Make a plan for your professional and personal success.  Want to make sure 2021 is better for you than 2020?  Put a plan together to invest in yourself and take back control of your life and career – they are both too important to just “wing it”.

Here’s the deal.  Millions of people around the world are presently, if they haven’t already, deciding on what their New Year’s resolutions will be.  It happens every year.  And every single year, 80% of people do not succeed at them.   There are a variety of reasons why people fail to follow through on their resolutions, including not really understanding the root cause of both their old and newly desired behaviors.  For many of us, this requires deep reflection, time and a level of honesty that can be extremely intimidating.  Another reason most abandon their resolutions is a failure to plan and to hold themselves accountable.

If you are looking for new and different outcomes in 2021, then focus on investing in yourself and getting very specific about the what, why, and how you will do so.  This path is a straight line to ongoing self development and growth- getting better at who you are and what you do – for yourself and for the people and things you care most about.  A commitment to development should apply to both your professional and personal lives.

  1. The What: Set specific and narrow goals. Generally broad goals are difficult to accomplish because they are extremely vague.  For example, as a New Year’s resolution, “I will get healthy” doesn’t really tell us much.  It’s more of a wish than a goal.  But a resolution like “I will exercise for 30 minutes at least 4 days per week to reduce my resting heart rate to 65 beats per minute or below”- now, that’s specific.  It’s clear what will take place, the frequency and what a successful outcome would look like.
  2. The Why: Get crystal clear on why you’ve prioritized each goal or resolution.  What is motivating you to focus on this goal, this year? Is this a proactive move or are you reacting to something that occurred recently?  If you don’t accomplish this, what are the consequences?  What do you expect to be and feel different if you meet the goal? Do you really care about this or are you choosing this goal because it’s important to others?
  1. The How: Once you are clear on the what and the why, think through how you can most effectively and efficiently accomplish your goal/resolution.  In this day and age, particularly with technology, we have access to resources abound and very rarely need to start from scratch or recreate the wheel.  You can learn or acquire new skills and abilities through a variety of sources, and we are no longer restricted only to returning to school or taking a course (although both of these are still very good options).  There are many other low cost and accessible learning resources such as podcasts, informational interviews, shadowing, getting a mentor, working with a pro bono coach, etc.


  1. When you’ve done the work to figure out the what, why, and how – the final piece of the plan will be ACCOUNTABILITY.  It is critical to determine upfront how you will stay committed to your resolution and 2021 goals even when life throws you a major curveball – and we know that it will – that’s just how it works.  So, the best way to ensure you move forward despite obstacles, is to plan ahead and think of ways to hold yourself accountable.  The best accountability approach is one that motivates you.  For example, I love to travel…not being able to explore the world leaves me feeling “blue” and extremely restless.  So one way to motivate myself is to make my 2021 trip to Egypt contingent on fulfilling my resolution – if I don’t complete my resolution, then I can’t travel.  (I better get started right now!!!).  Another accountability approach for someone who may be extroverted and values support from others, would be to find an accountability partner – someone you can tell about your goal and who would commit to check in regularly on your progress.

Focus on these four steps and the odds will be in your favor for achieving professional and personal success this year.  It’s time for you to reinvest in yourself.  Write your plan down as yet another way to reinforce your commitment.  Visit The Change Doc for your free and simple development plan template.


The Top 3 Reasons New Year’s Resolutions Fail and How Yours Can Succeed by Kathy Caprino

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