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This is the time of year when many reflect on the past year and decide to make some changes in areas that appear to need some adjustment. The reasons for adjustments are as varied as the people who do the adjusting and, unfortunately, the changes usually stop before thirty days have passed. Did you know that it takes at least twenty-eight days to break - or form - a new habit? True story! So the first thing you need to know when you consider a new initiative for your life is - you gotta hang in there for thirty days or more often than not, it won’t stick.

The first thing you must do is make sure that the new strategy is motivating. Write down why it is valuable or important to you. Set milestones that relate to the highest priorities in your life. Without this focus, you can wind up with too many milestones cluttering up your life. Having a sense of urgency in your commitment to your results is something that is very important and must have a time limit.

Your intentional step must be specific to be in that role. Vague or generalized action steps do not function well because they do not provide enough direction.

Set precise measurable's with dates so that you are able to measure your success. Unless you have specific measures in place, you will not know if you are on your way to achieving your outcomes.

Make sure that all of your steps and outcomes are achievable, setting the bar at the exact place it should be. If your steps are too easy to achieve, the end result is anti-climactic at best but can also invoke fear of setting a more difficult outcome that you may miss. Your strategies need to be realistic and challenging in order for them to be rewarding.

Strategies need to be relevant to the direction you want your career and your business to go. Aligning your intentional steps with these two things allows you to develop the focus you need to move ahead. Setting widely scattered steps will have you diddling your time away on nonspecific, directionless activities.

To gain a sense of urgency, your outcomes must have time limits for achievement.

Writing down the specific expectations makes them real and tangible. Put these written expectations where you see them every day so there is a visual reminder of what you want to achieve. Also, a list of written strategic steps underneath the expected outcome keeps you focused on the small steps you need to perform to ensure attainment. To piggy-back on the to-do list:

Make an action plan. Positive outcomes are not achieved with one big effort but rather are achieved by accumulating small actions. By writing out individual steps and crossing each one off after you’ve achieved them gives you a deep sense of satisfaction as well as confidence. As you complete the small steps, you begin to build trust in yourself and your ability to accomplish more and more challenging tasks.

Stick with it! Achieving positive outcomes is an ongoing activity. Review your steps/changes/small actions frequently and build in reminders so that you keep your focus. As you achieve small steps, your action plan may change over time. Look at the first four steps to ensure you are progressing in the direction you want.

So, here are the action steps to take to attain your goals in 2020:

1. Set outcomes that motivate you.

2. Put expectations in writing

3. Put the strategic step in writing underneath the expectations


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