10 ways to make your New Year’s resolutions stick

This article was previously published in the Deseret News.

Sarah wants to lose 20 pounds. Bobby wants to make a million dollars. Kerry wants to find a job. No matter the goal, ultimate success (or lack thereof) is dependent on your ability to make resolutions that stick. If your resolutions aren’t sticky, your goals will fall and quickly wither away, like leaves before winter’s first snow.

Here are 10 ways to make New Year’s resolutions that are sure to stick:

1. Know thy commitment

“Any fool can know. The point is to understand.” ― Albert Einstein

In football, the term “Hail Mary pass” denotes a low probability effort to get the ball to the end zone and score. In essence, you throw the ball as far as you can, cross your fingers and pray like crazy. This play is generally reserved as a “last ditch” effort, and it very rarely leads to success.

Some resolutions are what I call “Hail Mary resolutions” or “Hail Mary goals,” not because the goal itself is impossible or unrealistic, but because the execution is so improbable to yield success. If you are truly committed to achievement, you cannot approach your goals in this way. You can’t simply throw a goal out there, cross your fingers, pray like crazy and expect to achieve the results you seek.

In order to make resolutions that will stick (and lead to success), you have to do the work up front a) to truly understand what it is you’re after, and b) to know what it’s going to take to get you there. Once you’ve decided that the ends and the means are absolutely worth it to you to achieve your goals, your propensity for success will increase tenfold.

2. Equip yourself

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” ― Benjamin Franklin

Preparation is your most important ally if you hope to create resolutions that stick. All too often, people blame failure to achieve on not having something they need to be successful (for example: the right tools, important knowledge, adequate support, etc). If you acted on the first tip, you should know exactly what you need to achieve success. Now, do the work to surround yourself with what you need to win. No excuses.

3. Engage others in your success

“Enthusiasm spells the difference between mediocrity and accomplishment.” ― Norman Vincent Peale

Please, please, please get others involved in your success. There is absolute magic in accountability.

4. Plunge in 100 percent

“Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes but no plans.” ― Peter F. Drucer

Making your New Year’s resolutions happen is about making an absolute commitment — 100 percent. Even if you commit at 99 percent, guess what? You’ll achieve 0 percent of the results. That tiny, seemingly insignificant 1 percent lack of commitment has the power to poison every ounce of your remaining resolve.

5. Grow down

“Do you wish to rise? Begin by descending. You plan a tower that will pierce the clouds? Lay first the foundation of humility.” ― Saint Augustine

You “grow down” in two ways:

1. Don’t be so “grown up” that you can’t take a fall. Setting goals and working towards reaching them is like learning how to walk all over again; you’re going to wobble and you’re going to fall. Follow a child’s example and just keep getting back up. Don’t take yourself so seriously that you can’t handle a little failure along the way. When you mess up, forgive yourself, stand back up, put a smile on your face and move on.

2. Take root. Tree roots grow down for a reason. Be firm in your resolve, and the winds of circumstance will have no power to tear you from your solid foundation.

6. Open war on distractions

“Distraction is the only thing that consoles us for miseries and yet it is itself the greatest of our miseries.” ― Blaise Pascal

We love distractions because they keep our minds off the difficulty of the goal at hand.

There is a strategy to help you stay focused: Act on the things that lead you to achieving your goal each day before you do anything else. Don’t allow yourself to start on any other activities on your to-do list until your resolution activities are complete.

7. Iterate to success

“We all want progress, but if you’re on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.” ― C.S. Lewis

In other words: 1) identify what works for you, 2) do it again, 3) improve each time along the way, 4) repeat. Iterate to success also means to stop doing what doesn’t work and return to what does. Too often we find something that onlypartially works in reaching goals and quit. Instead, try taking what works (learn from what doesn’t) and experiment on the working part again — only this time, add something new to the mix and incrementally innovate your way to success.

8. Narrate progress

“Happiness quite unshared can scarcely be called happiness; it has no taste.” ― Charlotte Brontë

Don’t keep your progress to yourself. Tell someone (who is rooting for you to succeed) all about what you’ve done. This keeps you excited, gets them excited and helps you remain accountable to others. Also, when you mess up, talk about it and ask for advice on how to proceed. Often you’ll find that you already know how to proceed; there is just something about talking about it that make the solutions happen.

9. Go, go, go

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined.” ― Henry David Thoreau

Woot! Woot! That is the sound of your self-talk cheering you on as you make your dreams happen. Doing nothing is depressing. Doing something is elating. Stop worrying. Just go.

10. Keep going

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” ― Thomas Edison

The previous nine tips form the mnemonic: keep going. This year, do it for real. Don’t give up. Take these 10Terrif tips to heart, to mind, to action and then to the bank, the scale or wherever you want your goals to take you.


Richie Norton is a “yellow.” He’s the author of “The Power of Starting Something Stupid” and No. 1 Amazon download “Resumes Are Dead and What to Do About It.” Connect on Twitter: www.Twitter.com/RichieNorton
Blog: www.RichieNorton.com


Ask the Expert

Good day;
My name is Rene;
I just wonder why when redoing the test there would be drastic changes in one’s color code? My friend had done the test in 2009 with strong blue as primary color and white as secondary color. Now, after redoing the test, she says she is still blue as primary color but her secondary color has changed from white to red. She is very confused regarding her new results. I am puzzled too as you mention our color coding are coming from birth. Any explanation why their would be such a drastic change a few years down the road?
Thank you for your help!

