6 Steps to Making New Year’s Resolutions That Work

It’s that time of year again when people plan to attend a New Year’s Eve party with friends and family, and then resolve to do something better or different next year.

It’s also the time of the year many people make resolutions that are bound to fail.

But they don’t have to. People sometimes make resolutions that will be impossible to keep. Making realistic, simple resolutions can lead to a greater chance of success in the upcoming year.

According to previous research, we know that nearly 40 percent of people set the goal of starting to exercise, while 13 percent want to eat better. Nearly 7 percent say they want to reduce their consumption of alcohol, drugs, caffeine or to quit smoking. These are all reasonable goals. So how does a person find success with them?

1. Be realistic in your goals.

Choose one goal, then break it down into smaller, more manageable bits. For example, if you want to save $1,000, think about it in terms of saving $20 per paycheck. That makes your goal less intimidating. Every time you save some money, praise yourself. Rewarding yourself for every positive step will help you have the confidence you need to hang in there.

2. Start with a plan and stick to it

Studies show that people who make impulsive resolutions are less likely to stick to them. Think about what is most important to you and create strategies to deal with the problems and setbacks that will come up as you move towards your goal. Tracking your progress will help as well; the more you monitor and praise yourself, the more likely you are to succeed.

3. Team up with a friend or loved one

Make a list of your goals and share them with a friend or loved one. You are now accountable to two people: yourself and the other person. You will also get a sense of satisfaction from helping your friend accomplish his or her goals, too. Such an informal pact can help hold your feet to the fire when you feel discouraged or want to give up — they can offer you some encouragement and support (and you can do likewise).

4. Look at the bright side and allow yourself mistakes

Focusing on the positive side of things will give you more energy and enthusiasm to pursue your goals. People who believe that they can succeed are more likely to do so. For example, praise yourself for losing five pounds, but don’t punish yourself for gaining one back. You will reach your goal more easily if you accentuate the positive. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t accomplish the small goals you set for yourself, or if one day you “fall off the wagon” or mess up. Remind yourself that every day is a new day and an opportunity to try again.

5. Think of resolutions as opportunities to try new things

Resolutions are a time of the year not only to try and “fix” the problems in your life, but also to try out a new way of being, a new activity or hobby, or a new attitude. Resolutions should not seem like punishments; if you try to make them fun, you will be more likely to stick with them. If your goal is to be healthier, try going for a 10-minute walk before work and enjoying your neighborhood. Think of January first as a chance to adopt a healthier lifestyle, not as the start of a period of denial

6. Try, try again

If you don’t succeed at first, don’t be discouraged. Not many people are able to reach their goals on the first try. Try again! There’s no shame in not succeeding on our first try and although it may be a little discouraging, it doesn’t have to be an excuse to stop.

Source: Psych Central.com

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3 Steps to Gain Control of Your Mind During the Holidays By Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.

There is a tradition on the Mindfulness and Psychotherapy Blog. Every Monday, I cite a quote or a poem that is related to mindfulness and psychotherapy in some way and then explore it a bit and how it is relevant to our lives. For me, quotes and poetry can often sink me into a state of greater understanding. So for today, here is a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson:

“Not he is great who can alter matter, but he who can alter my state of mind.”

I’d have to agree with Emerson. When you really think about it, having our minds altered is powerful as it shades our perception of reality. If something has control over my mind, it can influence me to do anything it wants. Our minds have the potential of been filled with all kinds of distressing thoughts. There may be thoughts that we’re a success or a failure. There may be thoughts that we feel equal to others or that we never measure up. Or maybe there’s thoughts that say, “If I just had (fill in the blank), then I’d be happy.”

There are powerful influences at play in our media that really do alter our states of mind. Unfortunately, they’re usually influencing them with thoughts of “If you don’t have (fill in the blank), then you’ll be unhappy.”

Right after Thanksgiving ended I walked into a Target to get a couple things and lo and behold all of the Christmas decorations were up. Immediately I sensed an opening in me, a state of cheerfulness and a desire to shop.

There is some kind of Pavlovian conditioning in most of us around this time that borders around spending, spending, spending.

Now, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, our economy needs a boost so it would be helpful to spend. We can also view it as a time to be generous and really give to others.

