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Tag Archives: make your new years plan

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When you were young, people probably often asked you the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Now that you HAVE grown up, do you know the answer?

It’s okay if you don’t! It’s completely normal (and healthy) to continuously grow and change throughout the years. As our circumstances and outlook change, we might find ourselves yearning to try something new or walk down a different path. We may feel the need to modify our career aspirations, health goals, or personal ambitions.

Writer Kirra Sherman says, “There is a rich and deep aliveness that comes from following your heart, in acting on what you love despite any limitations or fears of the unknown.

If you sense that it’s time to make a change (no matter how big or small!), I encourage you to quietly sit with that thought for a while.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is holding me back?
  • What aspects of my life are no longer working for me?
  • What are my big, pie-in-the-sky goals?
  • When I envision my ideal future, what do I see?
  • When I think about the year ahead, how would I like it to go?

Jot down your thoughts–whatever comes to mind. Though they are by no means THE ultimate guide, these questions can help you pinpoint A) What is causing you dissatisfaction in your life right now and B) How you might course-correct and start working toward a better, brighter future.

Of course, these are not light questions by any means. Additionally, you may have difficulty nailing down exactly what is bothering you with your job/lifestyle/habits. If that’s the case, I urge you to get in touch with a career coach (I usually offer a complimentary 30-minute session, if you’d like to see if we’re a good match) or do a little more independent research to help you clarify your path.

It is possible you’ll discover that you feel quite lost and are floundering on where you want to go and who you want to be. If that’s the case, you may want to check out a science-based personal assessment tool such as StrengthsFinder or Insights Discovery. These tools can give you a starting point to begin the next steps in your life journey. Don’t underestimate the power of a little science-based guidance!

If, however, you have a good idea of where you’d like to go and what you’d like to become, it’s time to sit down and strategize. What steps do you need to take to reach your goals? What changes do you need to make? What sacrifices? Should you work with a coach or an accountability partner to help you get there?

As we tiptoe toward the new year, it’s the perfect time to pause and assess your life’s path. If you’re not satisfied with where you’re heading, it’s probably time to make some changes. Remember, you don’t have to do it alone. Plenty of coaches, therapists, support communities, and even family members are able and willing to help. Dare to take the first steps to carve out a better future!


MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY (AND DEEPER DISCOVERY) LICENSED PRACTITIONER, AND FOUNDER OF UXL. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. 
CHECK OUT MARGARET’S ONLINE LEADERSHIP COURSE.

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Happy New Year! Now is the time when many people reflect on the past year, examine their life paths, and resolve to make meaningful change. Though you may start the year with the best of intentions (earning a promotion, losing weight, learning a new language), it’s easy to quickly lose steam after a month or two have passed by.

You might slip up once, then twice, then you toss the whole resolution out the window and tell yourself you’ll do better next year. But that doesn’t have to be the drill. It IS possible to commit to the resolutions you’ve made and actually make positive changes in your life.

Try these three steps:

1. Try 90 Days Instead

While this may seem like cheating, it is actually a good idea to commit to a goal for 90 days rather than an entire year. According to David Horsager, author of the Trust Edge, the attention-span and commitment of most people doesn’t usually stretch beyond three months.

However, he argues that most people can make huge strides in just 90 days. If you map out a plan for that stretch of time (outlining not just what you’re going to do, but how you’re going to do it), you can do everything from losing 20 pounds to writing a novel.

2. Lean On an Accountability Partner

Whether a trusted friend/co-worker or a professional coach, it’s a great idea to use an accountability partner. This is a person who knows about the commitment you’ve made, and agrees to hold your feet to the fire. Ideally, you and your accountability partner will have regular check-ins, so they can keep tabs on your progress and you have an added incentive to get things done.

3. Break Down Your Goals

When I’m coaching individuals or teams, I often advise them to take their goal and break it down into “bite-sized pieces.” When you only look at the end state you’re trying to achieve (write a book, get a raise, eat healthier, etc.), it can seem daunting or downright impossible.

Instead, set incremental goals that lead you to the BIG goal you’re trying to achieve. Whenever you hit one of your incremental goals, don’t forget to celebrate! This will give you a little extra incentive to keep at it.

It’s the New Year, and you want to start it out right. No matter what big-picture change you’re trying to make this year, you CAN get it done. Follow these steps, don’t be too hard on yourself if you have an off day, and don’t forget to celebrate your achievements. Happy 2020!

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY (AND DEEPER DISCOVERY) LICENSED PRACTITIONER, AND FOUNDER OF UXL. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. 
NOW LIVE: CHECK OUT MARGARET’S NEW ONLINE LEADERSHIP COURSE.

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Another year nearly gone means another year to create and accomplish! New Years is a great time to take a look at your own personal and professional development, and decide where next to chart your course. What’s the best way to keep these New Year’s Resolutions? Whether career-oriented or personal, setting attainable goals is important for fulfillment and vitality.

That leaves us with the question that’s always asked: what are the best ways to keep your resolutions? Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

1. Everything Starts with Realistic Goals

Taking stock of where you’re at in your life and where you can go in the year ahead requires a good timeline! Look back at your development throughout the previous year and reflect upon how much you’d like to get done in the year ahead. Incremental challenges to increase productivity are often attainable and great motivational tools. Did you learn the basics of a new skill for professional development? Set out to become an intermediate or advanced learner!

2. Make It Visual

Often mental resolutions can wither or be pushed aside by more urgent projects. Keep written reminders for yourself in calendars and planners of the long-term goal you’re working toward. If you’re known to respond to structure like this, take it a step further and set intermittent and smaller and deadlines to meet them to keep your steppingstones clear.

3. Give Credit Where Credit is Due

Achieving any part of a year-long resolution should be celebrated! Brains respond well to positive reinforcement. Like self-care, self-celebration is an important part of seeing resolutions through to their end. Reward good behavior and accomplishing tasks with fun rewards, like a favorite dessert or a small weekend getaway. 

4. Collaborate

Friends and coworkers may just be the added umph you need. A group mentality is a great external motivating factor in getting work done that needs to be done. Collaborators help keep deadlines firm and goals clear. At the same time, sharing resolutions can foster closer and improved working relationships between you and your colleagues. If your resolution requires seeking out a new skill or group of people, enlisting help outside your existing circles to meet resolutions can provide excellent opportunities to network as well.

Do you feel inspired to tackle your resolutions head on? Sometimes all it takes is a little push. I wish you good fortune in the new year! If you’d like a little more guidance, I’m here to help.

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS®DISCOVERY LICENSED PRACTITIONER, FOUNDER OF UXL, AND CO-FOUNDER OF THE TAG TEAM. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. YOU CAN VISIT HER WEBSITE AT WWW.YOUEXCELNOW.COM

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