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Here it is 11 January and I’m still pfaffing around with notions of new year resolutions, or not, and already the month is escaping.

There is always much written about using this season for refreshing, revitalising, reinventing, or even resizing. There are a hundred ways of approaching the whole thing. Of course, entirely ignoring the hoo haa is also one of those ways – as you were, soldier.

But I don’t want to miss the chance entirely so here’s what I’m doing. You may like to use a couple of the ideas or modify them to suit yourself.

1. Write down your goals

Every year The Dearest and I write a list of five goals for the year. Call them aims, intentions, resolutions, things on the to do list—despite the semantics, it’s pretty much the same thing. But the important thing is we write them down. That means:

  • we have to consider what goes on the list carefully (like having only three wishes from a genie, you need to make them good ones)
  • we’re inclined to remember them and take them more seriously once they’re committed to paper. Like writing a shopping list before you go to the supermarket—even if you leave the list at home, you’re way more likely to remember what you intended to buy.
  • as we keep the lists over the years, it’s a hoot looking back on the ones we wrote decades ago and seeing how many we managed to achieve. We even had the kids to do it when they were at school and some of those old lists are pretty funny.

2. Make your goals SMART

For fear of sounding like a retired communication professional, I’m actually putting a bit of thought to using an acronym and trying to make the goals ‘SMART’, that  is:

  • specific
  • measurable
  • achievable
  • realistic
  • time-bound.

That means thinking about making the goals and avoiding the really fluffy ones and making myself really accountable.

If you want to go one step further, you can even break down one aim into some nuts and bolts of how you’ll get to achieve those goals. What are the actual steps you’ll take to get there?

For example, it’s fine to write down you want to ‘be happy’, but how are you planning on getting there? Maybe, investing in some ‘you’ time, having more social interaction, etc.

3.Choose a defining word

Choose a word, or even two, that encapsulates what you want to achieve for the year and use that as an ongoing inspiration. I learnt this idea from Sue from Sizzling Towards Sixty when she wrote about the word she’s chosen (although she did cheat a little and choose two words – rules are made to be broken!) Choosing a word can focus your thoughts on what’s important to you or something you want to change. In fact, this word for a year is a ‘thing’ with its own website, hashtag and all. #oneword365  I quite like it!

I’ve chosen productivity as my word. It’s an adaptable and active word. As someone very prone to procrastination and time-wasting, I need a word (as well as tools and activities, and sometimes a good foot up the backside) to keep me on task. I’m going to plaster that work up across the inside of my eyes!

4. Don’t be restrained by a timetable

Miss the very beginning of the New Year? No worries! So did I. The start of the year is a very popular incentive for renewal thoughts and activities, but it can be pretty busy after all and many of us are still in a Christmas pudding coma.

It’s not too late! Use any marker you want as your starting point for achieving what you want- new week, season, whatever. Important thing is just get started.

5. Use props as little helpers

There are all sorts of tools to help keep on track of aims. Some people use a diary or a list to track what they want to do or achieve. I’m a big list lover and always have several on the go to keep me on track and focussed. And it’s sooooo good when you start ticking things off!

Jo from Andanyways has a lovely long list of 101 things to do in 1001 days . Imagine the satisfaction of madly ticking off all those babies? Tick heaven.

Some people like stickers or posters stuck in prominent places to remind them of what they’re trying to achieve.

Others like to have an accountability buddy, someone to meet regularly with to check in on progress.

I’ve just invested in a couple of physical props – a selection of pretty notebooks (all the pinks and greens) in the hope that it will assist in keeping me organised and focussed. Different notebooks for different purposes. If I have everything arranged nicely and looking beautiful, surely that will help counteract the messiness of my mind?? I’ll let you know.


It would certainly help if I tidied up my desk too. My solution so far this year has been to simply move my computer into a different and beautifully clean space. I fear I’m missing the point. #headinsand

6. Do what’s right for you

There’s no right way or wrong way to approach a new year, armed with lists and objectives or otherwise right in and see what eventuates.

Whatever you do and however you approach the year, hope it’s a good one for you with as much health and happiness as possible.

In case you’re interested, here’s my list for the year:

  • Achieve publication in three external sources
  • Write and adhere to a comms/marketing strategy
  • Improve my productivity/organisation
  • Keep the house tidy
  • Start painting the outside of house (note I didn’t say finish!)

Now that I’ve stated that publicly, I’m accountable for it, right?

What are you planning for the year ahead? What do you use to keep you honest?


Notebooks for the year ahead