New Year’s Resolutions Don’t Work: Part 2

What process or method can we use to know with absolute clarity what goals we want to achieve, why we want them (our emotional reasons), and how to go about turning those goals into reality?

In part one of this article we looked at why resolutions on their own are without any power or drive — they lack a ‘why’ ,or a reason that compels us, and they lack a method for completion. We looked at the ‘SMART’ method for achieving goals and why that may also come up short for many people.

Without a deep, emotive and compelling reason there is little likelihood that you will follow through and achieve your goals. Has this ever happened to you?

Many personal development gurus suggest having a ‘big enough why’ but no one seems to back up that statement with a system that helps and works.

This emotional, compelling reason is one of the key tenants of Tony Robbins’ Rapid Planning Method (RPM) system.

The best way to start, as Robbins suggests, is to get all of your ideas out of your head and onto paper. This is a concrete way of dealing with the jumble of thoughts in our minds.

We can even start this process with a review of what happened in the last year. What made us happy? What were our disappointments? What were our successes? If we set goals or resolutions, did we achieve them?

Chris Guillebeau, who runs the blog, The Art of Non-Conformity, has been publicly publishing his annual reviews for the last several years. Sometimes looking back is the best way to look ahead.

Cover of "The Art of Non-Conformity: Set ...

Cover via Amazon

With a pen and paper, write out 20-25 goals you want to achieve in the next one to two years. With this ‘idea dump’ complete, we can now breakdown what we really want and what’s needed to achieve our goals in the coming year.

Most resolutions or goals go something like this:

  • ‘I will earn more money in 2014.’
  • ‘I will lose weight.’
  • ‘I will stop eating donuts.’

There is no why or completing reason given in the above examples.

We need to connect with the emotional ‘Why’ behind our resolutions to give them power and a meaning.

Emotions are what drive us, be those emotions of love, compassion, hatred, annoyance, or joy.

How much more likely is it for us to achieve our goals if they are attached to the potent feelings of love, joy, bliss, satisfaction, or happiness?

Let’s now look at the list of 20-25 goals we wrote down. To keep things simple go through the list and pick out your top five goals.

Put a number 1 beside your first top goal. When you come to the next one that you feel is a top-5 goal, ask yourself, ‘Is this more important or less important than the previous one?’

If it’s more important change the previous goal to number 2. Repeat this process until you have your top five.

Next, write out your top five goals on a new piece of paper or on your computer. Finally, we have a list of the things we really want!

Let’s get into our feelings. Why do we want these top five goals? Why are they the most important? How will achieving these goals make us feel both during the proces and completion? What is the purpose or reasons for wanting this result?

This is the language of the RPM system:

We want a ‘Result’ in life.

For many of us stating a goal with a deadline creates a kind of pressure without release. We need to understand goal achievement as a process and not deadline.

We have a ‘Purpose’ for wanting the result.

These purposes are the reasons, the feelings, the smaller outcomes and achievements along the way that help us grow as individuals.

Finally, we establish a ‘Method’

Or as Robbins calls it, a Massive Action Plan, to achieve each result.

If we set big goals, or results, we need a system to manage the process. Often we have so many tasks to complete in our day that we become overwhelmed and have no clue where or how to start and simply give up.

This is where the RPM system is incredibly powerful. It’s a method to plan the course of your day(s) and week, to keep track of what you need to do, a way to defer or delegate, and a method to manage a large number of tasks into smaller, clearly defined groups.

So how do we make this RPM system real?

Let’s use one of my current top five goals, ‘I will workout 3-days per week and do stretching and cardio 2-days per week.’

That’s a typically worded goal that sounds more like a resolution. It’s only slightly specific (with how many days per week) and it’s a habit as opposed to a goal with a deadline.

Here is my resolution transformed with reasons and emotion, using the RPM method:


Three strength training workouts and two stretching session with cardio per week.


  • To take care of my body first so I can do everything else.
  • To keep my energy levels high.
  • To regulate and improve my healthy eating.
  • To keep me feeling young and looking sexy-freaking-hot at 48!
  • To muscle up my body to be hard as steel.
  • To improve the quality and restfulness of my sleep.
  • To increase my natural testosterone and HGH levels.
  • To keep my body strong and injury free.
  • To enhance my consistency in other areas of my life, like my writing and website growth. I need routine.


  1. Design a 3-day workout routine to last for 4-weeks, starting Monday 06 January, 2014.
  2. Calendarize my workouts for Monday to Friday, with weekends off. Decide on a new time to train, since my current time hasn’t always worked out well.
  3. Allow for flexibility: get a membership to my neighbourhood gym in case my work schedule changes resulting in the need to change my workout location and time on short notice.
  4. Wake up weekdays at 6:00am, or earlier, to accomplish other tasks first thing so that I can train later in the day without guilt.
  5. Clean up my eating. Remove all sweets, minimize bread and rice during the week. Allow for cheat days, if desired, on weekends.
  6. No alcohol during the week.

Even though this process takes time and focus, do you see how this can help you get clear about what you want, why you want it and how you can go about achieving the outcome?

I picked a health and fitness goal, since this is probably the number one goal on most peoples list of ‘New Years Resolutions’.

What are your health and fitness goals for 2014?

What are your challenges that you can overcome to achieve those goals?

What is the purpose and the reasons for achieving your results?

Share your goals and thoughts in the comments box below and let’s help each other achieve what’ most important to us with greater clarity and ease in 2014.

Have a very Happy New Year!

© 2013 Darren Stehle. All Rights Reserved.