If you are like me, every year about this time you sit down and think about all of the bad habits you have and all of the good deeds you want to do in the next calendar year, and those get turned into New Year’s Resolutions.

And then a week goes by and you’ve forgotten everything you were going to do or just decided being good and kicking your bad habits is a waste of time.

This year things are going to be different. Why are they going to be different? Because you’re going to read our guide to New Year’s Resolutions and kick some ass.

1. Write down all of the things you want to do in 2014. Take 30 minutes, sit down, and write down all of the bad habits you want to kick and all of the good deeds you want to do in 2014. If you need some help, here’s my short list:

  1. Stop drinking Red Bull;
  2. Go to the gym more often;
  3. Kick my reality TV habit;
  4. Eat better;
  5. Volunteer more;
  6. Become a better personal injury attorney;
  7. Become a better DUI attorney;
  8. Become a better criminal defense lawyer;
  9. Become a better traffic lawyer;
  10. Be a better dad.

You get the idea – just make a list of some things you want to do this year.

2. Throw that list away and put something together that you really care about. If your list looks a lot like the one above the reason you’re never going to accomplish those goals is because you probably don’t really want to do them – you just think you should because everyone else is. Stop doing that. Make a list of goals you really have. Here are some of mine:

  1. Learn Spanish
  2. Create one piece of content every day for Emerald City Law Group;
  3. Buy a new car;
  4. Read a new book every week;
  5. Improve my leadership skills;
  6. Double our revenues;
  7. Remember everyone’s birthday and call them to say happy birthday.

See, those are good resolutions. They are MY resolutions. What are yours?

3. Pick 3 resolutions off your list. Wouldn’t it be great if we could do everything on that list? Well, you can’t. So just pick 3 and cross everything else off the list. You’ll make a brand new list for 2015 and most of this list won’t be on there any more.

Write down these three goals on an index card and carry it with you everywhere.

It’s better to do one thing all the way than to do ten things half way.

4. Pick the resolution you want to work on first. Yep, we’re just going to do one at a time. When you get done with the first goal you are going to move on to the second goal. And then the third. And then the year will be over.

5. Start at the end of your goal and back up the steps you need to complete to get to the beginning. This will form the game plan for reaching your goal. This will make reaching your goal a real possibility. This will take your willpower out of the equation and give you measurable milestones to work toward.

I’ll give you an example. Let’s say I decided my number one goal was going to become the best personal injury attorney in Seattle. I’d start by thinking about what that person would look like. They’d probably have a deep understanding of personal injury law. They’d probably have a deep understanding of negotiation skills. They’d probably have good working relationships with insurance adjusters. They’d probably have a lot of confidence in themselves. I’d start with that end in mind and back up to today (so I might want to read up personal injury law, take some insurance adjusters out to lunch, practice the art of negotiation every chance I got).

6. Finally, break those steps down into daily or weekly to-dos and get to work. By breaking your big goal down into a weekly to-dos you give yourself a bunch of really small goals. Those goals will give you early success. Those goals will give you motivation. Those goals will make your big goal seem less daunting.

What are Your Goals for this Year?

What are you going to accomplish this year? I’d love to hear from you.

Stryder J. Wegener is the managing partner and owner of Emerald City Law Group, a full-service law firm in Seattle.

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