However, the real question is who is choosing your state of mind? Is it you or is it the media?

Take this as an opportunity to choose your state of mind going into this week and through the New Year.

Here are a few steps to make sure you are the one in control of your mind:

  1. Set an intention - Take a moment to really consider how you want to be throughout the rest of the holidays. If you’re going to be with family and friends, how would you like to be with them (e.g., present, listening, playful)? Or maybe the holidays are a grieving time for you this year. How can you be gentle with yourself?
  2. Be present - In order to pay attention to this intention, it’ll be important to integrate some practice that brings you to the present moment. This might be a mindfulness practice such as coming to the breath, or maybe closing the eyes and listening to sounds, or maybe taking a moment to look at all the sights around you. Or maybe reading through the Free Mindful Companion Ebook and allowing that to center and ground you.
  3. Make Meaning - The holidays are meant to be a time of meaning. For Christmas, if it is meaningful, you might consider what the birth of Jesus means to you, or if that isn’t meaningful, you might consider the meaning of being in the rare experience of spending time with people you don’t see often. Or if your holiday is Kwanzaa, you might reflect upon the meaning of your African heritage and culture. No matter your spiritual background, this can be a time to just stop, reflect and make meaning from your life.

As always, please share your thoughts, stories, and questions below. Your interaction here provides a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.

The Hot Poker Principle

The Hot Poker Principle

If you place a poker near the heat of a fire, it too becomes hot.

To Succeed, Follow the Hot Poker Principle.

Be Around Great Men and Women, and Learn From Their Experience.

Visit Great Places

Attend Great Events

Read Great Books


When we look at a certain object, a painting for example – we won’t be able to appreciate what’s in it, what is painted and what else goes with it if the painting is just an inch away from our face. But if we try to take it a little further, we’ll have a clearer vision of the whole art work.

We reach a point in our life when we are ready for change and a whole bunch of information that will help us unlock our self improvement power. Until then, something can be staring us right under our nose but we don’t see it. The only time we think of unlocking our self improvement power is when everything got worst. Take the frog principle for example –

Try placing Frog A in a pot of boiling water. What happens? He twerps! He jumps off! Why? Because he is not able to tolerate sudden change in his environment – the water’s temperature. Then try Frog B: place him in a luke warm water, then turn the gas stove on. Wait til the water reaches a certain boiling point. Frog B then thinks “Ooh… it’s a bit warm in here”.

People are like Frog B in general. Today, Anna thinks Carl hates her. Tomorrow, Patrick walks up to her and told her he hates her. Anna stays the same and doesn’t mind her what her friends says. The next day, she learned that Kim and John also abhors her. Anna doesn’t realize at once the importance and the need for self improvement until the entire community hates her.

We learn our lessons when we experience pain. We finally see the warning signs and signals when things get rough and tough. When do we realize that we need to change diets? When none of our jeans and shirts would fit us. When do we stop eating candies and chocolates? When all of our teeth has fallen off. When do we realize that we need to stop smoking? When our lungs have gone bad. When do we pray and ask for help? When we realize that we’re gonna die tomorrow.

The only time most of us ever learn about unlocking our self improvement power is when the whole world is crashing and falling apart. We think and feel this way because it is not easy to change. But change becomes more painful when we ignore it.

Change will happen, like it or hate it. At one point or another, we are all going to experience different turning points in our life – and we are all going to eventually unlock our self improvement power not because the world says so, not because our friends are nagging us, but because we realized its for our own good.

Happy people don’t just accept change, they embrace it. Now, you don’t have to feel a tremendous heat before realizing the need for self improvement. Unlocking your self improvement power means unlocking yourself up in the cage of thought that “its just the way I am”. It is such a poor excuse for people who fear and resist change. Most of us program our minds like computers.

Jen repeatedly tells everyone that she doesn’t have the guts to be around groups of people. She heard her mom, her dad, her sister, her teacher tell the same things about her to other people. Over the years, that is what Jen believes. She believes its her story. And what happens? Every time a great crowd would troop over their house, in school, and in the community – she tends to step back, shy away and lock herself up in a room. Jen didn’t only believed in her story, she lived it.

