I always enjoy entering a New Year. It is a time of beginning, a fresh start. Our management team has a ritual of coming together at the beginning of each year to reflect on the positive and growing experiences of the last year, and to set a theme and goals for the coming year.  We do something similar at home, however my teenager rolls her eyes and says, “Mom, I just want to live in the moment!”

What about you? Are you one of those who eagerly makes their New Year’s resolutions each year, do you avoid goal setting whenever possible, or somewhere in between? Wherever you fall on this spectrum I would encourage you to ponder the following question:

What would it take to make 2017 the best year of your life?

I believe the reason that many New Year’s resolutions or goals fail is that we set the bar too high with an unrealistic number of goals we wish to accomplish.  A thought I posed to my team was to imagine themselves standing at December 31, 2017 and what would they want to look different. Then I asked them to declare the one thing they wanted to focus on to get there. Of course, when you do this, it is usually easy to come up with a daunting list-one manager had a page of goals. It is fine to start there, but I encourage you to prioritize that list so you have your top goal clearly defined. If you find this difficult ask yourself, “If I could only accomplish one thing this year, what would it be?”

As with any goal setting, make it a “SMART” goal – Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Time bound. I like to add another S to the end of “SMART” – Shared. When we tell someone the one thing we would like to change it creates accountability. I have found having an accountability partner is one of the best ways to help me keep on track. Request this person check in with you regularly to ask how you are doing.

Our life is a gift and our time here is precious. Begin this New Year with identifying one specific thing you are going to do to make 2017 your best year!

“And now we welcome the New Year, full of things that have never been.”  – Rainier Maria Rilke