THE BLOG
02/19/2016 12:02 pm ET Updated Feb 19, 2017

How to Keep Your New Year's Resolutions and Other Goals This Year: The 3 D's

So we are officially seven weeks into the near year and New Year's Resolutions have thus officially receded into the murky corners of the memory.

The real point of New Year's Resolutions is to set goals for the year, as "Dreams without goals are merely illusions leading to disappointment. Goals are the path to your destination," as reminds my dear friend/athletic coach/director of fitness to the Belarussian national tennis team, Abdul Sillah.

So when brainstorming with Abdul as to how one can keep the fuel alive in pursuing one's New Year's Resolution, he reminded me of the three D's:

1) Desire

2) Dedication

3) Determination

Desire is the starting point of achieving any goal, New Year's Resolution or otherwise. According to Merriam-Webster, desire is to "want or wish for something to happen." You cannot lose 20 pounds without wanting it to happen. You cannot drop your time in the mile from 8 minutes to 7 minutes, 30 seconds without wanting it to happen. You cannot have the best year of your marriage without wanting it to happen. Said differently, picking a New Year's resolution that you deep in your heart do not want sets you up for failure. Desire is the absolutely prerequisite to the successful achievement of any goal, New Year's Resolution or otherwise.

Dedication is the requisite ingredient to achieving any goal- particularly one as lofty and relatively far-reaching as a New Year's Resolution. Wanting to achieve a goal is the easy part; dedicating oneself to its achievement is harder.

I, for example, have the goal of starting to meditate daily as a New Year's Resolution; I have even purchased the Headspace app to facilitate this goal becoming a reality.

I now need to schedule the time on a daily basis to get the meditation going. Dedication to the goal has been my missing link thus far in achieving this New Year's Resolution. (Let this article be my mandate to re-dedicate myself to this worthy pursuit.)

I have close friends who have set the New Year's Resolution of working out three-four times per week. In their cases, finding a workout buddy or group with whom to work out can be a crucial step toward dedicating yourself to achieving a goal. Why? Because on a particularly cold morning or after a sleepless night, you might not want to get up out of your warm bed 75 minutes earlier than "necessary" to get that workout in. But if you have dedicated yourself to not only the goal but to other people in pursuit of that goal, you will be much more likely to keep going. Particularly in the rosy glow of dawn....

Determination is the grit, the glue, the grind that takes dedication to the next level. Determination enables you to persevere in spite of exogenous circumstances not going your way. To get that 30 minute workout in after a long day at the office if it got goofed up in the morning since you committed to working out four days a week come hell or high water all year. Or to put on my headphones and meditate anyway if you have a flight scheduled during your daily "meditation" time.

Finally, paving a path to achieving a goal rather than expecting yourself from going from zero to 100 mph is also a way to "ease into" any New Year's Resolution/goal-achieving process. Working out one day per week right now but wanting to up it to four? (e.g. Start with two days next week, three days the week after, and ultimately four. Start with meditating every other day versus daily until it becomes a more natural rhythm, etc.) Because achieving goals like New Year's Resolutions are marathons, not sprints. And like with marathon training, sometimes getting started is the hardest part. Once you're in it to win it, inching toward the finish line of your goal gets easier and easier every day that you pursue it.