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We’re heading into the second month of the year and I’m betting your goals and resolutions have suffered a setback. If you’re one of the few who hasn’t broken, congratulations to you — you’re in the minority.

For the rest of us, we’re going to have to brush ourselves off and start again. But remember — it’s totally doable!

What’s important is to remember that the overall goal is to get to the end of 2018 — the evening of December 31, 2018 — and look back that evening and say you’ve achieved your goal; so brush yourself off and let’s get re-started!

You started January 1, 2018 with a process for achieving your resolutions and goals. But maybe now is the time to re-examine your process. To step back and assess what’s working and what’s not.

There are some basic frameworks and emerging psychological science for goal-setting, but to be successful you need to know you. Finding the best method will require experimenting.

I wish I had a magic formula for each of you — but the good news is that since you are your own special snowflake, you get to find a process that works for you. Here’s where having a coach can help you identify a process and provide you some accountability so you get better and faster results — but in the end, you’ll need to do the work.

Here are some suggestions:

Whatever you call it — goals or resolutions — use a repeating 3-month timeframe.

Setting yearly goals is setting you up for failure. Most research shows that having goals for a year is less successful. This doesn’t mean you should’t have a vision. A vision and a goal are not the same thing. Have a long-term vision — but short term, measurable goals. Set your vision for your year, then let it go. Focus on committing to specific, measurable goals for 90 day timeframes.

Set goals that are aligned with your life purpose and life vision.

I use Chris Brogan’s 3 Words method to help me articulate an annual vision for my year — then identify my goals that are in line with my vision and my 3 words. There’s ample evidence that it’s easier to achieve a goal if it aligns with a bigger, broader vision or purpose. I love the method of keeping 3 words front and center that reflect your vision for your year — and I hate the fact that often doesn’t get the credit! See more about his method below.

There are no magic bullets for anything good in life.

Let me repeat this — there are no magic bullets for anything good in your life. We hear this over and over yet somehow we think we’ll be the special Unicorn and not have to do the hard work. Sorry. There are no magic bullets for anything good in life.

You’re going to start, stop, re-start, tweak, re-start, stop, tweak, restart… Get comfortable with it.

Seth Godin wrote about temporary setbacks that befall e-v-e-r-y-o-n-e in his iconic book, The Dip. Unless you can walk on water, life is a journey with a zig-zag path. Just start — and be ready to re-start.

Just because January 1 has come and gone doesn’t mean you can’t start — or restart. Stopping and re-starting is part of the process to get to your next chapter.

Several years ago, I finally achieved one of my most important resolutions when I re-started on July 9th! It was a big day for me — I’ve got it written in my journal. What was the resolution? It was a resolution to exercise or move every day — it’s now a daily habit.

Make sure the goal you set can be executed with a process you will fall in love with.

You will need the love of the process to achieve whatever important goal you set for yourself. There is now ample evidence that shows people who love the process of whatever they are doing — the process of hitting the tennis ball, writing sentences, conducting bench research or creating code — are far more likely to achieve the goals they set. Loving the process for your particular goal is called having grit.

You’re going to need grit to get to your goal.

Some days you will just need to do it.

Write down your goals with pen & paper — and look at them every day.

You might even consider handwriting them out every day so your goals stay front and center. Research now shows that there is power in kinesthetic awareness of writing by hand that can help keep you focused. This year I’m writing out my 3 words along with my big goals every day in my journal.

Every 90 days — I’ll have a more to say about goal setting, resources, and books to use to help you execute your goal plan so be sure you’re signed up here for our weekly newsletter, Footnotes for You!

The above comments are a few suggestions. I hope they’re useful. But don’t stop reading, there’s more below!

Continue reading and work through the following 7 Steps:

Step 1: Review 2017 – Know Where You’re Starting

Did you have 2017 resolutions? Which ones did you achieve? What happened to the others? Do you want to give them another go in 2018? What makes you think you’ll achieve them this year? If you don’t know where you’re starting — you’ll never have a clear idea where you want to go. Looking back and learning from the prior year’s wins and losses is key if you want to move ahead. To quote Marshall Goldsmith, ‘What got you here, won’t get you there.” You have to know where here is, if you want to get to there.

