new years fireworks no new years resolutions goal planning

Say No to Resolutions & Yes to Goal Planning

Can you believe it’s December already?! In a couple of days it will be 2015 and I’m excited about everything!

Not excited about the thought of a New Year? Consider these 3 Amazingly Practical Ways to Get Unstuck Before the New Year.

My year-end plans

The last couple weeks I’ve been wrapping up my strategic planning & goals for 2015 for Carry On Friends;  as well as professional/career planning and personal goals. Have you given thought about your plans for next year? No not resolutions, but well thought out goals and plans for things you want to accomplish. How about writing them down with some sort of timeline or plan?


Studies show that:

  • Approximately 45% of Americans made New Year’s resolutions;

  • Only 8% were successful in achieving their resolutions;

Since the success rate of achieving resolutions are low, let’s try a different approach, goal planning.

Don’t know where to start? No problem, here are the steps:

1. Write it down

2. Accountability

3. Track your progress

4. Celebrate your achievements

pen on paper to write goals

Write it down

It’s best to start with about 3 to 5 things you want to accomplish for 2015. You might have more but it’s best to start with a smaller number of goals because it’s easier. Plus when things come up in 2015, which they will. You will have room on your list to accommodate the additions. Most importantly you won’t beat yourself up about the long list of things you didn’t accomplish.

Once you’ve come up with a list, you want to create a strategy for each of those things as to how you’re going to go about accomplishing them. Create smaller tasks from larger goal. By breaking down your goals into smaller or manageable tasks you create a starting point and you avoid being overwhelmed with what needs to be done to achieve the goal.

Example: Let’s say you want to get a car. Smaller tasks might include:

1. Budget – determine how much you can afford for car payments and insurance.

2. You may want to check your credit – to see where your rating is. You might have to pay off other bills to get your rating up.

3. Research & determine whether you want to lease or finance. Weighing the pros and cons of each. After you’ve made this determination,

4. You will want to research the type of vehicle

5. Based on your budget needs, you will need to calculate how much you will need to save weekly or bi-weekly. etc.

6. Set aside money for maintenance if purchasing a car without factory/dealer warranty; oil change,brake pads etc

7. Hopefully you get the idea…

Be realistic

Goals have varying lengths. Some might take, days, weeks, months or even years. Just remember to set realistic time frames to achieve your goals. If you don’t give yourself enough time to accomplish your goals, you will become discouraged easily because the goals aren’t being accomplished as quickly as you want. You will also crash and burn very quickly if you try to do too many things at once. There’s no rule that says all your goals must be completed within in one year.


In order to get more done, you need support.  Therefore the most important aspect, other than writing your goals is to share them with people. Not just anyone, but with people who you value their input and opinion. They would also serve as cheerleaders to encourage you to accomplish these goal.

Last year, I mentioned In the beginning I had a goal planning party with my friends and that worked for a time. But then everyone gets caught up in their own lives and consistency and momentum can be lost because of the informal commitment. Now I have a more structured accountability partnership and coaching in place.

A coach, an accountability partner or peer group (for career & entrepreneurs) can help you think through your strategy for these goals. By utilizing one of these resources, it  can help you keep on track to achieve these goals by checking your status, be a source of encouragement. or it might have access to networks, where someone may know of or come across someone in the future that might help you accomplish your goals. You’ll be amazed at what having a coach,  an accountability partner, peer group or strategic adviser can do for you and the accomplishment of your goals.


Don’t be an Ostrich – Track Your Progress

Even with a coach, accountability partner, peer group or strategic adviser. You still need to track your progress. Remember their role is  to support you, not to do the work for you. You still need to put in the work.

According to studies “The Ostrich Problem is the widespread tendency for people to avoid information about progress towards their goals. After all, it feels good to keep moving, and who wants the frustration of discovering that they’ve actually been driving in the wrong direction?”

That’s why it’s important to create a system, find and app, – something to track your progress, set reminders etc. There’s nothing like the sense of accomplishment you’ve completed something. It’s the motivation that helps me to work toward achieving a goal. The key things here:

1. Make your goals visible to you daily/often

2. Set reminders for your deadlines for you overall goals and the small tasks that help to complete the goal.

3. Make adjustments, where necessary

Celebrate your achievements

Whether it’s completing a task that’s part of a goal; or you’ve achieved  your overall goal you must celebrate it. It’s also a good idea to write the date when you’ve achieved it because keep track of the dates is also a big motivator. No matter how big or small the accomplishment you’ve worked hard for it.

Go ahead, give yourself a pat on the back.

Your Turn

Say no to new years resolutions! Really just say no, they’re just aspirational hype that fall flat after a week. A month if you’re lucky. Instead be more thoughtful and apply planning and strategies to achieve your goals.

Jullien Gordon’s 2015 New Year Guide is a great tool to help you approach the new year, not only with planning your goals but being reflective and introspective with your life as mindset and lifestyles affect  our successes.
Micheal Gerber, author of the awesome book The E-Myth Revisited said:

“Great people have a vision of their lives that they practice emulating each day. To actively make your life into the life you wish it to be, you have to create it intentionally.”

How are you preparing to make your life into the life you wish it to be?


Kerry-Ann Reid-Brown is Founder & host of Carry On Friends one of the first podcasts dedicated to the Caribbean American Experience. She is leading the way for Caribbean Podcast as the founder of Breadfruit Media, the first Caribbean podcast production company; and founder of the Caribbean Podcast Directory a place to discover podcasts by people of Caribbean Heritage.