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2012: Your Best Year Yet -- Sticking With Your Plan

One of the biggest challenges of being human is sticking with the plans we've made. When I look back at my failures, both big and small, it boils down to not having done what I knew to do. Doesn't it seem as if we're guided by two voices, always at war over our time and attention?
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One of the biggest challenges of being human is sticking with the plans we've made. When I look back at my failures, both big and small, it boils down to not having done what I knew to do. Doesn't it seem as if we're guided by two voices, always at war over our time and attention?

  • Voice One says, "I'm going to do this -- nothing's going to stop me."
  • Voice Two says, "I'm going to do this, but first I have to... "
  • Voice One says, "Promises, promises."
  • And then eventually Voice One gives up, and your inspirational plan is lost in the shuffle of your life. We know what we need to do to make it happen, but sadly the old truth penned by Robert Burns describes what happens:

    "The best laid schemes of mice and men
    Go often askew,
    And leave us nothing but grief and pain,
    For promised joy!"

    So, the final question asks that you take a minute to figure out how you're going to stick with your plan. Answering it will remind you of what you've learned from times when Voice One won the battle, and you made it over the finish line, proudly waving the results over your head.

    Imagining that picture reminds me of my friend whom I recently coached through making her 2012 plan. She is at a crossroads in her life and wants to make some big changes like not quite retiring, but working far less while getting back to doing the things she loves to do -- and that matter most to her. When she looked at her completed one-page plan, she was thrilled with it.

    And here's the point -- over the past few weeks she's been off and running on nearly every one of her goals, with a big smile on her face. In fact, she's having so much fun doing what she really wants to do that she's naturally spending less and less time at work.

    10. How am I going to make sure I achieve my plan?

    So, what works for you? You already have the answer to this question because you know yourself. Quickly consider your answers to this question and write down whatever Voice One says to you.

    With your answers in mind, here's what has worked for others. It boils down to two -- dare I say it? -- disciplines:

    1. Make a plan each month to progress your annual goals, scoring it at the end of the month, and making a plan for the next month. (15 to 20 minutes a month)
  • Be accountable to another person -- someone you connect with once a month to share your results, your lessons, and your plan for the coming month. (30 minutes a month -- or an hour if you each have a plan)
  • This person can be a family member, friend, work colleague, coach -- anyone you trust to support your success by encouraging you and believing in you.

    Every Friday afternoon Tim and I sit down for an hour to review the weekly goals we've set to progress our monthly goals. We used to do this a long time ago, but we just returned to it about nine months ago. What a difference it's made to the results we're achieving. For example, we're both sticking to our exercise and weight training goals and staying much closer to our weight targets. But more importantly, those longed-for projects, dusty on the shelf for years, are now alive again.

    Strengthening Your Resolution

    This 2012 series started with a discussion of New Year's Resolutions and why they usually go off the rails within weeks -- and here we are back where we started.

    How strong is your resolution now? Who's going to win this time, Voice One or Voice Two? Are you ready to reach deep into your core and take control of your life by keeping your eye on your plan this time?

    I've learned so much over the past 33 years about what works for me -- and even more about what doesn't. Above all, it's tapping into my "nothing's going to stop me" determination and strength. That's what has made it possible for me to transform again and again and achieve results and a life beyond my wildest dreams. I am blessed.

    And do I get 100 percent every year on my Annual Plan? Never -- not once. In fact, I've personally known only one person who did. That doesn't mean you can't or won't, but you're so far ahead of the game if you have a plan and you're working it. I promise that if you follow the monthly discipline as described above, you'll have your personal best year yet.

    The more focus I give to my weekly goals, the higher score I get on my monthly goals. The better I do on my monthly goals, the better I do on my Annual Plan. It comes down to doing the tough stuff first and doing my best not to procrastinate about what matters most. It means making endless moment-to-choices about what I do -- or don't do.

    • Do I meditate or do I get an early start on my TO DO list?
    • Do I go the gym or do I catch up on email?
    • Do I write my HuffPost article or do I check in on Facebook?

    As I heard Werner Erhard say countless times, and as it's been reported Vince Lombardi said to his players -- "You can either have reasons or results."

    Or as Katharine Hepburn once said, a bit more graphically: "Everyone should know that feeling of overcoming fear and mastering something. People who aren't taught that become soggy."

    What's Next?

    You've just read the final article in a six-part series* on making 2012 your best year yet. If you have answered the 10 questions you found there, you have your plan. What's next is do what you know to do to stick with it and make it happen. Just imagine what could happen by New Year's Day 2013 -- wouldn't that be worth doing whatever it takes?

    I would enjoy hearing how you're doing or answering a question to help you have your best year yet. Either enter a comment below or email me at

    For more by Jinny Ditzler, click here.

    For more on making it a healthy new year, click here.

    * 2012: Your Best Year Yet Series

    P.S. If you haven't yet made your plan, here are a few ways to do it other than reading through the series.

    1. Read Your Best Year Yet, which includes a Workbook for making your plan -- also available in the Kindle format.

  • Find out more about the Best Year Yet Online cloud software for making and tracking your plan.
  • Find a Best Year Yet Coach or tell your own coach about this process.