We’re well into the New Year and, by now, 4 out of 5 New Year’s resolutions are already starting to go by the wayside. That’s right, the research is clear that some 80% of people fail to follow through on their resolutions every year – within the first 30 days.

While fully half of the population use the changing calendar to set new goals each year, they consistently fail to reach them. The #1 reason for this, according to PsychologyToday.com, is that the goals and expectations for changing tend to be unrealistic. Of course, fear of failure and simple procrastination also contribute to this cycle of defeat; and yet, if you approach the challenge of making lasting changes seriously, it can be done.

How to make lasting changes

What were the changes you were hoping to make for 2016?

Make a million dollars? Sell your company? Get your marriage back on track? Spend more time with the kids? Get more exercise? Eat differently, permanently?

It’s not too late to set a goal for change that will work. Try this approach:

  1. Pick only ONE goal (you can have others but have one main priority for the year).
  2. State the goal in a positive, specific, and realistic way (e.g., “My marriage is full of aliveness, connection and intimacy.”)
  3. Write it down.
  4. Put it in your calendar to pop up once a quarter to track your progress.

By doing this, you’re more likely to focus on a single, reachable goal, rather than a menu of things that you’ll never achieve (which is another of the common reasons for failing). You can then examine what could sabotage your progress, and you can develop a detailed pathway to your one goal and track the successes or obstacles along the way.

Be mindful of the present to change your future

If I were to add one other idea for setting yourself up for a powerful 2016, it would be to pick ONE different way of BEING. This is different than a goal that involves accomplishing something, and it complements your goal-setting. It’s a change that starts from within. Examples include, being more patient, tolerant, compassionate, present, grateful, kinder to myself…all examples.

This strategy is particularly important if you are over 50. You most likely have achieved all that will give you joy, you have a lot of stuff, and you are busier than you want to be. What is more important, is who you are and how you go about living; your “way of being”. This is what changes your relationships and your level of satisfaction with yourself and your life. How cool is that?

Real change happens from the inside out. Change your way of being, and magically, things and people around you start to change.

You might even increase the likelihood you will accomplish that ONE GOAL you set for yourself.