Ok, let’s keep it real!

You barged into 2019 with that same old tired list of resolutions, buckets and bottomless moxie (sorry, it’s no mimosa), sipping from a fire hose of goals that you have been daydreaming about since the moment you decided to poop or get off the pot! Look, I’m not one to judge. In fact, the beginning of the year is a very challenging, daunting, and vulnerable time for me. While I have the freedom of owning two businesses (a nonprofit and for-profit) doing what I absolutely love — helping women thrive and giving back to my community — cliff-diving into a laundry list of goals that somehow starts to go south and quickly just takes up valuable space on my refrigerator is something that I’ve struggled with for many, many years, and still do!

It’s not for lack of believing, wanting or trying. Nor is it because my heart wasn’t in the right place when I repurposed that paper napkin and went to town on painstakingly thinking through the goals I wanted to accomplish in the new year. I even tuned in to Pinterest and some of my favorite podcasts in search of inspiration.

At least two dozen.

And for days, even weeks, I felt good about it. This year was going to be different. No more cowtailing my way through it. I was ALL in. It’s now or never. I was done with anything or anybody that was holding me back. It was time to woMAN up!

So I put on my resolute-ARMOR, ready to tackle every syllable on my list, even those words I could barely pronounce.

Day one.

I made it to the gym; jotted down the first few words on my shiny new business plan; escaped the temptation of that second helping of dinner; deposited that extra dollar into my savings; and finally inquired about that class I’ve been wanting to take.

Things really got good on day two. Hell, day three, four, five and even six I managed to plow through it. Then, reality kicked in.

Life happened.

And most days by the time my work day ended, I was so exhausted from the pace and pressures that I hardly had enough energy to think. Needless to say, the three days I committed to go to the gym slowly scaled to two then one. The business plan was beginning to feel impossible to finish. Cutting out the binge eating came to a streaking halt because it kept me sane.

By the end of January, all that pumped-up energy had deflated, and for the next eleven months, I tried my damndest. But before I knew it, spring flew in like a breeze, summer heated up more drama in my life, fall fell forward and landed me in December; and there I was, once again watching the clock tick-tock to the countdown and ready to cliff-dive into another year.

Sound familiar?

So why do we often get stuck in our own humdrum? Think about it. Aren’t we all well-intentioned, even motivated? Don’t we have stamina, grit?

Hell yeah we do!

But sticking to our new year resolution is not about having grit or willpower. According to U.S. News and World Report, 80 percent of New Year’s resolutions fail by February. There’s also a positive emotional connection that is intrinsically linked to it. A study by Barbara L. Fredrickson and Christine Branigan at the University of North Carolina, infer that positive emotions broaden the scope of attention and thought-action. In other words, if your goals are fundamentally tied to positive emotions, then you will likely increase your chances of accomplishing them.

There’s also an element of happiness. If we believe that, by accomplishing our goals, there will be an enhancement in the way we live our lives, expand our happiness or bring joy, then we are more apt to stick to our goals.

Simply put: our goals are doomed to fail if there’s no emotional connection. So don’t sign up for that gym or ink that new business plan unless you’ve given thought to what value, contentment or pleasure it will bring to your life.

I’m reminded of a few compelling stories of people who succeeded at their goals because there was an element of intrinsic value.

Stories like: J.K. Rowling, who was a single mom living off welfare when she wrote the first Harry Potter novel. Now she’s the first billionaire author; or Sidney Poitier, who flubbed his lines in his first audition and was told by the Director to go get a job as a dishwasher. Poitier would go on to win an Academy Award and break down the color barrier in the American film industry; and Thomas Edison, whose teacher told him he was too stupid to learn. Edison went on to hold more than 1,000 patents and invent world-changing devices, including light; or Steven Spielberg, who was rejected multiple times by the Cinematic Arts program at the University Southern California and would go on to create his first blockbuster movie, Jaws, that won three Academy Awards. Today, Spielberg movies have grossed more than $9 billion; and Walt Disney, who was fired from the Kansas City Star because his editor felt he lacked imagination. He’d go on to redefine American childhood; and not to mention, Oprah Winfrey, who was fired from her first television job in Baltimore for “getting too emotionally invested in her stories.”

All of these people had two things in common: a positive mindset and emotional connection.

So, if you’re truly ready to change your mindset and not just dive but thrive, I’ve put together 19 Simple Things You Can Do to Help You Achieve Your Goals.

I personally believe that chipping away at our goals and living half-heartedly can be a thing of the past. But we must give it all we got! If not, it will literally chip away at our soul and sacrifice the most precious thing that we all strive to achieve: happiness.


  • L.Y. Marlow

    Author, Empowerment Advocate

    L.Y. Marlow is the founder of MonsteRise—a women empowerment brand, the founder and CEO of Saving Promise, a national domestic violence prevention organization and the author of Don’t Look at the Monster, the story that inspired Saving Promise and MonsteRise.