our behavior, we make the same disastrous mistake. No mas! In the next two minutes, you’ll learn a strategy that you can use to reach any goal or to change any habit. Even the biggest goals, like stopping smoking and getting out of debt, are achievable with this approach.

So, what’s this huge mistake we make when we set goals or try to change a bad habit? We expect to succeed. We have no contingency plan when we fail. When we inevitably come up short — the stats are bleak when it comes to sticking with New Year’s resolutions — we have nothing to do but revert to our old behavior. “Oh well, I lasted three days longer than last year!” you’ll start to hear this week.

Your biggest goals require the biggest changes, the greatest commitments, the most effort and willpower. Those pounds aren’t going to lose themselves; your debt isn’t going away on its own; and the business you want to run isn’t going to start itself. These are massive undertakings that require a great deal of personal fortitude. The effort required to succeed can seem overwhelming, so much so that you might relent. You ditch your diet and eat the brownie. You forgo your budget and buy the shoes. You talk yourself out of business ownership and turn on the TV.

The good news is that one misstep doesn’t have to derail you if you use the One Day, One Week, One Month Strategy. I’ve used this same approach to create radical change in my life and I’ve shown others how to use it effectively. Here’s what you do:

One Day
It doesn’t matter that the book you want to write will take you two years and lots of late nights to complete. It doesn’t matter that the 50 pounds you need to lose will take 12 months of sweat and sacrifice to drop. The hard work? The long hours? None of it matters. The only thing you should focus on is one day. That’s it. Surely you can stick to a diet for one day, right? Of course you can follow your budget for one day. It’s just one day. Get over your excuses. Get over the anxiety. You can do anything for a day.

One Week
If you survive the first day — and you will — all you need to do is focus on surviving six more days. That’s it. You can do anything for a week, and you’ve already made it through the first day.

One Month
Congratulations! You made it a week. The desire to revert back to old behaviors is strong, but you’ve already gone a whole week. What’s another couple of weeks to make it a month? If at the end of the month you decide it’s not worth it, tell yourself you’ll stop, but give yourself a month.

What happens if you falter? As the old saying goes, if you fall down one step, don’t throw yourself down the whole staircase. If on day four you completely blow it, you simply start over. The next morning, you only focus on getting through one day. Then you take another shot at getting through a week, and you will because it will be much easier the second time. If on week three you crack. No problem. The next morning you simply focus on getting through one day. Then one week. Then take another run at one month. You can do this over and over and over again until you succeed.

And when it comes to New Year’s resolutions, you just may need to try a few times before you succeed.

The Most Wanted Gift (and It’s Free!)

The Most Wanted Gift (and It’s Free!)

  • Robert Pagliarini


Over the last couple of weeks I’ve written how you can save money this Christmas and even shared 10 free Christmas gift ideas. If you follow those tips, you’ll make the people on your list quite happy. But if “happy” just isn’t good enough for the most special people in your life, you can give them a gift they will never forget . . .

I was at a party the other night, and after the other guests had left, the host and I sat around the kitchen table and just talked. I mean we really talked — something much deeper and more meaningful than the surface-level chit-chat that occupied most of the evening’s conversations.

What I heard touched me. The host, a neighbor I just met this year, opened up and told me how much he valued our friendship. He said I was an inspiration. I shot back, “I don’t know about that…” but he stopped me. He looked at me thoughtfully and slowly said, “Robert, you really have been.” He then went on to give me very specific events and interactions over the last 12 months of how I impacted his life and why he was grateful we met.

A few things struck me about this conversation. First, I immediately felt overwhelming gratitude. It was an amazing feeling to have someone tell me how much my friendship meant. Nothing feels better than to hear someone tell you how much you mean to them and the impact you’ve made on their life.

Second, whether you are cognizant of it or not, you have had and are having an impact on others — your co-workers, your neighbors, your clients, your family, and your friends. And if you think very long about it, you’ll realize they have had an impact on you.

Third, for a lesser man (or woman), these heart-to-heart conversations don’t just roll off the tongue. They take courage. They also require details. It’s one thing for someone to tell you in glib Hallmark fashion how much you mean to them, but it is a completely different and more profound experience to hear the smallest of details that you thought went unnoticed.

Fourth, there is usually a large disparity between how we see ourselves and how others see us. It can be fascinating and eye-opening to hear how others experience us. And lastly, the feeling that has developed since that night is the desire — maybe more aptly described as a need — to share with those around me how they have impacted my life.

Maybe you’re already good at sharing your feelings. You may argue that throughout the year you tell your friends and loved ones what they mean to you so there’s no need to do it again. Maybe you’re afraid this kind of conversation would make your friend or family member feel uncomfortable. Or more likely, you may be hesitant because it would make you uncomfortable.

Whatever your excuse, I’m going to make it easy for you. Use these questions as your guide. If one-on-one isn’t your thing, write your answers in a letter or card, send them an email, or post the questions and answers to their Facebook wall.

  • What do you appreciate about me the most?
  • What have I done this year that made your 2011 special?
  • How would your life be different if I wasn’t in it?
  • What did I do this year for which you are most proud?
  • What are my best qualities?
  • What traits do I have that you wished you had?
  • How do you experience me?
  • What do you know about me that I probably don’t?

This is your fast track to move beyond pleasantries and platitudes. It will touch the lives of all those you send this to in a powerful and meaningful way. They won’t look at you or the relationship the same. And if that’s not enough, this is one gift you can give and avoid the malls, the lines, and the debt this Christmas. Now that’s something to be grateful for!