NEW YORK CITY — Are your New Year's resolutions floundering as New Year's Day becomes a distant memory?
Don’t despair — motivational speaker and author Gabrielle Bernstein has a plan to assess your goals and get you back on track.
Although many people abandon their resolutions once the usual day-to-day grind sets in, Bernstein said taking steps to examine and build your resolve throughout the year can help you change your life.
Bernstein, whom Oprah Winfrey once described as one of "the next generation of spiritual thinkers,” knows firsthand what it takes to make major change in your life.
Once a nightlife public relations professional whose life was spiraling out of control due to drug and alcohol use, Bernstein used a series of steps to pull herself out of addiction in 2005. She now teaches those steps to help others reach their goals and find the deeper meaning they crave.
“[In 2011] I kept joking about how I was going to get off coffee, but on Jan. 1  I walked right to the coffee shop, so I think it’s all about really wanting it. So now I have a check-in with myself and ask how badly I really want this.”
Bernstein said she likes to set intentions — or resolutions — all year long, not just at new year.
Her third book “May Cause Miracles: A 40-Day Guidebook of Subtle Shifts for Radical Change and Unlimited Happiness” hit the shelves on New Year’s Day, timed to help readers gain the same willingness she has developed to make radical changes in her own life.
To begin, Bernstein suggests writing down your intention and honestly assessing your level of willingness. She uses a scale of one to 10.
“If it’s above eight then I’m OK, I know I can do that this year,” she said.
“It’s hard to write a 10 when you’re really not at a 10, because no one else is looking at the list. Make sure that the desire is backing up the intention, because if I don’t really want it, then it’s kind of a waste of time.”
For those stuck at a six or lower, Bernstein’s new book gives tips on how to build that willingness and gain motivation.
“It’s not that you can’t ever make that change, it might just be that right now isn’t the time for you to make it,” she said.
“I think people are really hard on themselves in the new year and if you don’t really want it then you are going to feel disappointed, and that is more detrimental.”
Here are her five pointers to help you stay on track throughout 2013:
Repeat after me
"Start the week with affirmations or mantras to repeat throughout the day, something along the lines of 'I am ready. I am willing.' By doing this regularly you slowly learn to really commit to that willingness in you.
"It’s all about willingness. It’s all about really wanting it."
Bernstein says meditation and mindfulness can be a powerful part of setting new goals.
Her new Spirit Junkie Alarm Clock app for iPhone helps build a daily meditation habit by sending a "unique affirmation" to your phone each morning when the alarm goes off.
The app will soon be available on Android phones as well.
Tell your intention to another person
“Hold yourself accountable for what you want to do by telling someone else your intentions. Say it out loud to others.”
In addition to telling your friends what you are up to, Bernstein also recommends staying plugged in online with a site like Bernstein’s HerFuture.com, a community of “like minded and spiritually-minded” women to find “spiritual running buddies” who can help you along your path.
Put pen to paper
"Bust out your journal all throughout the year and keep up with your intentions," says Bernstein. "Do some writing around what you desire, journal and start to make those sort of sacred contracts with yourself in your journal.
"By writing, we say that we are committed to this. Sometimes when we put a pen to paper, incredible miracles can happen."
"When we get in the practice of surrendering our will and trusting that we have support around us — whether that support is physical or energetic — it can help us surrender our need to control all outcomes," Bernstein says.