Jen has to realize that she is not what she is in her story. Instead of having her story post around her face for everyone to remember, she has to have the spirit and show people “I am an important person and I should be treated accordingly!”

Self improvement may not be everybody’s favorite word, but if we look at things in a different point of view, we might have greater chances of enjoying the whole process instead of counting the days until we are fully improved. Three sessions in a week at the gym would result to a healthier life, reading books instead of looking at porns will shape up a more profound knowledge, going out with friends and peers will help you take a step back from work and unwind. And just when you are enjoying the whole process of unlocking your self improvement power, you’ll realize that you’re beginning to take things light and become happy.

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12 Steps To Living Your Dream Lifestyle

Living a dream lifestyle gives richness to life; you live with excitement, passion, a sense of purpose and a feeling that life is a miraculous gift. You get a spring in your walk, a smile on your face and your energy levels are high. And there is that special something that people feel when they are around you. Welcome to the good life!

Living a dream lifestyle affects all areas of your life. Your health gets better by far. Automatically. Your relationships get far better, automatically (men, you know what I am talking about - women are more attracted to us when we feel good about ourselves, isn’t it?). Your finances improve, automatically. Even if you have problems, they don’t swallow you up, you live on, and rarely pay attention to the doom-side of things. You know what I mean? Not much ruins your day.

The opposite, not living your dream, not living your passions, makes life seem like a struggle, a daily grind, a curse, even.

So how do you win the game of life and live your dream lifestyle?

You do so by setting certain specific things in order. And as with all things, you go first, always. You have to set three things about you in order first.

1. Get clear on what your dream lifestyle looks like by understanding what your top 5 passions are. A passion is not a goal, it is a way of life. Without clarity, you will get lost. You need something to aim for, and a vision of how it looks like when you get there. (Did you know that most people would struggle to tell you with certainty what their top 5 passions are?)

2, Figure out what your strengths and weaknesses are. Do not bother to fix your weaknesses. Don’t. I will show you what to do with them. Focus only on your strengths. That is where you freedom lies. (Did you know that most people would struggle to tell you with certainty what their mental, emotional, spiritual and physical strengths are?)

3. Understand your wealth profile, where you fit in the game of life, and what networks and support you need. There are only 9 possible roles that exist, and we all belong to one of the 9. For example, maybe you are a creator (a maker of content, e.g. a writer, painter or cake maker or chef), or a mechanist (a maker of systems, processes, tools, etc). And we all need each other. The trick is to know where you fall, so you know who else you need. And more. How to arrange them, attract them, and how to release the value found in your strengths and multiply it, leverage it.

Next, you need to understand the fundamentals of life, how life works. If you don’t, you will end up wasting much energy, getting frustrated, using the wrong approaches, and generally get nowhere, which is what most people do on this planet. So here are the fundamentals, in a very small nutshell...

4. Plan the dive, then dive the plan. You need to make a plan, not just any plan, but a life plan. And there is a right way to do this. Yes, I know, life does not always work as planned. But you still need a plan.

5. Understand the Law of Attraction and how to apply it. Most people know it intuitively, some consciously even, but they do not know how to apply it correctly (and this also explains the prayers that never get answered). If they did know how to apply it correctly, worrying would automatically stop to exist in their system. Worrying is an indication that you do not know how to apply the law of attraction properly.

6. To gain certainty, understand the science behind creation. Faith is good. But certainty is better. Understand how our world comes into being, how quantum physics works, and you will suddenly move from hope and faith to certainty. And that, my friend, is like adding twin-turbos to your manifestation vehicle.

7. Information is the key. Faith is running through the dark, sometimes in an unknown forest, head first. You will get to the other side, but you are likely to hit a few trees and bears along the way. Certainty is turning on the lights. Information = lights. Save time (and your ass). Get informed.

8. Apply the 80/20 rule to everything. It will prevent you from wasting most of your efforts.

9. Gain financial intelligence. Without it, your efforts will be scattered in the wind every week. With it, your efforts will go towards growing a garden that will forever feed you even when you stop working. You see, you have to know how to arrange your affairs so that, over time, you progressively move from having to work for money, and onto having money work for you. Most people never take this step! And they are doomed to forever have to exchange their time for currency. Imagine having currency come to you with you having to exchange your time for it.

And now, you are a whole lot closer to beginning to live the dream...

10. Understand very well how to use these tools and you will never get stuck: projects, tasks and strategic next actions. This is a science and art-form that is known by very few, yet it is so easy to learn. Paralysis will forever never, ever bother you again.

11. Connect your strengths to your wealth profile to create abundance in all areas of your life.

12. Get help! Learn how to outsource, delegate and cooperate. This way, you will be free to do only what you love and are strong at, you will have other people do what you are weak at, and you will actually move forward much, much faster and far, far more rewarding, financially and otherwise.

That is it in a very, very tiny nutshell. If you are looking for a top quality set of instructions that shows in detail and exactly how to carry out each of these steps and much more, David Cameron Gikandi and myself have arranged one for you over here:

Persist Without Exception!
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Genuine Happiness Comes from Within

Somerset Landscape - Blue SkyImage by Into Somerset via Flickr

Life isn’t the sweetest candy. Sometimes, when I feel like the world is just too heavy, I look around and find people who continued to live fascinating and wonderful lives. And then thoughts come popping into my mind like bubbles from nowhere – “How did their life become so adorably sweet? How come they still can manage to laugh and play around despite a busy stressful life?” Then I pause and observed for awhile… I figured out that maybe, they start to work on a place called ‘self’.

So, how does one become genuinely happy? Step 1 is to love yourself.

My theology professor once said that “loving means accepting.” To love oneself means to accept that you are not a perfect being, but behind the imperfections must lie a great ounce of courage to be able to discover ways on how to improve your repertoire to recover from our mistakes.

Genuine happiness also pertains to contentment. When you are contented with the job you have, the way you look, with your family, your friends, the place you live in, your car, and all the things you now have – truly, you know the answer to the question “how to be genuinely happy.”

When we discover a small start somewhere from within, that small start will eventually lead to something else, and to something else. But if you keep questioning life lit it has never done you any good, you will never be able to find genuine happiness.

I believe that life is about finding out about right and wrong, trying and failing, wining and losing. These are things that happen as often as you inhale and exhale. Failure, in a person’s life has become as abundant and necessary as air. But this should not hinder us from becoming happy.

How to be genuinely happy in spite all these? I tell you… every time you exert effort to improve the quality of life and your being, whether it is cleaning up your room, helping a friend, taking care of your sick dog, fail on board exams and trying again, life gives you equivalent points for that.

Imagine life as a big score board like those which are used in the NFLs. Every time you take a step forward, you make scoring points. Wouldn’t it be nice to look at that board at the end of each game and think to yourself “Whew! I got a point today. I’m glad I gave it a shot.”, instead of looking at it all blank and murmur “Geez, I didn’t even hit a score today. I wish I had the guts to try out. We could have won!” and then walk away.

Genuine happiness isn’t about driving the hottest Formula 1 car, nor getting the employee of the year award, earning the highest 13th month pay, or beating the sales quota. Sometimes, the most sought after prizes in life doesn’t always go to the fastest, the strongest, the bravest or not even the best. So, how do you become genuinely happy? Every one has his own definition of ‘happiness’. Happiness for a writer may mean launching as much best selling books as possible. Happiness for a basketball rookie may mean getting the rookie of the year award. Happiness for a beggar may mean a lot of money. Happiness for a business man may mean success. So, really now, how do we become genuinely happy? Simple. You don’t have to have the best things in this world. Its about doing and making the best out of every single thing. When you find yourself smiling at your own mistake and telling your self “Oh, I’ll do better next time”, you carry with you a flame of strong will power to persevere that may spread out like a brush fire. You possess a willingness to stand up again and try – that will make you a genuinely happy person.

When you learn to accept yourself and your own faults. You pass step 1 in the project “how to become genuinely happy”.For as long as you know how to accept others, you will also be accepted. For as long as you love and know how to love, you will receive love ten folds back.

Again, throw me that same question “how to become genuinely happy?”. I’ll refer you to a friend of mine who strongly quoted- “Most of us know that laughter is the best medicine to life’s aches and pain. But most of us don’t know that the best kind of laughter is laughter over self. Coz then you don’t just become happy… you become free.”

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