When setting goals there are five key factors which come into play. If you are cognizant of these factors and address them upfront your prospects for success are increased.

Motivation – The first question you have to ask yourself is why are you setting these goals, why is it important to you, and how will it make a difference in your life? The goals you establish should be internally driven and established by you, not by external forces. The more you define the benefits of achieving these goals the greater your prospects for success as you envision the broader implications.

Goal Setting – You are likely familiar with the acronym SMART as it pertains to goal setting i.e., specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-related. Every single aspect applies when setting your goals for the new year. Break your goal down into smaller, more measurable steps called objectives with timelines or milestones attached to them. Having a series of short-term objectives which you achieve that are associated with a long-term goal reinforces the fact that you are making progress, albeit one step at a time, all of which reinforces your behavior as these small wins mount up into a great victory.

Mindset – The body follows the mind, if the mind is strong the body will be strong. You have to have a firm belief in what you are doing and the associated benefits. Understand it will take time and effort, there will be setbacks, but vow to yourself to stay the course. Be determined, resolute, and 100% committed. Change your vocabulary. You no longer “think” you can do it, you “know” you can do it. This isn’t something you “should” do, it is something you “will” do.

Habits – If nothing changes, nothing changes. The reason you are making this resolution is because of bad habits. To do this requires a change in behavior. If you are not ready to change, you are ready to fail since only a change in behavior will enable you to reach your goal. Stay focused on what you want to do and what you need to do to achieve your goals. Putting your goals in writing and reviewing progress on a regular basis is not optional, it is mandatory, as these actions reinforce behavior and ingrain the process into your memory.

Discipline – Discipline is the soul of your journey. Discipline will enable you to remain steadfast and resolute and give you the will to take the necessary actions and adhere to the regimen required to achieve your goals. A lack of discipline will result in excuses and allow you to become easily distracted or dissuaded from doing what is necessary to achieve success. Develop a routine that is supportive of you attaining your goal. Stick with this routine and make the commitment to follow through. Over time this new regimen will become ingrained as small successes mount up, bad habits are abandoned, good habits are developed, and you are in control.