01/21/2014 04:21 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The Year of You

I am wishing you a belated Happy New Year, as I began 2014 abroad in Kenya! The jet lag is dissipating, and I'm busy bringing myself up to date with the latest developments in my clients' lives.

A new year can mean big change, and for my dear friend and client Dr. Samantha Sutton, 2014 looks to be no exception. As she filled me in on her outlook for the year, we began to discuss the topic on everyone's mind throughout January - the dreaded "New Years Resolution."

Dr. Sutton holds a Ph.D. in Biological Engineering from MIT. While at the Institute, she observed that the great minds around her needed a little help overcoming everyday obstacles. Her experience inspired her to become a life coach, and as such, she has an opinion or two about "Resolutions."

"Most people's resolutions are too small and short-term - I will go to the gym more often, or, I will get up earlier." But when we try to just change habits, it's too easy to find excuses, get frustrated, and give up. Samantha prefers to "dedicate" her year to a specific focus, or vision. For Dr. Sutton, 2014 will be "The Year of Business," as she grows her life coaching business. Once she has her vision, she breaks it down into small, manageable steps. For example, right now she's working on improving search hits for her website and reaching out to potential clients.

Throughout our conversation, I thought, what a great philosophy! We waste so much energy beating ourselves up over broken resolutions. It would be such a relief to ditch the whole idea and make this "The Year of (Fill in the Blank)"! Instead of resolving to look more put together every day, and giving up by February 1st, you can make this "The Year of Beauty"! Create a vision for how you'd like to grow this year, and take it step by step.

Your first step is to ask if you've been neglecting your self-image or well being, and why. Does it feel selfish or vain to spend time on yourself? Or are you worried about other factors, like a lack of time, money, or skill? Identifying these barriers can help you choose your next step.

For the record, I don't find it at all selfish or vain to take care of yourself on the outside. It's just as important as taking care of yourself on the inside. It reflects your overall outlook on life, so why not spend some time and money to keep that outlook bright? Now, if time and money are the biggest factors, revisit July's article on investing in higher quality services less frequently throughout the year.

Are you convinced you don't have the skill to look as good as you feel? Then the next step is to speak with your stylist or your salon's makeup artist about getting a blow dry lesson or makeup application tutorial.

Finally, set aside time to play. As adults, we forget how fulfilling and educational play can be, and we just stop doing it. So wake up early on a weekend and practice what you learned with your stylist. If you feel like you're looking ridiculous, just go with it. Take it to the extreme, and then jump in the shower to reset and reflect on what you just taught yourself.

Over the next twelve months, I'll be checking in with Dr. Sutton's progress in "The Year of Business" and with your progress in "The Year of You"! And don't forget to have fun! I want to hear all about it!