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How To Make Your New Year’s Resolutions Stick - Part 2

Have passion, take action, and you'll get what you're after.

Phil's in the Blanks

Four Stages of Readiness When It Comes To Change.

Stage 1: Compelled by authority to change.

Stage 2: Comply to escape criticism. (“It’s when everybody expects you to do it, so you fulfill their expectations.”)

Stage 3: Intellectually aware of the need for change.

Stage 4: Mentally and emotionally self-motivated by change.

“Stage 4 is when you can honest to God say, ‘I am so sick to death of this that I will not put up with this for another second, for another minute of another hour of another day. I don’t care how scary it is, I don’t care what’s on the other side, I will not put up with this for another second. I will change this, I don’t care what it takes.’ That’s when you get change,” --Dr. Phil

Achieve Your Resolution

Ask: Where am I? Assess where you are 1. Why is this behavior change worthy? Why does it deserve to be on top of your list?

2. What pain is this creating in your life or somebody's life that you want it to stop?

3. What is blocking you from having what you want?

4. Who or what needs to be removed?

5. How will I feel when I have it?

Make sure what you want is going to get you what you think it's going to get you.


1. Your attitude
2. Your effort

1. Express your resolution goal in terms of specific events or behaviors.

"Being happy," for example, is neither an event nor a behavior. When you set out to identify a goal, define what you want in clear and specific terms. I want:

2. Express your goal in terms that can be measured.

How else will you be able to determine your level of progress, or even know when you have successfully arrived where you wanted to be? For instance, how much money do you aspire to make?

Specifically, that means:

3. Assign a timeline to your goal.

Once you have determined precisely what it is you want, you must decide on a time-frame for having it. The deadline you've created fosters a sense of urgency or purpose, which in turn will serve as an important motivator, and prevent inertia or procrastination.

My realistic timeline is:

4. Choose a goal you can control.

Unlike dreams, which allow you to fantasize about events over which you have no control, goals have to do with aspects of your existence that you control and can therefore manipulate. In identifying your goal, strive for what you can create, not for what you can't.

The circumstances I can control in achieving this goal are:

5. Plan and program a strategy that will get you to your goal.

Pursuing a goal seriously requires that you realistically assess the obstacles and resources involved, and that you create a strategy for navigating that reality. Willpower is unreliable, fickle fuel because it is based on your emotions. Your environment, your schedule and your accountability must be programmed in such a way that all three support you — long after an emotional high is gone. Life is full of temptations and opportunities to fail. Those temptations and opportunities compete with your more constructive and task-oriented behavior. Without programming, you will find it much harder to stay the course.

Potential obstacles are:

Resources required are:

6. Define your goal in terms of steps.

Major life changes don't just happen; they happen one step at a time. Steady progress, through well-chosen, realistic, interval steps, produces results in the end. Know what those steps are before you set out.

The necessary steps are:

7. Create accountability for your progress toward your goal.

Without accountability, people are apt to con themselves. If you know precisely what you want, when you want it — and there are real consequences for not doing the assigned work — you are much more likely to continue in your pursuit of your goal. Find someone in your circle of family or friends to whom you can be accountable. Make periodic reports on your progress.

I will create accountability by:

How will you feel when you obtain your goal?

“The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it. Be aware of the thoughts you are thinking. Separate them from the situation, which is always neutral, which always is as it is.” -- Eckhart Tolle

Life Dimensions

  • Personal

  • Relational

  • Professional

  • Familial

  • Spiritual.

Those are five dimensions of your life. If you can think of some others add them. That's okay, but I'm just breaking it down to these five. Your resolutions are probably going to fall into one of those five categories. It's going to be something personal like self-esteem, education, finance or health.

Or it's going to be relational. If it's relational, who are we talking about? Your significant other or friends? Maybe you want to make new relationships. Maybe you want to repair an existing relationship. Maybe you want to re-establish lost relationships.

So you start out broad and then you start narrowing down.

Greatest test in life is how you handle people that have mishandled you.

Think about that. Your greatest test in life will often be how you handle people who have mishandled you. They mistreated you. They've been unfair with you. So, how are you going to handle them? That will be under the relational area. Maybe spouse; friends. Maybe an existing relationship that needs repair.

Then the third dimension was professional. You want to improve your job performance. You want to open a business or change businesses. You want to set some objectives to achieve you want to get a promotion you want to make a career change. Maybe it's time. It's a new decade. Maybe it's time to go out with the old and in with the new.

Maybe it's time to go out with the old. And in with the true.

Maybe it's time to stop lying to yourself. Get rid of old thinking and replace it with honesty. Being honest with yourself.

Out with the old in with the true

Be truthful with yourself.

The fourth dimension was familial. So what about your family? Do you want to improve your relationship with your parents your children your siblings, maybe your extended family your in-laws. Who knows?

Then it's spiritual.

What is it you want to improve spiritually? Your personal relationship with your higher power, your spiritual walk, how you experience day-to-day your spiritual life? Do you want to spend personal study in communion? You want to enrich your prayer life? Do you want to change your life focus where it's more spiritual?

