Six Steps for Keeping Your 2023 Resolutions

Got goals? Follow these simple but critical steps to stay on track throughout the new year.

January 5, 2023

For his book Think and Grow Rich, first published in 1937 and now in the public domain, author Napoleon Hill picked the brain of one of the greatest business leaders of the early part of the 20th century—Andrew Carnegie. Armed with what he learned from Carnegie and other wealthy people of his time, Hill devised a number of principles that he believed would help other individuals reach their goal of becoming rich.

Within those principles, Hill revealed a six-step plan that continues to be used today by business coaches as a successful way of reaching one’s goals. If you’ve made business resolutions this year, try applying these simple yet critical steps to help ensure that your goals are met—perhaps more quickly and easily than you thought possible.

Step 1: Definite exactly what you want.

Without first having a destination, it’s impossible to determine which way to go and how to get there. Similarly, to obtain a goal, you first need to know exactly what it is you’re aiming to achieve. Hill thought that more you could define your goal and see it in your mind’s eye, the better your chances would be of actually reaching it. So rather than simply say, “I want a successful first quarter,” define the goal more specifically: “I want to make 20% more in this quarter than I made in the last quarter.”

Step 2: Determine what you will give in return.

Hill firmly believed that you can never get “something for nothing.” If you are going to get something—that being, reaching your goal—you’d have to give something in order to get it. It’s reasonable that actions need to be applied and sacrifices might need to be made in order for a goal to be achieved. Consider what you are willing to do and what you might need to give up in order to reach your goal. Perhaps, using the case of a better first quarter, you realize that you’ll need to contact more client leads than you did last quarter. You might have to make more phone calls and be willing to go outside the office more often than you have in the past.

Step 3: Establish a date by which you’ll achieve the goal.

As the saying goes, there’s no day in the week named “someday.” Without the definitiveness of an end date for your goal, you risk not putting in the necessary time and action to get it done. It’s like shooting an arrow without having a target. You’ll never reach the target without first creating one. Equally, a goal without a date to shoot for its completion inevitably fails, as it has no mark to hit.

Step 4: Create a plan and start it IMMEDIATELY.

There’s always an excuse to procrastinate. Hill combats this by proposing not only that you set a plan—a roadmap for your goal’s journey—but that you start it at once. Figure out what your actions need to be, and then get going on your plan right now, whether you feel ready or not.

Step 5: Write it all out.

Writing something down, in black and white, has the amazing ability to make an idea become much more real. Hill advised that you take all of the above steps—your goal, your plan, your actions, your deadline date—and put it all into writing. Use this opportunity to get abundantly clear and specific about everything you wish to achieve and how you’ll go about doing so.

Step 6: Read what you wrote, twice a day.

In order to stay on track, Hill suggests reading what you wrote, at least twice a day—once in the morning when you wake up and again in the evening before you go to bed. Read what you wrote as a statement, not of what will be, but instead what is. For example, “I am making 20% more this quarter” rather than “I will make 20% more.” Using your plan as an affirmation of what is rather that what will be, Hill claimed, creates a “burning desire” that will motivate you, making you even more determined to reach your goal.

As Hill wrote in his book, on the surface, these steps might seem impractical. But according to Hill, great achievers such as Carnegie, who started with very humble beginnings as a steel mill worker, and inventor Thomas Edison saw these steps as not only useful, but necessary for the attainment of any definite goal.

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