With the start of a new year comes the feeling of the potential for positive changes. Most think of January as a renaissance period in their life—an opportunity to start anew and make up for past failures or items procrastinated. But the contradiction of these ideas is that most don’t take the time to write down the things they want to achieve. The act of writing is a commitment that can visibly be seen thus imprinting the idea more deeply into the subconscious. Writing also increases the odds of something getting your attention and raises the possibly of being completed.

Your plans for any new year should consist of your highest desired outcomes. These plans don’t belong to your spouse, friends or the milk man. They only belong to you.

Write down the top three things you’d truly want to accomplish in the coming year. It’s OK to have more goals but start with three to provide momentum. Other goals can be added once you’ve become proficient with the process.

Then, create action plans (on paper again) for how you will complete each goal. No detail is too small to include as you think through the required action steps. The next step is to schedule action steps each day. One of the best techniques to use as you create a schedule is to list, in prioritized order, up to six items that you need to complete that day to further the achievement of your goals. Repeat the process each day and soon, perhaps to your surprise, you will have completed significantly important milestones on your road to a better life.

Let me not oversimplify this process because there are a few other considerations that come into play. Here is the important list that is an integral part of the process:

Be aware of obstacles: There will be inevitable roadblocks that have the potential to delay completion or even stifle the desired change. So, in addition to your commitment and desire to accomplish something, you must be prepared to deal with obstacles. They are inherent with the goal setting process. As you plan your action steps, think about all the possibilities that might creep into the process and derail your forward movement. Then plan how to overcome them.

Seek help when needed: Now is not the time to be prideful and forfeit the opportunity for success. When you are stuck in neutral, seek information in books, on the internet or whatever other sources might be available to educate you and to provide insight into achieving your goals. Think about the people you know who could provide solutions and ideas for new directions. I’m not advocating that you solely depend upon others but don’t let personal pride get in the way of asking for help. We all need a bit of help at some point in our life.

Provide a deadline: A goal without a deadline is just a wish. For every goal and every action step taken, add a date when completion is desired. Deadlines deter decisions to procrastinate.

Periodically evaluate and reflect on your progress: Monitor your progress to assure yourself that you are moving forward, not regressing. Every step of the way needs evaluation to determine if that step is the best one to take or one that will produce the results you were seeking to achieve. Evaluation and reflection are the keys to unlocking your success door.

Visualize your success: We’ve all heard that positive thinking works best. Well visualization in a positive fashion is even better. Picture, in your mind, how you will feel once a goal is achieved. Experience the emotion associated with the achievement. Make it as “real” a visualization as you can. The more often you engage in this process, the more possibilities surface to make your vision really real.

Never give up: Winston Churchill, in his address to the people of England following the German invasion during WWII, passionately pleaded with every Englishman to never, never, never, give in to the Germans. And, you should adopt the same attitude of never giving up striving to achieve a strongly desired outcome for your life.

You only get one shot at life. There is no recycle option. So, make this trip the best it can be. Resolve to make every year YOUR year. Dream big! Work smart! Think positively! Desire deeply! Never give up! And, when the last light is turned off at midnight on December 31, you will find yourself in a position that right now may seem so distant.

Author's Bio: 

Billy Arcement, MEd is a Professional Speaker, Leadership Strategist and President of The Results Group. He wrote the book, Searching for Success, now internationally published. He co-authored, Journeying on Holy Ground—Christian Strategies to Reach Your Personal, Professional, and Spiritual Destiny. Learn more about his services at www.SearchingForSuccess.com 2012. All rights reserved. Use by permission.