It has been 40 days since January 1, 2020, and so many Americans have already given up on their goals for the new year.

I, myself, have already blown my goal of losing 2 pounds each week. I started strong and made it three weeks with working out five times a week and tracking my Weight Watchers points each day. However, I  did not make it to February, and I’m not alone.  According to Business Insider, February is the month when 80% of us fail our New Year’s resolutions.

It’s hard not to make excuses:  a sinus infection and bronchitis slowed me down at the end of January. But being under the weather does not account for the days I just didn’t go to the gym or ate two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (and some of my husband’s ice cream).

Pathetic, some could say.  But I have other goals I have already crushed in these 40 days.

  • In January, I did my first pull-ups (assisted with a band, but I did it). At 51 years old!
  • In January, I held a plank for six minutes.
  • I finished two rounds of substantive manuscript editing of my book. (My New York editor is the best!  Tough, but amazing.)  I even had some of my friends read the first 177 pages of the manuscript.  Scary!
  • The doctor told me (when I was hacking all over the place with bronchitis) that I must be an “athlete” because of my resting heart rate.
  • I chaired a large show choir event at my son’s school. He graduates in 100 days, and it is a blessing to have this time with him.

And there you have it.  No 10-pound loss, but the month was not a bust.  All of this came because of my “pre-work” in 2019… and 2018, 2017 and 2016. You can’t plant a seed and see the tree tomorrow!

Five years ago, I stepped away from the comfort of an amazing salary in the casino world to start my own leadership development and coaching business.

Has it been easy?  Not by any stretch of the imagination.

Has it been worth it?  Absolutely!

My forthcoming book, a memoir, tells the story of what led me to walk away from my comfortable salary and develop my own business. It’s a story about overcoming. Through no fault of my own, I have been dealt some major life obstacles (like when I had the FBI in my living room, asking me about being threatened with murder). In my memoir, I write about those times and reflect on how I overcame life’s craziness, including problems I made for myself. I hope that others will learn from my misadventures and life lessons.

One thing I’ve learned? Reaching your goals is about one thing.


Discipline is my word for 2020.  Get up and show up.   Day after day, even when it is hard!

Discipline is a word that my husband told me was one of the keys to his successful 35 years with the United States Air Force. Randy Ammons is the most disciplined man I know.  He still sets his clothes out each day to serve as a volunteer driver for disabled veterans, bringing them to their doctor appointments.  His life success is built around discipline.

I have spoken with leaders around the world about maximizing their potential, and now I’d like to share my tips with you. Here are the three basic rules to follow to hit your “Big, Hairy, Audacious” Goals.

1. Be Disciplined

Get up every day and schedule time for your big goals.  Schedule a block and just do it!

Run (or walk) to train for your first 5K, 10K, half marathon or full marathon.
If you want to write a book, just start writing.  I started my book in 2017.  Now, in 2020, it will finally go to print!
Track your points on Weight Watchers or MyFitnessPal, even if you have a bad day.
Start studying or training for the new certification or job you want.
Take the class.
Start the business plan for your new company.

“Discipline + Persistence”

Block the time each day to work on your goals.  This, my friends, is what separates those who
“hit” their goals and dreams, from those who do not.  Do the work especially when you don’t feel like doing it.

2. Get Out of Your Own Way!

In The Five Second Rule, Mel Robbins writes that the “moment of hesitation is a killer… Hesitation sends a stress signal to your brain.  It’s a red flag that signals something is wrong – and your brain goes into protection mode.  This is how we are wired to fail. Think about this for a minute.”

Robbins goes on to write that we don’t hesitate to “pour a cup of coffee in the morning.”  But “when you hesitate just before making a sales call or texting someone back, it makes your brain think something is wrong.”

And nothing is wrong!  Thus, the motivation for her book. Read The Five Second Rule. Millions have read it, including me!  It’s the “Just Do It” of books.

The point is to get out of your head and do “it,” whatever it may be.  Our fears are crazy.  The voice in our head that tells us “we are not enough,” or “we will be mocked” or “we aren’t ______” (fill in the blank)  has stopped me and many others from getting what we want.

In my 51 years, I can tell you “stinking thinking” got me some bad outcomes.  On the other hand, my positive “Dawn, you-can-do it” attitude has got me losing over 60 pounds, running full marathons, writing a book, starting my own company and leading the biggest companies.  (And this year, doing a six-minute plank.)

3. Get an Accountability Partner

An accountability partner is not a buddy who will patronize you or allow you to use excuses to slip out of work.  This is someone that wants the best for you, someone who will hold you to your plan: “the blocks of time to meet your goals.”

Along with Erika Lewy (my amazing, feisty editor in New York),  my accountability partner for my book is Brittany Smith in Austin, Texas.  I met her when I worked with her past employer, my client, four years ago.  She is a brilliant, old-soul millennial. Brittany, a God-fearing, Jesus- loving woman, now works for Whole Foods.  She has been recruited by the best of the best, consistently.  As much as I am her mentor, she is mine. Brittany holds me to the fire on getting each phase of my book out the door.

Remember the “best of the best” have coaches and mentors.  Tiger Woods. Michael Jordan… the list goes on.

Call me, I will help you! Helping others achieve their goals is what my business partner,
Dr. Karen Goodnight, do…and is part of “Our Why.”

“A coach is someone who tells you what you don’t want to hear, and has you see what you don’t want to see, so you can be who you have always known you can be.”

Tom Landry


This is YOUR year – 2020!

Start your own business. Work for the promotion.  Go back to school.  Run the race.  Eat healthy.
Whatever.  Just start!

40 days is behind you, tomorrow is a new day!