These are the things that you have to ask yourself. I've gone through it now just to stimulate your thinking but this helps you locate your life. This is part of the answer to "where am I?"

None of this stuff comes easy. I get that. It doesn't come easy. But if you don't sacrifice for what you want, what you want becomes the sacrifice.

Don't sacrifice the things that you really really want because you're unwilling to make sacrifices to get them.

You know, I wrote a book long time ago called Life Strategies and in there I had the ten laws of Life. They weren't guidelines. They weren't tendencies. They were laws The Ten Laws Life.

And number one was you either get it or you don't.

Out With The Old - In with the NEW

These are things you need to ask yourself and be really really honest about. I want you to be honest with people about who you are what you want and how you expect to be treated.

  • What characteristics am I carrying with me from one situation to the next?

  • Do I go into situations expecting a negative outcome? Do go in there just thinking this is not going to work?

  • Do I go into situations with a chip on my shoulder?

  • Am I so judgmental that I condemn people in situations the moment. (I arrived! Here Comes The Judge Here Comes The Judge!)

  • Am I so angry and embittered that I spew ugliness on everyone I engage?

  • Am I so insecure that I look for and find examples of how I am mistreated in every situation?

  • Am I so passive and unwilling to claim my space that I invite people to overlook and disrespect me?

  • Do I hide insecurity behind a wall of false superiority and arrogance?

  • Do I try so hard that I wear people out with my overreaching?

  • Do I spend all my time comparing myself to other people?

  • Do I cheat myself out of genuinely experiencing situations by worrying the entire time about how people are viewing me.

  • Have I doomed key relationships in my life by judging and condemning myself and others?

If you engage people with standards there's just a price of Poker to be in your life. If you engage people with standards, you only scare off people that are not meant for you.

If you all of a sudden start saying you're going to have to treat me with dignity and respect and people are like, "oh, well, listen, I was willing to stay around till you started making demands... you start expecting me to treat you with dignity and respect then you're going to have to go. Not willing to do that." Those people weren't meant for you.

You have to always know the difference between what you're getting and what you deserve. Always know the difference between what you're getting and what you deserve. And if there's a big gap there, you need to change out some of the people in your life.

If some of those questions you answer yes, you need to write those down. You've heard me say you have to write things down and you might be walking or driving while you're listening to this podcast, not a good time to write down, when you get home write it down.

Don't underestimate the importance of that. Writing things down suffers from the lack of face validity. I'll tell you what, I mean by that... for something to be seen as valuable... It has to be valid on its face. You look at it and people go, "Oh, yeah, I could see how that would make a difference."

Sometimes things are so simple. They lack face validity go as no big deal. I'm smarter than that.

Let me give you an example... if you would spend 10 minutes a day in guided relaxation. I don't mean chilling out mean guided relaxation where you are actually taught how to relax your body how to void your body of stress and tension.

The effects of that 10 minutes can last up to eight hours, but when I tell people "look it will really help you mentally physically emotionally if you would relax 10 minutes a day two times" they go " yeah, let me tell you I need a lot more than relaxation." You know, actually you don't.

It just doesn't have face validity. So you blow it off. If I came in and said, "okay. I need to hook you up to this big machine" and all these lights are going to go off. These electrodes are going to be put all over the top of your head and they're going to be sending in these impulses into your brain and that's going to change all of your neurotransmitters and your bio physiology then they go. "Oh, wow. Okay, I'll get over there and do that. "

Well that has face validity. But it wouldn't do a damn thing for you. It's just a lot of fancy lights and buttons, but if you would actually relax for 10 minutes twice a day, you would be astounded difference. It would make in your stress and tension levels. Now, I'm just using that as an example of face validity because writing things down lacks face validity when it is so very important.

But since I used it as an example, I'm going to put two links on the website for guided relaxation there about 10 minutes.

All you got to do is click on the link put your earbuds in or your headphones or whatever when you go on break just get somewhere sit down put your earphones on listen to what it says make a big difference has nothing to do with New Year's resolutions. Just since I used it as an example. I'll put it on the website for you. So you can use it makes a huge huge difference. Although it lacks face validity.


Here's what I want you to do when you decide from the five life dimensions... when you choose something under one or all of those categories:

  • Personal

  • Relational

  • Professional

  • Familial

  • Spiritual.

You choose a behavior. Like "I want him prove my relationship with my extended family members my in-laws" or whatever. Then there's four more questions I'm going to ask you to ask. I know up giving you a lot of list here, but I'm trying to put the dots really close together so it can be easy. So you say "Okay. I want to improve my relationship with my extended family."


1. My actual relevant behavior is__________________?

2. What behavior are you doing now that's relevant to that goal?

You've heard me talk about doing an autopsy on your relationships is a good time to apply that that was in our Relationship Reality Check: How Much Fun Are You To Live With? do an autopsy on your relationships. So if you're going to change the relationship with your in-laws first thing, what is your actual relevant behavior? What are you doing that's relevant to that relationship? Good or bad?

