Yesterday we had one of those surprise, bright blue-sky winter days. The forecast was calling for a week of rain, so when we woke up to sunshine my husband and I decided to take a mid-day break from work and bundled up for some exercise in the fresh air. On our walk we talked about our December activities; how quickly the last few weeks of the year always go; and how we are looking forward to our plans for the year ahead.

I always enjoy entering a New Year. It is a time of beginning, a fresh start. My management team has a ritual of coming together at the end 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, and I remember how one of my teenagers used to roll her eyes and say, “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 2020 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, 2020 and what would they want to see themselves having accomplished. 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 2020 your best year!

“Although no one can go back and make a brand-new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand-new beginning.” Carl Bard