What if you could achieve sales success in 2015 – in 5 simple steps ? According to Forbes, an astounding 92% of all New Year’s resolutions fail – within 30 days. Why ? Most people set resolutions that are far too complex, or require too much willpower to keep going.

But there’s another, deeper problem.

Intrinsically, resolutions are nothing but wishes – things that most people are hoping will somehow, magically come true. Things like “I want to lose ”. Or “I want to work out 3 times per week.”

So what if we focused on habits instead ? According to the appropriately named Zenhabits.net “Resolutions are like wishful thinking, that fade away inevitably as the year’s newness wears off. Goals are great, but it’s hard to juggle 5–10 new goals when you have a lot of other things always going on. Instead, focus on one new habit at a time, and give it your full attention, until it becomes automatic. Then do another new habit. After a year, you could have 12 new habits, and you’ll be a lot closer to any goals you might have wanted to reach.”

So what if you applied that principle to sales – what if you decided that this year wasn’t just about simply “getting by” anymore, but it was about improving results dramatically ?

What habits could you create that would result in a massive, sea change for your professional life or business ? Could make you the top seller in your firm, or even your industry ? Could create an abundance of opportunities in your pipeline, rather than a trickle ?

Here’s a simple, five-step process to help you identify the right habits for 2015 – whether in your sales, in your business or in your life.

1. Decide to get serious

In my own life, I’ve managed a fair amount of changes myself. I’ve built a successful business and practice. Lost significant amounts of weight. Quit smoking. Became a vegetarian. Quit alcohol. Became an avid runner and cyclist. All of those changes started with a simple decision – “I will do this.” If you’re not ready to commit, don’t even try. You will fail. Don’t set goals you’re not able, willing or motivated to commit to.

Instead, pick one or two things that truly matter to you, and decide to get serious about making the changes required to be successful.

2. Set clear goals (not resolutions)

Once you’ve identified what you’re committed to changing, the next step is to set clear, measurable goals. Whether you use something like SMART goal setting or another method doesn’t matter. What matters is that you set your goals, and become clear on what the end result should look like.

3. Identify the habits that support your goal

If goals are the end result, habits are what will get you there. They are the things you do on a daily basis that keep you firmly on track to meeting your goal. A great life is the result of a sequence of great actions. By identifying which actions to take, and committing to sticking with them, achieving your goals is a near certainty.

4. Define your keystone habit

Not all habits are created equal. Keystone habits, in particular, are habits which produce multiple positive outcomes. In other words, identifying and getting the keystone habit just right is paramount to long term success.

It’s like finding the 20% that will get you 80% of the results.

Think about that for a second. What if you could find one simple change you need to make, that will dramatically impact not only all habits you’re trying to cultivate – but gets you massively better results as well ? By their very nature, keystone habits are highly individual and specific to you. I can’t tell you what they are, but I can give you some examples of things that have worked for me.

For transforming my sales success, it’s been making sure I dedicate at least 20% of my time to (intelligent) daily prospecting. Opening up new opportunities for my business every single day has had a massive knock-on effect in terms of new introductions, conversations, opportunities, proposals and wins.

In short, by simply focusing on the first step of the process, I was able to influence all other links of the chain, creating significant change in the process. That’s what keystone habits are – find yours, and when you do, stick with it and focus on it relentlessly.

5. Turn it into a game

By and large, people are way too serious about setting goals. Making it look, sound and feel like work is a surefire way to get bored, demotivated and give up.

There’s only so much willpower we have to spend on a daily basis.

But what if you were able to turn your new habit into a game ? Rather than running on the treadmill, why not find a nice park nearby ? Rather than just run, why not challenge yourself to discover a new route every day ? Why not do some interval training ? Find a few hills to run, and then time your progress for each ascent ?

Trust me on this: turning your new habits into a fun, game of practice will go a long way to helping you see them through to the end.

So there you go, five core steps to turning 2015 into a sales success.

But what do you think ? What’s worked well for you in the past ? And what would you recommend others do when trying to create significant, positive changes in their personal or professional life ?