If you’ve ever been on the New Year’s Resolution merry-go-round, then you know how common it is for resolutions made at the beginning of the year to fail. In fact, recent polls show that while about 88% of us make annual resolutions, only about 20% every keep them. Not very promising is it?

The way most of us make New Year’s resolutions is, according to most Universal principles, a failure in the making. In general, these life promises to ourselves are one-shot deals borne on the wings of beginning-of-the-year hope.

Using that bright new hope energy is a good thing, not a bad thing. But, and here’s a big but, if we don’t follow through with some other steps, then our resolution doesn’t become real. We’ve stopped at the feeling of desire and we haven’t brought anything else to the process. That desire will last only as long we don’t have another desire, even if that new desire is a momentary and fleeting one.

For instance, suppose you resolve to save money in 2005. You might even make out a budget or decide to spend only cash to control overspending. This procedure might work well for a month or two, then suppose you fall in love. All of sudden you want to buy lots of new presents to please and delight the new love of your life. What happened to your original desire to save money? It’s been trampled by your new desire for love. Hmmm…. sound familiar?

So how can you step off this crazy merry-go-round of ever-changing desires and create some real results in your life? Check out these simple steps:

<> Choose Fewer Resolutions: If you want to make a major and lasting change in your life, choose no more than 2 resolutions for the year. That may sound skimpy, but you’ll be able to devote more of your attention to each goal, and you’ll be able to remember them whenever you’re tempted to stray.

<> Get Specific: Write down the specifics about not just your resolutions, but also how you want to achieve them. Whenever you broadcast a strong intention to the Universe, the Universe is going to take the path of least resistance to meet your needs unless you give more specific instructions. You might or might not like the path the Universe chooses. For instance, if you want to lose a lot of weight and don’t specify how you want to lose it, the Universe might send you an almost fatal car-wreck that puts you in the hospital where you will lose plenty of weight, but it’s not the sort of diet plan you had in plan. To avoid this, you could specify that you want lose a certain amount of weight through diet and exercise while improving your health.

<> Keep Resolving: To create real change in yourself, reset your resolve each day or each moment, depending on your level of distraction. It’s a good idea to review your resolutions each morning and visualize situations you might face during your day that will tempt you away from these resolutions. Prepare yourself ahead of time, and mentally program the actual steps you will take in these situations. Then you’ll be ready when the situation actually arises.

<> Appreciate All the Time: Spend less time measuring your progress toward your resolutions, and more time appreciating every step that brings you closer. We live in a society that tends asks us to make faster and faster progress, and this kind of pressure tends to actually hinder us in achieving our resolutions. Rather than looking at the finish line, appreciate every step in the right direction. Appreciation is a nurturing energy that will attract helpful allies into your life. Try it—you’ll surprise yourself!

Above all, if you get frustrated with your progress toward your resolution, remind yourself that this feeling will soon pass. None of us can maintain emotional states for long, even negative ones. When you get frustrated with yourself, go look at something else (anything else) for a while. The negative feeling will pass and you can take the next step toward your resolution again. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy the process!!