The New Year is coming – is it time for New Year’s resolutions or just plain goal setting?

At the beginning of every new year I would ask my sales team what New Year’s resolutions they had set. I had one team member who hated the idea and always balked at the exercise we went through. I thought he was just being difficult but it turns out he was right, New Year’s resolutions just never seem to work. Fitness clubs are full in January with people’s best intentions of losing weight and getting fit. By Feb every year, the gyms are empty again, much to the chagrin of their owners.

Why do most New Year’s resolutions fail? Because most people are not treating this for what it really is – a true goal setting exercise. You can set goals any time of the year of course but there is something about Jan 1st with a whole new, squeaky clean 12 months laid out in front of you, ripe with potential – and now a whole new decade too. It’s a great time to relook at this year just finished, see what worked and what didn’t, and plan for the year ahead.

But why set goals in the first place? Because we now know that when you set your attention on things you want, you are more likely to move in that direction. Goals cause us to stretch and grow in ways we never have before. Specific, measurable goals, written down, help create an awareness that focuses the brain and chances of success are much more possible. It’s been proven time and time again that it really does work.

But nothing is ever really that simple. That’s why so few people actually take the time to focus, and continue to follow through the whole year. And there are many different goal setting techniques as well so it sometimes can be overwhelming. This year I am going to throw out my usual 3 page list of goals and narrow it down to something short and sweet. I am using the Darren Hardy method. (Darren is the Publisher & Founding Editor of SUCCESS Magazine as well as a CEO Mentor, NY Times bestselling author and motivational speaker. If you haven’t signed up for his daily tips at, you should.)

Darren has always said that the best way to start your new year’s goals is to pretend it is the end of next year, eg. Dec 31, 2020 and you are looking back at the year just past. What would have had to happen in 2020 to make it your best year ever? Or go even further out 5 or 10 years to 2025 or 2030 – what would have had to happen over the last 5 or 10 years to make it the best decade ever?

Here are some good questions to think about as you design your best year:
What do you regret not doing this last year?
What was your best learning and what one thing do you now most need to learn?
What one thing can you do differently this year to enhance your success, to focus your attention?
Imagine yourself at the end of 2020 – look back at the year and say, I’m glad I did………

Darren lays out 6 steps which actually are kind of simple:

1. Pick 3 Big Goals – reduce all to the 3 that will have the most dramatic impact on your life this year
2. Find one thing – what is the one key behavior that is most important to accomplishing each of the big 3
3. Installation – how do you put that 1 thing into your daily routine so you will do what you say you will, every day
4. Track – you can’t improve what you can’t measure*
5. Reinforce – have someone help you stay on track, a partner, group or coach
6. Enjoy – make it fun and celebrate successes – also take a cheat day every once in a while

All successful people have clearly defined written goals and a plan to achieve them. Make this year different, follow the plan so that at the end of 2020 you can look back and say, I’m glad I did…   And, yes this was the best year ever!

* Darren has a great Weekly Rhythm Register that you can get from his website or I can send it to you – or you can always make up your own tracking form. If you need some help creating your best year ever, email me at or call 360 325-6214