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The beginning of a new year can fill you with the exhilaration of a fresh start, new beginnings, and goals for a better year. Or it can fill you with trepidation and despair from past failed resolutions.

Sometimes we approach goals like we are driving with one foot on the accelerator, and one foot on the brake. We want a better life, but we stop ourselves, getting hung up on failures. We don’t realize that even our failures give us experience. It isn’t just about the destination, it’s about the journey.

How can we take our foot of the brake and reawaken the passion of what is possible for us?

Some common reasons people give up on their New Year’s resolutions are:

* Setting too many goals at once.

* Not being fully committed to their goals.

* Not having a plan.

Setting goals

It is easy to sit down and make a long list of everything you want to change in your life; it is hard to actually change, especially if you try to change everything at once.

It is best to think about where you would ideally like to be in all areas of your life, but then only tackle one to three goals at a time. I like to set one to three goals to be accomplished over a 3-month period. This seems to be a short enough time to be doable and not seem overwhelming; but long enough to see real results and develop some good, lasting patterns. I call it my 90-day challenge.


Once you decide on a goal, spend some time contemplating it. Ask yourself:

  • WHAT exactly do I want?
  • Am I truly COMMITTED to achieving this goal?
  • Is NOW the right time?
  • WHY do I want this now?

Often we set a goal because we think we “should;” but we aren’t really ready to give up our vice, the goal isn’t our own, or we aren’t truly committed to doing what it takes to succeed.

Get clear about what YOU really want and are committed to NOW. It is OK to start small.

A plan

Just setting a goal and hoping you will achieve it is not effective. You need a plan to succeed. Here are some elements of an effective plan:

  • Write out a full description of exactly what you want, add pictures if desired.
  • Determine: what steps are necessary to accomplish the goal, what skills you would need to develop, and who could be a help to you.
  • Read the description of your goal daily, imagining what it will feel like to achieve the goal.
  • Set up some regular routines around the goal. For example: if you want to get fit and lose weight, you can set up a regular time and place to exercise and routinely substitute a healthy breakfast for a sugary one.
  • Track your progress, and at the end of the week evaluate your successes and failures and adjust your plan.
  • Don’t get too hung up on the outcome, focus on the journey.

As you begin the New Year, rather than dwelling on your past failures, think about what is possible for you. Tap into the passion inside of you to create the impact you know you are meant to create in this world. Take it one goal at a time, commit, and create a plan.

Take your foot off the brake, drive forward to success, and enjoy the journey.

Pamela Adams Henrie is the owner of The Success Choice and creator of "The Woman's Success Planner" and "The Choosing Joy in the Journey Journal." For more information, or to contact Pamela, log on to her website at

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