Tips for a Purposeful 2017

Happy New Year girlfriend! It’s a new year and a new you! The possibilities are endless as you take on 2017 like a boss! 

As you think about the year ahead and all that you want to accomplish, remember to take a quick breath before diving in. This time of year people tend to get seriously worked up about creating their New Year's resolutions, figuring out how to undo the effects of too many holiday parties on their waistline, or finally kicking that nagging bad habit. While it’s tempting to follow this trend and set all sorts of new expectations for ourselves, those resolutions made in haste usually drop off pretty quickly for many of us. I know they definitely do for me. 

Every year, the same thing happens: I put together an absurdly long list of resolutions (which run the gamut from flossing my teeth more regularly to exercising X number of times per week to volunteering more, etc) and start off January like a rockstar. I’m tracking my goals and feeling great about myself. Then all of a sudden it’s June and I rediscover the notebook containing my resolutions buried deep in a drawer. Cue the self guilt trip about how I “totally failed” at holding myself accountable to them. Somewhere I completely dropped off. What the hell happened?!

Usually I find that the drop off problem doesn’t entirely come from having too lofty of a goal (though I do tend to set extremely high standards for myself). Instead, the problem ultimately stems from the underlying “why” for each of my resolutions. When I look at it this way, I realize that I made a list of a bunch of things that I felt like I should be doing, rather than a list of things that I cared deeply about. When I can’t answer the “why” of a particular resolution, I’m so much less likely to maintain it throughout the year.

So rather than throwing together a last minute list of 15 different New Years resolutions about things you feel like you should be working on, I invite you to join me in approaching 2017 with purpose. Limit yourself to 3-5 resolutions or goals that you truly care about tackling this year. Maybe it’s deciding if you’re going to apply to grad school. Maybe it’s creating an achievable exercise schedule for yourself. Maybe it’s finally getting out of the job you hate. 

It’s absolutely beneficial to set goals for yourself and a new year is a fantastic time to get started. Just make sure you’re able to answer the “why” underneath each. It will greatly improve your success rate.

Need help getting started? Check out my list of tips below! I’ve even created a downloadable worksheet that you can use to follow along!



1. Reflect on 2016 and celebrate your successes

This past year was tough for lots of people with heaping servings of loss, grief and uncertainty. Many people are ready to give 2016 the middle finger and never look back. No matter what happened last year, though, I guarantee you had some successes. Big or small, you definitely kicked butt in some ways. Close your eyes and think back… What were your successes? How did they make you feel? What did you learn from them?

Now, take those images and warm feelings and do something to celebrate yourself. Maybe it’s doing a little happy dance around your room (a personal favorite). Maybe it’s buying yourself a decadent latte on your way to work. Maybe it’s signing up for that expensive spin class you only go to for special occasions. Maybe it’s popping a bottle of champagne on a Monday night. Do whatever will allow you to be your own champion and to acknowledge your successes.

If you’re struggling to think of anything, remember: YOU ARE SUCCESSFUL! You made it through another year as an adult in this crazy world. Seriously, you got up every day and adulted. It wasn’t always easy, but you did it. At a minimum, that is something to celebrate, my friend!

2. Take a snapshot of your life overall

Beyond thinking about your successes over the past year, take a look at the different areas of your life (family, friends, career, love life, health, etc). Which ones feel like they’re totally flowing? Which ones feel a bit out of sync? Which areas do you know deep down that you are really ready to start tackling this year? Jot them down so you can tease them out further in Tip # 4. 

3. Come up with your desired feelings for 2017

How do you want to FEEL this year? I know sometimes we like to avoid getting all intimate with our feelings, but they serve a meaningful purpose. Understanding the feelings and values that are important to you will help you to 1) come up with purposeful resolutions/goals, 2) do a better gut check in the coming months to determine whether or not those goals are working for you and 3) continue to make decisions that bring about these feelings in all areas of your life. So, when you imagine yourself crushing your New Year’s resolution list, how do you want to feel? For me, I know I want to feel joyful, confident, open and energized in 2017. This is a big year for me running my own business full time and I want to make sure my goals will bring about those feelings when I achieve them.

4. Create your goals AND answer the “why”

Looking at your successes from 2016 and the areas of your life you’re ready to work on, come up with your list of goals for the new year. As you write down your list, check in with those desired feelings you came up with in Tip # 3. Make sure that each resolution you set aligns with those feelings. This will help be the base of your “why” for each one. 

Remember, having a meaningful reason for wanting to achieve a goal beyond “Well it’s just something I should do” will seriously improve your success rate! Make sure you can answer the “why” for each resolution you come up with and that each “why” is based on what YOU believe/need/want, not the “shoulds” we all feel. 

Pro tip: physically write down the “why” under each resolution - don’t just keep it in your head. This way, you will have a cheat sheet of reasons for going after each one of these goals that can serve as a reminder in the months to come whenever doubt creeps in. You can download my 2017 Purposeful Goals Worksheet to help you with this!

5. Come up with an execution and accountability strategy that works best for YOU

Now that you have your list, it’s time to think about HOW you’re going to achieve those goals and how told hold yourself accountable. What do you need to physically do to achieve each one of your goals? Write those action items down so you can refer to them moving forward. For example, one of my resolutions/goals for 2017 is to be good to and appreciate my body. Some of my action items include drinking 6 bottles of water per day and practicing positive self-talk in the mirror.

Next, you’ll want to determine how you’re going to hold yourself accountable to your action items. Think back to a few times in your life when you’ve felt highly organized. What did you do then to stay on track? Did you use a planner? Did you have post-it notes all over the place? Maybe you’re all about the vision boards. Maybe you need your calendar to send you some pop-up reminders. 

Personally, my accountability strategy enlists a combination of tactics. I’m a big post-it notes girl. They’re all over my desk, on my bathroom mirror and on my bedside table. I like being able to look up as I’m going about my day and see my reminders staring me in the face. I often set reminders on my phone as well, just in case those post-it notes start to blend into the background. I also like to have a pretty planner in my bag. Something about seeing everything laid out on colorful pages helps me stay organized. And finally, I love a good To Do list. For 2017, I’ve even bought myself a cute notepad with pre-printed check boxes. It feels so satisfying to physically check something off my list! 

Pro tip: If your To Do list is starting to feel unruly, break it down to 2-3 items per day or week. Chunking your list down will make it feel more attainable than staring at a seemingly never ending list in which you can’t seem to make a dent.

Remember, there is no right or wrong way. The trick is figuring out what tactics work best for YOU and then making sure you implement them. 

6. Invest in yourself this year

Read, hire a coach, invest in that gym membership or find a mentor at work. Beyond goal setting, do something that will keep you on your path. Take the time and money to set yourself up for success. If you do that, you won’t stumble across your resolution list in June and then launch into a massive guilt trip about how you never follow through on anything. By then, you’ll be well on your way to crushing those goals you set for 2017. Your future self will thank you, I promise!

Looking for some good books to jumpstart your motivation and put you in a good mindset for 2017? Check out The Defining Decade by Meg Jay, You Are a Bad Ass by Jen Sincero, or Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. Put that Amazon Prime account to use, babe!

Want some help creating a purposeful 2017 from a real live person? Sign up for a free session with me. I’d love to help!

Wishing you a happy and healthy new year,