3. My actual inner feelings are___________________?

4. How do you really feel about it?

If you got a mother-in-law that's coming over every day telling her daughter that she could have done a lot better than you; you're the daughter and she's coming over telling you you could have done a lot better than him and you actually love him then that's a problem. And if you feel resentment about that, you need to identify that feeling.

5. The negatives that are present are________________? Maybe it's your mother coming over telling you that your spouse is not good enough for you. You ought to dump them.

6. The positives that are absent but are needed are______________? What's missing? Now you have a to-do list. Now you have an idea of what it is you're trying to do and that will help..

Now you're ready to begin creating step-by-step purposeful change in your life. And that means it's time to take charge.

I've been through with you The Seven Step Strategy for setting an attainable goal. You'll remember it if you've been listening and if you haven't I'll give you a real quick review.

1. You need to express your goal in terms of specific events or behaviors. You have to be specific. You don't want to say I want to be happy. What does that mean? Be specific about what your goal is. It's got to have specificity.

2. It has to be expressed in terms that can be measured. How do you know if you've achieved your goal? If you can't measure it? You have to choose something that you can measure like if it's losing weight, which is the most popular resolution all, that one's easy because you can get on the scales and measure it

3. You have to assign a timeline the difference between a goal and a dream is timeline. You got to have a timeline or you'll never get started

4. You got to choose a goal you can control. Don't choose a goal that "I want my wife to be happier. I want my husband to be happier." No, no, you don't control their happiness. You control yours. So choose a goal that you control whether it's your weight your health your career your relationships, but it's got to be something you control now.

5. Plan and program a strategy that will get you to your goal. You heard me say it's not about willpower. It's about a strategy. It's programming your world to support what you want. Set your world up so it pulls for you. It pulls for you, it doesn't resist you it helps you.

6. Define your goal in terms of steps. We don't leap tall buildings in a single bound. What are the steps I need to do this first and the second, this third. Small steps add up to big changes

7. Create accountability for your progress towards your goal. Choose a friend. Do something some way where you've got look somebody in the eye and they're going to hold you accountable.

Well people go after these things in different ways. Everybody has a style everybody has a formula for success. But I can tell you what I have seen people embrace across time that tend to succeed. They might do it in different ways, but these elements are there.

They do have a vision. You don't go after something that you can't envision. You got to be able to see it. If your goal is to lose weight, you need to be able to see yourself at that target weight. How do you look? How do you feel? What do you wear? How do you act? You got to be able to vision your goal and keep that uppermost in your mind.

Then you have to have a strategy a clear thoughtful strategy. Don't just say "Well, I'm just going to start moving towards my goal." No, you're not. Like I said, you got to program your world. Have a strategy change things.

You got to have passion. People that get their goals get excited about them. You don't drudge to success. You skip to success you're excited about it.

Remember I said stage four of readiness for change is you're sick to death of it. You are excited to escape.

Truth. People that succeed tell themselves the truth. They tell themselves the truth. These are not people that were born on third base and tell themselves they hit a triple. I mean, they're honest. Tell yourself the truth. And if your backsliding, don't make excuses. Tell yourself the truth. These people are flexible.

This is not a success only Journey. You are not going to have progress everyday towards your goal. They're going to be days that you slip up. They're going to be days that you don't do well. You know what? The next day you get right back on that horse and start writing again. That is not your reason to quit.

This is not a success only journey. These people take risk. They're willing to take risk. The biggest risk, you're going to take is admitting that you want something you don't have because then you've acknowledged that you're not where you want to be.

Once you've said it out loud, once you have written it down, you've now admitted it. You've now acknowledged it. These people tend to do things with a nucleus around them. A nucleus of people that want them to succeed. So share your goal with people. Let them know what you're after so they can help you. And these people are action oriented. They take action. They don't think it to death. They don't analyze it to death. They get a plan to get a program to get a strategy they get excited and they take action and they make it a priority.

You are going to make sacrifices to get what you want or what you want becomes the sacrifice. Make it a priority in your life. You've got to be a self manager.

You've got one client and it's you. So I'm telling you if you want your New Year's Resolution to really be a changing force in your life, then make the decision, the life decision, that you really do want to change it. Decide, you're so sick of your crap. You're not going to take it anymore.

Make a plan.

Have a strategy.

Get excited about it.

And then... identify the 7-step strategy that you need to get from where you are to where you need to be.

And like I said, you got to shake it up to break it up. If you want different, you've got to do different.

The most over quoted statement I've ever heard from the world of psychology is that

...the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

It's probably over quoted so much because it applies to so many of us. We just keep doing the same thing over and over and over and then we're stunned we don't get different results.

If you want different, do different.

We're headed into a new decade. It's the Roaring 20's. Think about 1920s. It was Prohibition. There were Flappers. I mean it was an exciting time great music speakeasies. It was right before the Great Depression and everybody thought life was great. That's why they called it the Roaring Twenties. Well here we are a hundred years later.

What are you going to do with your Roaring Twenties? Because they're going to go by whether you're doing something or whether you're not.

So choose your resolution, go after it the way I've described and as a second resolution resolve to listen, to Phil in the Blanks because I'm going to be here every week. - Dr. Phil


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