Get Ready, Get Set, Go for It! An Easy Game Plan for Big Goals

Schawbel, DanA promotion? Going into business for yourself? No New Year’s resolution is too out there if you’re serious about it. “The key is making it actionable and measurable,” says Dan Schawbel, founder and managing partner of Millenial Branding and author of Promote Yourself: The New Rules For Career Success. Turn your resolution into reality this year with this simple 5-step plan!

A Resolution By Any Other Name

For most of us, New Year’s resolutions are just a long wish list: 1) lose weight, 2) organize closets, 3) make more money, 4) spend more time with family, 5) be happy. But for people like Schawbel who actualize their resolutions, they’re high-level goals with a one-year timeframe.

To keep them manageable and doable, Schawbel recommends cutting your list down to two items: one personal, one professional.

5 Steps to Success

As tired and clichéd as New Year’s resolutions are, 12 months is actually the perfect amount of time to give yourself for a major goal, says Schawbel. “I don’t do three-, five- or 10-year goals because life is too unpredictable,” he explains. “But you can nail a one-year target, and then adapt to change at the beginning of the next year.” Here’s how to make it all happen:

  1. Choose. Of course, small goals are easier to accomplish than lofty ones. But this year choose two that really matter to you—say, getting that promotion and being a healthy weight again.
  2. Commit. Write your goals down to have them on paper. Then with your mind and heart, seriously dedicate yourself to them for the next 12 months.
  3. Break it down. The secret to realizing a dream is to turn it into smaller, actionable steps that are under your control. “If your goal is to get a promotion, ask your manager what you need to do, boil each item down to what you need to do to accomplish it and create a checklist,” Schawbel advises. If your personal resolution is dropping two dress sizes, figure out how many pounds you need to lose, calculate the calorie deficit that requires and how many calories you can shave by exercise and how many by diet. Then create a workout and diet plan.
  4. Set milestones. A timeline won’t only help you stay on track. As you check off boxes and see progress, it will also motivate you to keep going. For a business goal, you’ll probably be fine with just monthly and quarterly targets. But for a goal that requires constant vigilance, you’ll want to go more granular with weekly or even daily milestones.
  5. Execute. Now come the next 364 or so days. You’ve already done what most people haven’t. Stay committed—and next year, you’ll be building on this year’s accomplishments and shooting even higher.