New Year’s Resolutions don’t work! Why? Because these “resolutions” are typically goals, rules or regulations we consciously impose upon ourselves. These resolutions can sometimes just end up being glorified “to-do” lists. Put simply, the techniques used by most people to set goals are ineffective and hence failure is the most likely outcome.

Research in the field of neuro-science indicates that at least 95% of our day-to-day actions are unconscious. This is quite alarming yet extremely useful to know. Knowing this statistic gives a nod in the direction as to where the solution to our perennial New Year’s Resolution problem lies. “Resolutions” that are merely consciously made without being more deeply embedded on the deeper part of our mind i.e. the unconscious mind, are likely to end up on the mountainous scrap heap of unfulfilled New Year’s resolutions and unachieved goals.

Setting Goals is an Art Form

I’m fanatical about writing down my goals - daily, weekly, yearly, etc. I have A4 pads, notebooks and Excel Spreadsheets full of tables of goals, tick boxes, deadlines and so on. I find this useful for keeping me on plan and keeping abreast of where I’m at. However, useful and all as these goal tracking mechanisms are, I find that these tracking methods are not so useful when it comes to setting goals.
Setting goals is an art form. Done properly it requires a much more sensory, immersive interplay of visions, emotions and actions than the usual linear listing of goals with deadlines allow us.

Turning the Invisible into Visible

In our day-to-day life, there are invisible forces at play. The world is not really as people think it is. There’s much more happening to us than we see and there’s much more potential within us then we truly realise. In a way true goals are uncovered rather than set. True goal setting is about turning these invisible forces into outcomes, enabling you to have a deeper, more meaningful relationship with life. Taking the following sequence of steps I believe will serve you better than any list of resolutions or goals ever will:

Step 1: Create a Mental Movie of Your Goal(s)

Sit down at a desk in a room with clear white walls (if possible) and no distractions. Take some deep breaths and look inside your mind, feeling around for both latent and overt goals you have knocking around. Forget about what goals others are setting for themselves. Focus only on what you feel is important to you based on your priorities and values. Now, take a blank copy book and start writing down those things you feel you’d like to achieve this year and the reason why.
Most people are familiar with the use of vision boards as popularised by The Secret and The Law of Attraction. A Vision Board is just a poster or foam board onto which you paste images of thing you want to have, do or be. Well, a mental movie is like a vision board except it’s a rolling picture, complete with sound, feelings, tastes and smells, played out in your mind’s eye.

If you’re not sure how to go about writing these goals down, the following method may work for you. Start by describing the desired goal/scenario in the context of what you See (scenery, people, things etc); what you Hear (sounds, voices etc); what you feel (emotions, textures, sensations etc); what you can Taste and what you can Smell.

Most people write goals as one-liners on a piece of paper but in order for goal setting to be truly effective you need to bring all your senses into the creation of the goal and develop a mental picture completed with accompanying feelings of what it would feel like when you achieve that goal. This is a bit of a Jedi mind trick to be honest. You’re trying to trick your unconscious mind into believing the outcome has already occurred. To do that you need to overload the senses so that the movie kind of spills over into your unconscious mind. Your unconscious mind is non-reasoning. It can’t actually tell the difference between whether something’s right or wrong and something that’s happened and something it thinks has happened. So, as a result of doing this “mind programming” your unconscious mind dictates your conscious actions so that you start behaving and doing things as if you had already achieved that goal. So, for instance, if you managed to successfully install the program of you being fit and toned looking deep into your mind using the techniques outlined in this article, your behaviour will actually change despite yourself. You’ll stop reaching for the nachos and beer, maybe go for a run or pump some iron down at the gym.

I call this “mental movie making” as you’re essentially giving yourself the opportunity to direct a movie of the ideal circumstances for your life. There is little point in forcing yourself to do something you fundamentally don’t want to achieve. You need a compelling, burning desire blazing inside your mind and vibrating in every cell of your body. If you’re sort of blasé about the goal in the 1st place you set for yourself you really won’t achieve it so why waste time setting goals you’re not absolutely 100% fanatical about.

Step 2: Get in a Relaxed State Often and Enjoy

Far too much traditional goal setting and achievement require force - arduous physical or mental effort. People essentially beat themselves up over their goals. This is a crazy, ineffective method of setting goals. The easiest way I know of achieving any goal is getting a clear mental picture of the outcome, relaxing deeply and enjoying the possibility of the outcome. Add a large dollop of desire and your there. It’s game over. If you can replay your mental movie or “program” in this state of deep relaxation, your outcome becomes imprinted deep in your unconscious mind. Deep relaxation is a natural state just before you go to sleep or when you wake up. It is said your unconscious mind is most receptive to receiving programs i.e. goals/outcomes at this time. Ironically enough, relaxation and being energised go together. Through deep relaxation, you get to connect with your deeper self, your true nature. As a result you become self-motivated and cease following programs given to you by society. See our other articles and our website for more details on how to achieve a state of deep relaxation.

Step 3: Install the Program, Rinse and Repeat (21 days min.)

Now that you’ve done your homework in Step 1 and understand the purpose of achieving a state of relaxation in Step 2, you’re ready to install your Goals/Resolutions. All you gotta do here is run the mental movie (or program) you created in Step 1 through your mind in this deeply relaxed state. Play it in your mind just like you would experience a movie. See, Hear, Feel, Taste and Smell the desired goal as a complete experience, as your compelling future, as if it is happening to you already. Engaging all the senses in this relaxed state allows your mind to virtually take a mental photograph of the desired outcome and imprint it onto your unconscious mind for future use. Once the “picture” is taken by the unconscious mind, the material is then accepted by the conscious mind as true (it may or may not be), and dictates our day-to-day actions and behaviours that lead us toward the desired outcome.

Don’t do this “installation” exercise only once. It’s really vital that you produce the neuro-pathways in your mind by consistently repeating this installation exercise for at least 21 days in a row. Indeed, ideally you could try doing it every day for the remainder of your life and upgrade your program along the way as your life improves.

Dr. Maxwell Maltz, (author of the bestselling book “Psycho-Cybernetics”) is credited with first introducing with the idea that it takes 21 days to make or break a habit; that if you develop the habit of doing something 21 days in a row you will keep the habit. According to Dr. Maxwell Maltz, brain circuits take engrams (memory traces), and produce neuro-connections and neuro-pathways only if they are bombarded for 21 days in a row. Or to put it another way, habits become hard-wired into your unconscious mind after constant repetition. So, for the first 21 days of the year, repeat this installation exercise - find a place and time you can relax for at least 30 mins (possibly either just after you’ve woken up or just before you go to sleep) and run this movie through your mind each day.


This technique is beguiling in its simplicity but immensely powerful and life-changing if utilised properly. I’m a big believer in writing down your goals on a piece of paper and beside each goal the reason why it is important to you. This is a fundamental basic requirement of goal setting. If you do this alone, you will increase your chances of success. However, if you want to increase this “chance” to being a near “certainty” than you’ve got to deeply imprint the goal and its emotional outcome onto your unconscious mind and believe without doubt that you can achieve it. In a way, this technique goes way beyond traditional goal setting and motivation and more towards self-realisation. Either which way, whether you simply want to achieve some essential goals this year to move your life forward or want to connect with your true nature and fulfil your life’s purpose, the technique outlined in this article holds the keys to the vault to achieving your new year’s resolutions and all goals in life.

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