Tony Robbins: This is the difference between people who stick to their New Year's resolutions and those who don't

Tony Robbins
David A. Grogan | CNBC
Tony Robbins

It's January 2. New Year's resolution time. And for many, the clock of failure is already ticking. What's the difference between those who stick to their New Year's resolutions and those who don't?

Clarity of purpose. And a plan.

So says business and life coach Tony Robbins.

"Happy New Years everyone! Research shows that 80% of people give up on their New Years resolution by the 2nd week of February!" writes Robbins in an Instagram post. "The reason? What most people call 'resolutions' are really just desires or fun things they wish would happen. The majority of people aren't actually resolving anything within themselves.

"If you want to be a part of the few that do versus the many that talk, you need to be crystal clear— what specific result will you accomplish? What's your WHY (reasons come first, answers come second)? How will you do it? What tools, strategies, or resources do you need to make it happen?"

Those who stick to their resolutions have an understanding of why they are doing what they are doing, Robbins says. There has to be a larger motivating drive underpinning the goal. And when you set your goals (not just at the new year) be sure they make you truly excited, Robbins says.

Take for example billionaire tech entrepreneur Elon Musk, who is CEO of both Tesla and SpaceX. He gets a lot done in part because he has a strong "why."

"The thing that drives me is that I want to be able to think about the future and feel good about that," says Musk, speaking to a group of governors gathered in July. "We are doing what we can to have the future be as good as possible, to be inspired by what is likely to happen and to look forward to the next day."

Once you have established an understanding of why your resolution is important, the next step is to create a strategy and to identify the tools that will help you manifest what you want, says Robbins. Without a plan, your resolution will remain a pipe dream.

To begin to make your goal reality, put pen to paper. "Commit yourself even further and write it down for yourself to review every day this year," says Robbins on Instagram.

Though writing down a goal may sound like surprisingly simple advice, Robbins isn't alone in his recommendation. Billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson says its his top tool for success.

"Ever since I was a child I have made lists of all kinds, including short-term tasks, long-term goals and resolutions. It's how I make sense of the world, bring order to the ideas in my head, and start turning them into action," writes Branson, in a 2017 New Year's Day post on his blog.

Once you have established a goal, understand your motivation and set a plan of action, then keep trying.

"No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow you progress, you are still way ahead of everyone who isn't trying," Robbins says.

See also:

This is the No. 1 trait of great leaders, says a Wharton professor who's studied thousands of executives

Wharton's No. 1 professor: 'Never give up is bad advice. Sometimes quitting is a virtue.'

Richard Branson's best advice for success in 2017