01/04/2013 05:13 pm ET Updated Mar 06, 2013

Why Most New Year's Resolutions Are Guaranteed to Fail

Nearly all of us make the same mistake when it comes to New Year's resolutions, one that practically guarantees we'll fail miserably. Sadly, it's not just New Year's resolutions that we blow. Anytime we try to change our behavior -- whether it's investing, losing weight, or writing a book -- we make the same disastrous mistake. No mas! In the next two minutes, you'll learn a strategy that you can use to reach any goal or to change any habit. Even the biggest goals, like stopping smoking and getting out of debt, are achievable with this approach.

So, what's this huge mistake we make when we set goals or try to change a bad habit? We expect to succeed. We have no contingency plan when we fail. When we inevitably come up short -- the stats are bleak when it comes to sticking with New Year's resolutions -- we have nothing to do but revert to our old behavior. "Oh well, I lasted three days longer than last year!" you'll start to hear this week.

Your biggest goals require the biggest changes, the greatest commitments, the most effort and willpower. Those pounds aren't going to lose themselves, your debt isn't going away on its own, and the business you want to run isn't going to start itself. These are massive undertakings that require a great deal of personal fortitude. The effort required to succeed can seem overwhelming, so much so that you might relent. You ditch your diet and eat the brownie. You forgo your budget and buy the shoes. You talk yourself out of business ownership and turn on the TV.

The good news is that one misstep doesn't have to derail you if you use the One Day, One Week, One Month Strategy. I've used this same approach to create radical change in my life and I've shown others how to use it effectively. Here's what you do:

One Day

It doesn't matter that the book you want to write will take you two years and lots of late nights to complete. It doesn't matter that the 50 pounds you need to lose will take 12 months of sweat and sacrifice to drop. The hard work? The long hours? None of it matters. The only thing you should focus on is one day. That's it. Surely, you can stick to a diet for one day, right? Of course you can follow your budget for one day. It's just one day. Get over your excuses. Get over the anxiety. You can do anything for a day.

One Week

If you survive the first day -- and you will -- all you need to do is focus on surviving six more days. That's it. You can do anything for a week, and you've already made it through the first day.

One Month

Congratulations! You made it a week. The desire to revert back to old behaviors is strong, but you've already gone a whole week. What's another couple of weeks to make it a month? If at the end of the month you decide it's not worth it, tell yourself you'll stop, but give yourself a month.

What happens if you falter? As the old saying goes, if you fall down one step, don't throw yourself down the whole staircase. If on day four you completely blow it, you simply start over. The next morning, you only focus on getting through one day. Then you take another shot at getting through a week, and you will because it will be much easier the second time. If on week three you crack. No problem. The next morning you simply focus on getting through one day. Then one week. Then take another run at one month. You can do this over and over and over again until you succeed.

And when it comes to New Year's resolutions, you just may need to try a few times before you succeed.

Robert Pagliarini is a sudden wealth advisor with Pacifica Wealth Advisors and founder of Richer Life, a community of passionate people who want to achieve more in life and at work. You can participate in conversations I have with experts, celebrities, authors, and thought leaders that are laser-focused on practical ways to drive more money, motivation, and meaning into your life. Take the first step toward creating a better life by joining Richer Life for free now!

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