Realistic Resolutions Part 2

How are your New Year’s goals working out? According to US News, approximately 80% of resolutions have failed by February.

A more effective way to create change is to identify 3 to 5 priorities for your life, write them out clearly, and begin reviewing them daily.  Your time and energy will noticeably begin to align more closely with where you want them to be over time.

“If you successfully completed this exercise in January and have been reviewing your smartphone notes, here’s how you can take your discipline to the next level.”

It’s a powerful exercise to ask on a daily, or very regular, basis: “What am I doing today to impact my priorities the most?” This discipline alone, if you have diligently stated what you want, will make you much more effective.

To boost your success even more, discipline yourself to briefly review how successfully you lived up to your priorities at the end of each day. A simple way to do this is by spending 5 minutes writing one brief paragraph stating how you did that day. Write your answers to the following questions related to your goals:  

What did I accomplish?

What was challenging?

What do I need to tweak?

This exercise will allow you to do two things: First, you will be able to recognize and celebrate the progress you are making. It is easy for driven people to only focus on what didn’t get done. It’s motivating to focus on what we accomplished since it’s always easier to go from victory to victory than it is to go from failure to victory. Second, you will increase your awareness of the things you need to become more disciplined in accomplishing your goals.

At the end of each month, review all of your daily paragraphs and look for themes you need to maintain, strengthen, or tweak. Look ahead at your calendar for the next month and adjust it accordingly.

“Nobody finishes well by accident.” – John C. Maxwell

My mentor, John C. Maxwell, frequently referenced as the #1 leadership expert in the world, describes this daily/monthly review process as one of the most profound influences on his success. I have found it to be impactful in my own life as well.

The most successful people in the world fail frequently. In fact, they realize that there really is no success without failure. The difference maker is continued effort to move forward. Thomas Edison is famous for his perspective on more than a thousand failed attempts to create a light bulb. He didn’t see them as failures but as successful discoveries on how not to create a light bulb.

“If you are already discouraged by what feels like a lack of progress this year –normalize imperfection.“

Acknowledge that if you are focused on growth, you will never arrive. Instead of getting frustrated because you have not been able to achieve your desired, preferred future state, focus on the improvements you have made over the last week. Doing something once this week that you didn’t do at all last week is a 100% improvement.

For Realistic Resolutions Part 1, visit


Bob Willumsen currently serves as an executive leadership coach in companies ranging from entrepreneurial start-ups to Fortune 100 Corporations. For more information, check out his website:

Source: Luciani, J. 2015. Why 80 Percent of New Year’s Resolutions Fail.