Each year I have clients who shut down and party for the holidays only to start back up in January a bit disappointed that there wasn’t a better start. They may even make a few resolutions and inevitably forget or give up by February. I know I’ve done this. But I’m going to make it different this year and I want you to join me to start the year as a productive reflective and planning time.

1. Head into the year extremely clear about where you are starting and where you want it to end.

First reflect on the year you completed. Do you think it is valuable to stop and look at the progress you’ve made? When events don’t happen as we like or we plan, we tend to look at the horizon and get frustrated that we can never seem to reach it. And then what do we do? We get frustrated, we spin our wheels, get overwhelmed, throw stuff at the walls, give up.

The antidote is to stop, turn around and look at your progress.

Question: Last year, what progress have you made? What are you proud of? What have you learned? What worked? What didn’t work?

Then create your vision. When you have completed looking at your progress, then begins the important work of your Vision for 2015. Ask yourself the question:

Question: 12 months from now, what will have had to happen for you to be satisfied with your result?

2. Decide who you want to BE before you decide what you will do.

A year ago , my mastermind group posed this question to me. I stated emphatically that I wanted to be a contributing member of an innovative and intellectual community. And do you want to know the response I got? “You already are that , Ruth!” It was such an empowering moment for me because it wasn’t about what I was doing it was about who I am.

That realization allowed me to see what I needed to change to be in integrity with who I wanted to be. As important as our vision is, stepping into our genius or who we are is freeing.

3. Take responsibility for your dreams.

Ask yourself this: On a scale of 1-10, how committed are you to accomplishing your vision in 2015?

If your answer is a five, what will it take to get it to a ten? if you aren’t very committed to it, why not? Is it what you really want?

This isn’t an exercise in baring down on goals. I don’t want you to grit your teeth to accomplish anything. I want this be easy for you. If you aren’t committed to your own vision then go back to explore your it again. Don’t tolerate a lack of commitment.

Here is another great reason why: There are a boat load of obstacles challenging us. Primarily we are the obstacle. When it gets hard, we often sabotage ourselves. The closer we get to greatness, the closer we get to our genius, the louder our inner voice screams, “Danger.” And we know exactly how to push our own buttons.

But there is more. You need a preservation plan for what you will be, think or do when you bump into those obstacles and your inner voice is screaming at you.

So when we get afraid, procrastinate, get lost in busyness, talk ourselves out of our greatness, genius and vision, you need to have a plan. Who do you call? Where do you go? How do you change your mindset?


4. Collaborate

Question: Who’s brain, genius , skills, expertise or access do you need to help you create your vision next year?

This may mean growing or changing your staff. Sometimes we have the wrong people on our team and now – while you are planning – is the right time to recognize that we need to make a change.

For many business people we aren’t using the brains and genius on our team in a meaningful way. Collaboration is not always who you hire. It is synergy. It is recognizing your own genius, adjusting your vision so that you get to be in your genius more of the time and using all the brains around you. It means sharing expertise.

Here are some ideas: Hire in house, virtually or for projects. Create a partnerships, personally, professionally or between businesses. Get a mentor. Get a coach. Get a mastermind group.

High performing people know that they can not accomplish their vision alone. And they need the objective insight the helps them be the best they can be.

The secret to ensure that your motivation holds for the entire year and not just like setting a new years resolution that will flame out by February:

5. Create Movement

Successful people head into the new year extremely clear about what they’ve learned and where they want it to end.

They don’t just let it happen. They create their vision. Then they create the steps they will take to get them there.

They step into that future as the person they want to BE not just the plans they want to do.

They understand where they have dropped the ball in the past and what road blocks and obstacles they are likely to run into. They have a plan when obstacles occur because they will.

They understand their own limitations as well as strengths and weaknesses. And because of this they identify their genius so that they can effectively collaborate with others.

Get a mentor. Get a coach. Get a mastermind group.

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Ruth Schwartz

Ruth Schwartz is the author of "The Key to the Golden Handcuffs". She is a high performance business consultant and leadership coach. Connect with Ruth to participate in the conversation. Google+, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube .