Forget New Year’s Resolutions – Create a Plan For Success

Why is it that everyone, myself included, keeps saying, “How can it possibly be December already?!” When leading busy lives attending to careers, business, family, friends, and trying to take care of ourselves, time just flies by.

December is the month when we begin to reflect on what has happened for us both professionally and personally during the past year, and about what we want for the upcoming New Year. Although you know it’s been eventful, do you ever find yourself wondering what you have actually accomplished this past year? I certainly do.

Although I am big on setting goals, long ago I gave up making New Year’s Resolutions. My reason is that they usually left me feeling disappointed and frustrated.

For many years, I kept a notebook and sometime during the first week of January, I would write down all my resolutions for the New Year. I would file it away and seldom if ever look at it again. When I did take it out to write my next New Year’s Resolutions, I was often surprised by what I read. Although some were accomplished, most I didn’t even remember, much less complete.

This left me feeling badly and thus starting the year out with negativity, rather than positivity. So over the past few years, I’ve changed my system.

Although one of my main goals for this past year was to complete a draft of the book I am writing, it didn’t get done. Even though it’s coming along nicely, it is taking longer than expected. If I was to focus on that, I would be pretty upset and discouraged.

However, when I look at what did go well, I realize it’s been a pretty good year. I feel proud when I thing about helping my parents manage some medical challenges, and assisting both my daughters to make some huge decisions concerning their own life choices, Professionally, I co-authored a chapter in a professional textbook, spoke at a national conference, expanded my services to include group coaching, and grew my one-on-one practice significantly. When I take the time to acknowledge these things, I feel energized and excited for the upcoming year.

So here are many of the exact steps I use when planning my New Year. I hope you find them helpful. I wish you and your loved ones a joyous holiday season, and enormous success in all you do!

Reflect back

Reflect back and acknowledge all that you accomplished in the past year. Rather than spend time worrying about what didn’t get completed, focus on the many small and large successes of the past year, both personally and professionally. Writing a list and reading it back will make you feel proud.

Define success

Define what success means to you, be specific, and know the reason why it is important to you. A year from, now, when you reflect back, what exactly will make you feel successful? Avoid vague statements, such as ” I will increase my income.” or “I will be healthier.” Be specific. “I will increase my income by 20% so that I feel financially secure.” “I will exercise regularly which will help me control my blood pressure and weight.”

Break the year down into a six-month calendar. A year is a very long time, and lots of things can change from month to month. By looking at your goals and objectives in a smaller time increment, you create a more manageable picture, and a time frame with a sense of urgency to take action. It also gives you the opportunity to revise, add or delete goals dependent on what’s gone on so far, and what you decide you want for the second half of the year.

Categorise your ideas

Categorise your ideas under the different areas of your life. Is the goal related to career and business, finances, health, family and/or relationships, personal growth, or your home? By creating different categories, it will help you with scheduling the time to work on each objective.

Question yourself

Take each objective, and ask yourself the question, “What is it that I really want exactly, and when do I want it by?” If you want to exercise more in the upcoming year, ask the above question, and your answer may be, “I want to be exercising 5 times a week for a minimum of 30 minutes by the summer.” If you are thinking about having a more organized home, visualize what that would look like. The goal might be, “My family room has a place to store toys, a bookcase, and a new carpet by the time my folks come to visit in May.”

Brainstorm actions

Brainstorm and create a list of every action step needed for each of the goals in all categories. Hopefully you already have a weekly calendar with defined periods for professional, home and “me” time. Commit to a time slot to shop for a bookcase, research gyms in your area, or create a new marketing plan for your business. Got the idea?

Review your goals

Review your goals every week, and schedule in your next steps on your calendar. Choose a specific 15-minute slot every week to evaluate how you are doing, plan your next steps and schedule them into your calendar.

Once you get absolutely clear on what it is you want, make a decision, and do what it takes to get it done. By next December, you will be delighted and amazed by all you’ve accomplished!


About the Author: Ellen Goldman created her company, EnerG coaching, LLC to help people struggling with issues such as weight loss, stress management, getting in shape, life satisfaction, and other health related problems that can be affected by lifestyle changes. Learn more about her fitness and wellness coaching programs, and receive two free quizzes to assess your readiness to make positive lifestyle changes in your life when you subscribe to her Fitness & Wellness From the Inside Out Monthly Tips at

Be the change that you want to see. Step into your leadership.