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Make and keep your New Year's resolutions

Aly Walansky is a freelance writer and editor based in New York City. She lives with her two Shorkie-Tzus, Scarlette and Max, and a display of pink polka-dot-themed home decor -- not to mention a selection of flavored vodka. Check out he...

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New Year's Day is right around the corner and with millions of Americans making their annual New Year’s resolutions, most experts will tell you things like "go slow" and "reward yourself."

Friends running in health club

But is that the best way to go? Or the best way for you? Maybe not. Mental toughness expert Steve Siebold, author of 177 Mental Toughness Secrets of the World Class, says there's much more to it than that.

Whether it's losing weight, quitting smoking, getting organized or climbing out of debt, everyone CAN obtain their goals according to Siebold. He says people need to focus on their thoughts, beliefs, philosophies and attitudes – otherwise they are setting themselves up to fail before they even begin.

If you really want to make those 2012 resolutions stick, here's a great way to start:

  • Winning isn't everything, but wanting to win is. Winners have a "whatever it takes" attitude. They've made the decision to pay any price and bear any burden in the name of victory.
  • Realize that 99 percent compliance is failure. You wouldn't cheat on your spouse in a committed relationship, so don't cheat on something as important as your resolutions.
  • Expect to feel pain or suffer. Most people run into an obstacle and seek escape. Have a plan to push forward when this happens. If you're not ready to suffer during adversity, you're not going to be successful.
  • Don't focus on how to do it, but rather, why should I do it? Why do I want this goal to become a reality? The intensity of emotion with which this question is answered will determine whether the dream comes alive or dies.
  • Get really clear about what you want to change. Don't just say "I want to lose weight," but get specific and say "By March 1, I want to lose 15 pounds. I'm going to eat well, exercise each day and get really committed to doing this once and for all." Setting a timeline will help avoid procrastination.
  • 77 percent of what we say to ourselves is negative, so don't give in to the negative thoughts that the goal is impossible. Keep asking yourself how can I make this happen?
  • Feed your visions and starve your fears. The best way to do this is by creating a vision board. If you want to lose weight for example, cut out pictures of really fit people and tape them on a poster board. Hang the vision board in a very visible location. This will reinforce the goals into your subconscious.
  • One of the biggest problems is that most people have no means of accountability or a support system in place. Go after your goals with a friend or spouse and keep each other on track.
  • Avoid delusion and operate from objective reality. In other words, realize that making a change is going to be hard work, not a walk in the park.
  • Take risks. Don't always have a "play it safe" or "stay below the radar" mentality. Without risk, there can be no progress.

Also, stop caring about what other people think of your goals, Siebold says. Psychologists call it "approval addiction" and once you overcome it to any significant degree, you are free of the psychological chains that bind most people from ever experiencing world-class success.

More New Year's resolutions reads

5 Ways to make your New Year's resolutions stick
Should you make a New Year's sexuality resolution?
Top New Year's resolutions for families

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