Step 2: [One of my favorite exercises!] Create 3 Words to Guide You

Thank You Chris Brogan @ or !

You’ve probably read some blog post about ‘your 3 words’. Lots of people are now on this bandwagon but it originated with Chris Brogan (and his partner, Rob Hatch) at Owner Media over 10 years ago. Chris often doesn’t get the credit. (Just a caveat: I have no affiliation or personal connection with Chris, Rob or Owner Media. I just love their work.)

I love this idea. Chris has written a blog post about the concept every year since 2006. It’s more than just identifying 3 Words — its about knowing why you picked those 3 Words and then using them as guideposts for all your decisions — professional and personal — for the year.

It sounds simple but doing this exercise to get results in 2018 will take some time and some serious thought — so don’t rush it. If you’re going to do it — do it right. Otherwise, don’t waste your time.

Step 3: Visualize and Write Up What December 31, 2018 Will Look Like

Imagine yourself sitting in a favorite chair, a nice glass of champagne by your side, your journal and favorite pen in hand to review your 2018 year on December 31, 2018 —

  • What will you see?
  • What will surround you?
  • How will you feel?
  • What will you feel in your heart & see in your mind on New Year’s Eve 2018?
  • How will 2018 fit with your life’s purpose?
  • What will you have accomplished personally, professionally, physically and spiritually?
  • How and with whom will you celebrate on December 31, 2018?

Step 4: Write a Rough 10,000 ft Quarterly Plan for 2018

Have a rough idea of what you want to accomplish each quarter. I don’t think it’s possible to have a firm plan laid out for the year. There’s too much unpredictability in today’s world. I wish that wasn’t true — but it is. So if you’re going to achieve your goals — you need to approach the process with your eyes wide open. Sketch out our 10,000 ft view of a plan then move to Step 5 & 6.

Step 5: Release Your 2018 Vision and 10,000 ft Quarterly Plan

Let your vision float in the back of your mind. Having a vision for your year is really important, but as I mentioned above trying to hinge yourself to it creates rigidity and doesn’t leave space for those unforeseen, magical opportunities and people who come into our lives and create inspiring, unique next chapters. Have a vision of your horizon but don’t get hinged to the map that gets you there.

Step 6: Outline Q1 with Specific Measurable Goals

You’ve got a vision for your year — you can see yourself on December 31, 2018 and you have a rough idea what you want to feel — and you’re going to release it into the Universe. Now you are ready to commit for the next 90 days. Excited? Here’s where the work begins!

You’ll need to take your quarterly goals and break them out into specific, measurable action steps and assign due dates to them — plus, I strongly recommend you find someone who can be your accountability partner.

For example:

If you want to complete 3 book chapters in 90 days (a book chapter a month) you’ll need to plan the outline for the chapters, identify roughly how many usable words you think each chapter will require, identify how many words you’ll need to write to end up with your usable word count, divide by the number of days you plan to write over the course of the 90 days and voila you have specific, measurable goals for Quarter 1 to achieve your goal.

Here’s another example:

If you want to lose 15 pounds in 3 months — that’s 5 pounds a month or slightly more than 1 pound a week. Easy if you think about it. Now what do you have to do to achieve this — what are you going to eat and how are you going to work out. What’s the schedule for both eating and workout to which you can commit?

Step 7: Commit and Execute

This is the ultimate conundrum: What are you ready to commit to executing?

If the above steps all sounds simple — they are. They’re just not always easy. This is where a coach, mastermind group or some form of accountability partnership can help you.


“The beginning is always today.” Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein

Heidi Weber is an independent, certified life coach with several decades of experience in the corporate and non-profit sector. She uses the power of books to help her clients reach the next chapter in their life journey. Make sure you are subscribed to our weekly newsletter at We can help you review your progress, celebrate your wins and keep moving through Q2, Q3 and Q4 with new worksheets so you can achieve that December 31, 2018 vision you see for yourself.