It’s late January 2010. Do you know where your New Year’s Resolutions are?

I know we’re only a few weeks into the New Year, but I’m betting that most people reading this article – yes that means YOU! -- have already begun to give up on their New Year’s Resolutions.

If you’re thinking about throwing in the towel on your resolutions, hold on a minute. Help is on the way.

If you’re sincere about wanting to make some changes in your life—perhaps lose weight, get fit, or quit smoking—the first thing you need to do is learn how to harness your HabitForce. What does that mean, you ask?

It means you need to understand and manage the power of habits – what I call HabitForce. These repeated patterns of thought and behavior function like a software program or a personal operating system. The key to fulfilling resolutions or reaching goals of any kind is to reprogram your HabitForce so it works for you, not against you.

Learning how to harness your HabitForce is essential to personal empowerment and achievement. Here is a quick summary of the Six Axioms of Personal Empowerment – six verities or truisms – that we all need to understand in order to take charge of our HabitForce, achieve the goals we set for ourselves – including New Year’s Resolutions – and ultimately reach our potential in life.

Axiom 1: You are what you repeatedly do. Habits shape our lives. We often talk about the “force of habit.” I call this HabitForce. The ability to change begins when we recognize the power of repeated patterns of thought and behavior. Aristotle noted that “excellence is not an act, but a habit.” The same can be said for failure.

Axiom 2: HabitForce can work either for you or against you. HabitForce is neutral. It’s neither positive nor negative. It can either serve your purposes, or work against you. It gets programmed from your earliest years and simply runs on autopilot on the subconscious level, meaning you don’t always know why you do what you do or why you can’t easily change your existing patterns. This software program determines whether you’ll succeed in fulfilling your resolutions and reaching the other goals you set for yourself, or whether those goals will simply fall by the wayside.

Axiom 3: You have a choice—you can “reprogram” your HabitForce! You can reprogram your HabitForce so it works for you by using the Three Rs: Recognize, Reject, and Replace. You can recognize habits or traps you’d like to change, reject these habits, and then replace them with habits or mindsets that will help you achieve your goals.

Axiom 4: You can’t change what you don’t realize. It’s important to spend time in personal reflection and meditation to identify the specific patterns that hold you back and undermine your success. Look for patterns of thought and mindsets that manifest in negative self-talk. Change begins when you bring your ongoing internal dialogue to conscious awareness. Listen carefully to that small, persistent voice in the back of your mind – the inner critic -- that tells you whether you can -- or more often can’t -- achieve something. These messages that you constantly send to yourself have real-world consequences.

Axiom 5: It takes a habit to replace a habit. Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich, also recognized the power of habits, realizing that you can’t simply change a habit—you need to replace one habit with another habit. Many people want to make changes or establish a new habit in their lives, but they don’t take the time to inventory their existing negative habits. My book HabitForce! is built
around two acronyms: FAILURE and SUCCESS. You can use the Three Rs to
recognize and reject FAILURE habits and replace them with SUCCESS habits.

Axiom 6: We become what we think about. We all have the power to become aware of and to change our thoughts. A good exercise is to write down your thoughts so you can detect the subtle messages you send to yourself. Are these positive, empowering messages, or are you sending negative, disempowering signals? Your thoughts are self-fulfilling prophecies, so take stock of what you think about. You will reap in the world what you first sow in your mind in the form of thoughts.

These six axioms will help you reprogram your HabitForce so it works for you. May the HabitForce be with you!


Author's Bio: 

Matthew Cossolotto -- author, guest speaker and executive speechwriter -- is a former aide to Congressman Leon Panetta and to Speaker of the US House of Representatives Jim Wright. His private-sector career includes stints as a CEO-level speechwriter and communications executive at MCI, Pepsi-Cola International, and GTE. The author of HabitForce! – “The User’s Guide for Your Personal Operating System” and All The World's A Podium!, he started Ovations International – "Home of the Standing O®” -- in 1996. Visit for more information.