Hello, Rene.

Thank you so much for your excellent question! I understand how this could be confusing, and I hope that my response today will help clarify things for you.

So why would somebody take the Color Code Personality Assessment and come out a Blue Core with Secondary White, and then a few years later come out as a Blue Core with Secondary Red?

There are actually a couple of possibilities.

The first possibility is that your friend was not taking the assessment entirely properly. 🙂

Here’s what I mean. In the instructions, we ask the profile taker to answer the questions based on the earliest recollections they have of themselves. In other words, we ask you to answer the questions based on what you were most like as a child. The reason why ties back into our belief that Core Motive is innate, and therefore present at birth– just as you correctly mentioned as part of your question. We want to know what people are like before they begin to change based on external influences, or “filters”.

Sometimes profile takers skip over this part of the instructions and answer based on what they are most like today. That could certainly explain changes that occurred over a period of three to four years.

If people want to assess what they are like today, we actually recommend our Character Code Profile which is designed to address just that.

The second possibility here is that perhaps your friend’s sense of self-awareness in regard to how he/she actually was as a child has become more refined. It is very common for people to take the assessment the first time, learn more about the Color Code through a webinar, workshop or personal study, and then want to retake the assessment as they understand things a little more clearly.

My experience is that the second time that they take it, they usually feel like they are viewing themselves a little more accurately. They typically see themselves more for who they actually are as opposed to what they would like to become. This is commonly a function of feeling less insecure about themselves and less apprehensive about the assessment process in general.

My own personal experience with the Color Code was actually quite like this. The first time I took the assessment, I came out about 51% Yellow and about 49% Red. Once I learned more about it and took the assessment a little more carefully, I actually discovered that I am a “Purist” Yellow (meaning I have no significant secondary Color) scoring at about 82% in the Yellow category.

Thanks again for taking the time to email me with your question, Rene. I hope that my answer is helpful for you and for you friend. Please let us know if we can do anything else to help you.

Very best of living,

Jeremy Daniel

Jeremy Daniel (Core Color: Yellow) has been working with the Color Code since 1998 in various capacities from training in the field personally with Dr. Taylor Hartman to designing customized corporate solutions and new training programs for various industries.  To ask about Jeremy’s training or speaking services, please email and inquiry to jeremy@colorcodetraining.com.


Confessions of a Red–New Year’s Resolutions

I resolve to diet.

I resolve to exercise.

I resolve to improve my relationship with a certain Blue.

I resolve to (once again) work on my limitations.

Does this sound familiar? As you read this, I have (most likely) failed at every one of my resolutions. Yet, every year I, along with millions of people worldwide, insist that this year will be different.

One area I think we would all like to improve upon is our relationship with others. I admit that there are areas I can work on.

Over ten years ago, I was given a book entitled Life’s Little Treasure Book on Wisdom. It is full of sage advice such as: Remember that the person who steals an egg will steal a chicken. As I continued thumbing through this amusing tomb, I came across this bit of advice—more of a challenge, really—that rocked me. It said: For the next twenty-four hours, refrain from criticizing anyone or anything. I decided to try it. Easy enough, right? Well, I am a Red, and like it or not, it’s part of my innate personality to criticize, even if it’s muttering to myself.  I said to myself, “The twenty-four hours starts now. Dang. Now. Doh. Now.” Then, “OK, I’ll start tomorrow”. I don’t believe I was ever successful. I challenge everyone to try it—not just the Reds and Blues.

But you don’t need a Book of Wisdom to become better person for yourself and others. Use the skills you’ve learned from the Color Code.

Work on getting rid of your limitations and building on the strengths you have from you driving core motive and your secondary colors. In other words, resolve to become charactered.

For instance, if there is someone at your job who rubs you the wrong way, begin each morning with a positive greeting. That’s enough for now. Don’t push it. You will seem insincere to the person and most likely you will feel like a phony. After you are comfortable with that first step, go a step further. Ask how their job is going (or some other semi-personal question). Reds…be sure to listen and respond without being impatient.  Yellows…don’t interrupt—this isn’t about you. Blues…don’t get too personal too fast and remember the TMI (too much information) rule. Whites…well, you need to look them in the eye and really pretend to care. You may be surprised that the animosity between you is only a bad habit. Heck, you may have a lot in common. According to statistics, 88% of people leave their jobs because of a bad relationship with a co-worker or supervisor. Maybe your efforts will make it 87%.

But work shouldn’t always come first. According to pittsburgh.about.com, the number one New Year’s resolution is to spend more time with family and friends—a great way to strengthen relationships. Set aside that precious time. Listen and recognize the needs and wants of your loved ones. Remember, your needs and wants may be in conflict with theirs. Your Yellow spouse wants to go dancing while you as a White, would rather go to a movie. Your Blue spouse wants to tell you more than you, as a Red, really want to hear. Your Yellow child follows you around chattering until you wonder why an on/off switch for children hasn’t yet been invented. Before you react, take a moment to think about why they feel the need to share these moments with you, and learn to appreciate that they do.

Becoming charactered will be more difficult than losing twenty pounds, quitting a bad habit, or going to the gym, but in the end, you will see results beyond your expectations.

Now, I better go and practice what I preach.

Happy New Year