Are you one of the majority of people who, with the best of intentions, set new year resolutions, only to have them fading into distant memory by the end of January? Research from the University of Scranton found that just 8% of people achieve their New Year’s goals.

So, what is the difference between people who achieve their goals and the vast majority who don’t?

Many people rely on willpower alone to achieve the results they want. However, a growing body of research shows that the effort to resist temptations repeatedly takes a toll. We have a limited amount of willpower available to us. Some experts compare willpower to a muscle that can get fatigued from overuse. So, you may be able to resist temptation early in the day, but you won’t have the ability to use it later. Then, you get into a cycle of self-blame, which is a mindset that further reduces your chances of success.

Here are some suggestions to help you reach your goals:

1. It’s tempting at the beginning of a fresh, new year to want to make sweeping changes. However, that quickly leads to overwhelm. The brain just isn’t able to cope with many changes at once. It's much more effective to set small. attainable goals throughout the year. Once you've attained one goal, you can go back to work on the next one on your list.

2. Put a buddy system into place. It’s a lot easier to make changes with a friend who is also working toward a goal. You have the accountability plus the fun of the social time. Walking dates or joining a dance or yoga class with a friend is more likely to be something you look forward to than going it alone. You can buddy up for other goals as well. Be creative on how you support each other!

3. Be loving to yourself. Why is it that you want to put your particular goals in place? Do you want more health, time, efficiency, productivity? Examine why you want this. Is it because it will make you feel great and add to your happiness or because you think you should?

While goals are best accomplished if they are specific, with action steps in place, it is important to have the mindset in place that will be sustainable. So, instead of saying “I will loose 20 pounds by exercise and dieting” try “I choose to treat my body with love and respect.” Notice the difference in how those goals feel. Then ask yourself what does it look like when I treat my body with love and respect? Does it feel good to move? In what way? It won’t feel good to overdo, so start small. "Does this food feel like life in my body or not?" I suggest putting into place some questions you can ask your higher self as you go through your day.

Here are some examples from Debbie Ford’s book, The Right Questions.

Will this choice bring me long-term fulfillment or short-term gratification?
Will this choice propel me toward an inspiring future or keep me stuck in the past?
Will this choice add to my life force or will it rob me of energy?
Does this choice empower me or does it disempower me?
Is this an act of self-love or self sabotage?
Am I choosing from my divinity or from my humanity?

And, for when you get off track: “Will I use this a catalyst to grow and evolve or as an excuse to beat myself up?”

No one is perfect! We all get off track. The important thing is what we do with those times. Life is a process of becoming. Embrace the process.

These questions connect you to your higher self, which is loving and wise. They can be used for any goal you may have, whether about better fitness for your body, your relationships, time, new career, or bank account.

Love yourself into the new you in the new year!

Author's Bio: 

Estra Roell is a certified Law of Attraction Life Coach and Advanced PSYCH-K® facilitator, known as America's Life Purpose Coach™. She helps clients get in touch with their highest passions and purpose and assists them to uncover and remove any blockages or old patterns that may be holding them back from living a life of joy, purpose and abundance. Visit her website at to receive her free report on "Visioning and Goal Setting" and Tuesday Success Tips. Listen in to her radio show, Coach Cafe on Blogtalk Radio at on demand.