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Dropping the Ball (or Not): 2013 New Years Musings

12/27/2012 05:17 pm ET | Updated Feb 26, 2013

Many of us head into the new calendar year with optimism, resolutions and business/career plans.

Watching the ball drop in Times Square (and 2013 being celebrated around the globe), we toast to the year gone by, cheer and clink glasses, and hug and kiss the loved ones and strangers around us.

And then January 1st rolls around and we have to start putting into action all of those lofty plans, dreams and ambitious goals. Less than 50 percent of resolutions are actually kept within the first six months, according to this great infographic.

So, how do you ensure that you're not among the "resolution-breakers" for 2013? Here are a few practical tips:

  1. Reflect on where you are at the end of 2012, professionally and personally. Do not spend too much time dwelling on past failures, but instead consider this your "jumping off point." Even if the year was a tough one for you, you have probably made some progress in some area of your life in the previous 11 months. Stay focused on what you can (and did) do, but be mindful of the roadblocks that consistently keep you from making more progress.
  2. Create a vision statement for 2013. Begin with "At the end of 2013 I will..." Write it down and keep it in a prominent place.
  3. Craft very simple and realistic goals for January. Limit them to three. Be sure to balance your professional and personal goals. Often, our life events (or lack thereof) get in the way of our work. If you are exercising, eating well, enjoying your family, and surrounding yourself with positive friends and fun hobbies, your outlook on business will improve as well. Your personal activities can sometimes lead to business opportunities! Again, write those goals down!
  4. Enlist an accountability buddy; a person who really cares about your success. Work out a check-in schedule, so he/she can help keep you on track. It may be a mentor, a financial or business advisor, or simply a good friend. If your goals include personal fitness and health, you can join an online group or start your own challenge on a site like 43 Things.
  5. Be kind to yourself when you fail or falter or make a critical mistake. Instead, focus on what you learned from the experience and how you will prevent repeating it in the future.
  6. Celebrate successes (even the little ones). Create your own little celebration at the end of every calendar month. Why can't we drink a toast 12 times in 2013?