According to Mark Murphy, author of “Hard Goals: The Secrets to Getting from Where you Are to Where You Want to Be,” “Eighty-five percent of New Year’s resolutions are abandoned within 90 days of New Year’s.”

For 2011, Murphy wants you to stick to your goals by using four rules. He breaks them down into subsets: heartfelt, animated, required and difficult.

“A goal has to be heartfelt — you have to have some emotional connection to it. It has to be animated, in that we have to visualize it in our minds. Required means we need to feel some kind of urgency for it. And it has to be difficult, as we perform best when our brains are most awake,” he explains.

These four categories add up to the most important goal, what Murphy describes as a “hard goal.” These goals are highly achievable and keep a goal-setter motivated.

“The interesting thing is that too often people view goal-setting as a one-shot endeavor,” Murphy says. “You set the goal, you forget about it and you expect it to take care of itself. How we feel when we initially start a goal, that motivation can wane.”

Murphy also says that setting goals effectively can create happiness, or at least a more positive point of view. “Most people who are great achievers, once they hit a goal, they’re always looking for a new goal,” he says. “We found that people who tend to be the happiest are people who keep goals coming.”

His advice: “Lay down the foundation by finding a goal that you want to do and find an emotional connection to that goal. You have to find some reason that you care about it.”

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