Resolved: 2017 Is Going to Be My Best Year Ever!

This Sunday, it finally arrives. Out with the old and in with the new! Welcome to 2017. The year 2016 was, if nothing else, a year that will go down as very interesting. For a lot of us though it’s one we may like to just forget about entirely and try to move on.

Like everyone else, I plan to make new year's resolutions for 2017. Here's how to stay focused and accomplish your goals, not lose sight of them.

New Year’s Resolutions

Every year that I can ever remember, I always start out with the idea that things in the new year are going to be great. I mean, it’s a clean slate, isn’t it?  I think we all feel that way whether we verbalize it or not. It’s even in the images we see about the new year like when the beautiful little baby comes into the picture and the old man creeps off as the image of the passage of time drifts in our heads. And so it goes, we begin to think about some of things we’d like to change about “last year” and we make our resolutions and our goals for the new one. It’s the go-to move that we all seem to practice. It’s the time when we take that opportunity that can allow you to recharge yourself and plan for success.

What Keeps Us From Our Goals

But there is a rub here. A lot of us simply start a wishing process: I wish I could earn more, I wish I could improve my relationships, I wish I could get healthier etc. It reminds me of the old Dusty Springfield song from the ‘60s (I know, sigh, everything reminds me of an old song from the ‘60s)…you know the one I’m talking about? “Wishin’ and Hopin’”.

That’s a song that put simply says that wishing and hoping for something just doesn’t work very well. When it comes to wanting something to happen, you actually have to do something! Wishing may have worked well for Aladdin with his magic lamp but for you and me (and Dusty) it just won’t do. So what do you do when you come to that moment in time when the old is out and the new is in?

How to Stay Focused

What I do is reach out for the word resolution, as in new year’s resolution, which comes from the word resolve. That word means that you find a way to solve a problem and it gets solved when you make the right choices that lead to your goal. You decide on the course of action. An awful lot of us start out with that attitude, but by the end of week 1, we have somehow lost our resolve. It usually isn’t easy to keep your resolve, if it were everyone would be making their goals and I’d be writing about some other thing today for the new year.

One way to keep your motivation is to know your “why”. For example, don’t just resolve to lose weight. Resolve to lose weight in order to be healthier, or more active, and focus on those reasons. Or resolve not just to save money, but to save money for your emergency fund, or for an upcoming trip. Keeping the purpose in mind will help to keep you on track.

The best way to make 2017 the best year ever is to think about the specific things that you want to change about last year and focus in on how to change them. We’ve talked about S.M.A.R.T. goals before. Remember to keep your goals:

S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Actionable
R – Realistic
T – Timely

It’s All About The Plan

It doesn’t really matter what the resolution is that you want. It’s about the plan for success that you make to get there. I’m very motivated right now to achieve my list of goals and resolved to achieve them, today. But what about in a few days when the motivation and enthusiasm wanes a bit and some distractions start to interfere and get in my way? That’s the challenge of it all and when the plan comes into play.

If you want to lose weight this year, for example, then do something other than wish you could. You have to eat a certain way, exercise a certain amount, weigh yourself to monitor progress, think in realistic increments of that loss and set your deadlines to achieve it. You may have to join the gym or get a buddy or family member to do it with you so you can keep each other committed and motivated. The point is that all of those actions are the choices you make and they are all part of the process of being S.M.A.R.T.

Weight loss aside, we all have our own unique targets. For many they are financial goals or job-related goals, their retirement plans or their overall financial health and independence. I hear it all the time, “my goal is to retire by age 40”, or even younger. That’s a goal that only can be achieved with “smart” thinking.

So the year ahead is full of bright, shiny opportunities for us all. Vow to become one of the people who will resolve to be a success in 2017.  Resolution is step number one. Without a goal, you don’t have much of a chance to make 2017 your best year ever. I doubt that depending on finding a magic lamp like Aladdin did is the answer to any of our goals, so take my advice, stop wishin’ and hopin’, and start doin’ right now. And may you and yours have a very happy new year!

Have you made serious resolutions for 2017? Are you using the “smart” approach to keeping your resolutions? What are some of the ways you make sure you are successful when it comes to your resolutions?


  1. I love the SMART concept because it’s practical and simple. I don’t usually make New Year’s resolutions but there’s still time! I have a few goals in mind but haven’t totally decided what I want to commit to.

    Happy new year to you and Suzanne!

  2. Emily @ JohnJaneDoe

    I trying a different approach this year, by setting a weekly to-do list to advance each goal. That way, I’ll have measurable stuff each week, but I can reset focus as needed. For instance, last year I wanted to increase my number of steps each month. This year, daily step average may be a goal during nice weather, but 4 sessions on the stationary bike or elliptical during the week might be a to-do on a rainy week.

  3. So many people don’t like resolutions, but I love them. New Year’s Day is a fresh start every time. But I’ve certainly found we’re more likely to reach goals if they’re SMART and written down. Last year we paid down a ton of debt, and this year I hope we’ll be able to finish it. Happy New Year!

  4. Natalya @ Cottage Retreatist

    Hi Gary!

    Love this post and love the idea of using SMART objectives for our own personal goals! We always get told to use them at work! Why not in our personal lives too! Lots to think about! I’m going to work out how to make my resolutions achievable and measurable! (and actually make some this year!)

  5. I love it, Gary. Habits are destiny. And a great way to forge habits is with your SMART approach. Thanks for sharing, my friend. And thanks for sharing the Dusty video. Love Dusty and love her hair. How do we get that style back in vogue?

  6. Thanks for the great blog..!
    I think I have made smart goals this year and I hope they get completed this year too. I’m taking baby steps towards financial priorities this year and have given my goals priority based on their importance. So, firstly I will track my spending so that I can look for unnecessary leaks or if I’m overdoing my budget. Also, I started saving by cancelling my gym membership and started morning jog or working out in the park.

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