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How To Plan For Success In The New Year

And just like that, with a flip of the calendar, we’re off to a rolling start of a new year. And that provides us the opportunity for a “do-over” or a “fresh start,” if you will. So whether you left last year with more of a “Good riddance” than a “Sorry to see you go” kind of attitude, it’s still the perfect time to plan for success in the new year. 

Now to be clear, I’m not talking about New Year’s resolutions here. Those rarely are carried out past the first couple of weeks anyway. I’m talking about looking ahead with a sense of expectancy and setting goals on want you want to accomplish in the new year, THE WHOLE YEAR, and even beyond! 

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, a famous french writer, once said, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” So, unfortunately, you can wish for something to happen, but in all reality, it is up to you to make it happen. 


You are in the driver’s seat. So obviously, you need to make a plan and carry it out. But first, you must reflect on the past year and then decide what to do to make 2023 the best it can be for you.


Think of 2022 as a parking space you pulled into, like at the grocery store. You had a purpose for going there, but now it’s time to leave. To get out of the parking space, you first have to check your car’s rearview mirror to back out so you can go forward to the next place on your “To do” list.


Everyone approaches a new year with different emotions. Some might look back with regret or sadness about things done or not done. Others might not want to let it go because it was a good year for them. I have experienced both scenarios. And that probably goes for everyone else reading this blog. 

Here are some questions you can ask yourself and thoughts of reflections that you might find helpful in planning for success in the new year:

  • What would you say was the best thing that happened to you in the past year?
  • What was the most challenging thing you had to deal with?
  • Pick three words to describe the past year.
  • What relationships would you say you spent the most valuable time with?
  • What was your biggest time waster in the past year?
  • What activities would you say were worth your time spent?


So now you’ve looked into the rearview mirror and noted what obstacles might have been in your path over the past year. Next, it’s time to map out the direction you want to take to move forward. Here are some helpful suggestions for you to get you on your way.

  • Celebrate your accomplishments of the past year.
  • Make a list of what is important to you emotionally, professionally, spiritually, and physically. 
  • Pick three words to describe what you want to focus on in the next year.
  • Come up with a plan to cultivate the relationships that are important to you.
  • Weed out activities that robbed you of time that could have been spent on more worthwhile and productive things.
  • Remember, you might have to check your rearview or side mirror once in a while if you need to change lanes to get where you want to be.
  • You’re on a lifelong journey. Take your time, or you will likely get overwhelmed. Stop off on the side of the road periodically and take a minute to smell the flowers along the way. And remember to pat yourself on the back for your effort and accomplished deeds. 


Here is some advice to remember as you travel your road to success. 

  • While carrying out your plan throughout the new year, circumstances outside your control may thwart your objectives. That’s just how life goes. But not to worry, for there’s a saying I heard long ago from an unknown author: “Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not become broken.” 
  • It’s okay if you have to tweak your plan here or there. The main thing is to stick to your plan and keep working towards the goals you made to the best of your ability.
  • Don’t get discouraged along the way. You will find that consistent and effective effort will lead to success. 

“Plan for the future because that’s where you are going to spend the rest of your life.” — Mark Twain

Having a plan for success means you intend to go somewhere or do something. And there’s no time like the present to get started. Wouldn’t you agree? And working with a coach is a great way to help you stay motivated for higher achievement in your plan for success. 

Hi, I’m Kris Henderson, LPC. I want you to know that I am here to help. If you want more personalized support, I invite you to contact me or schedule your phone call today. And here’s to a fresh start and your plan for success!

This article originally appeared on Counseling Solutions of West Michigan.

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