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By Thomas Yarnell
Are you tired of making New Year's Resolutions to change some area of your life only to fall short by February? Do you loose your motivation half way through a project? Do you want to know why others succeed and you don't? You are not alone and there is something you can do about it.

There are three main reasons we fail:

1. Lack of motivation
2. No clear- cut goal
3. Pessimistic attitude

Lack of motivation can be caused by different reasons. First and foremost is because the change we want to make is just to please someone else. When this is the case, we almost always fail unless we can find some reason to change that is for ourselves. I personally tried to quit smoking 4 times. Three of them were because someone else in my life wanted me to. I failed all 3 times.

The fourth time happened after I saw a man struggling to walk in the mall. He was pulling an oxygen tank on wheels beside him. His breathing came out in short ragged puffs as he breathed through a hose. This was a result of emphysema. Suddenly, I saw the results of his years of smoking. I was scared. This could be my life if I kept smoking. I now had real, personal motivation. Using hypnosis and Zyban, I designed a program to help me quit easily and with no side effects. Now, six years later, I've still had no desire for a cigarette.

If you need a personal motivator for some change you want to make, get some paper and sit down. Make a list of all the reasons you should change and all the reasons you should not change. What are the positive consequences that will result if you do change? What are the negative consequences that will result if you do change? What are the positive and negative consequences if you do not change?

Analyze your answers. Maybe you will find personal reasons and motivation to change. You may, however, decide that you really don't want to change. If that's the case, fine. Move on to another area of your life.

If you do find the right motivation, you need to look at the next reason people fail at change, which is having no clear-cut goals. Some goals are easy because they involve yes or no. Smoke or don't smoke. Drink or don't drink. Most goals are not that clear-cut. Success depends on you having clear, concise, and specific goals. Losing weight is not a goal. I will lose 10 pounds by Halloween is a clear, concise goal. I will make more money is not a specific goal. I will earn $10,000 more this year than last year is a clear goal. Even quitting smoking can be made more precise by including the date you will quit.

To make a goal work for you, you should write it down in the form of a contract with yourself. Research shows that written contracts carry more power than verbal promises. In the contract, specify what you will accomplish by what date and what will be your positive consequences for completing your contract.

Next, focus on your goal as if it were already accomplished. See, visualize, and focus all your attention on your goal already having been accomplished. Allow yourself to be filled with the pride of accomplishment. This positive energy will help keep you motivated as you work toward your goal.

The third factor that could derail you from reaching your goal is having pessimistic and negative thoughts about yourself. Having doubts about yourself and your ability to reach your goal is often due to previous failures as well as a pessimistic personality style. Years of research on optimism and pessimism show that pessimism interferes with productivity and the completion of goals. Optimism will aid in reaching your goals. Research also demonstrates that optimism and positive self -thoughts and feelings can be learned.

As soon as a pessimistic thought or negative self- idea comes to mind, you must stop and examine the evidence that supports and refutes that idea. Most of the time, if you examine the evidence honestly, you will find that the negative things that you are telling yourself are just not true.

In those few occasions where there might be some truth, you've probably exaggerated the negative way out of proportion. Once you examine your negative self- statements and find that they aren't true or not as bad as you thought, you can go back to working toward your goal with a more positive attitude.

One way to keep that positive attitude is to use positive affirmations. An affirmation is a positive self-statement that you repeat to yourself several times a day. It should mention your goal as already being completed. These specially written affirmations keep your conscious mind focused on staying positive. Repeating phrases such as, "I am a success, I am slim and trim, I am intelligent," or some other positive phrase that represents the opposite of the negative idea you had. Repeat your affirmations three or four times, three times a day. It will keep you positive and boost your spirits. Research states that happy people are more productive and live more fulfilling lives.

Finally, believe you can change and expect the best. You are practically there. You can change your life now using these three techniques.

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