In just a couple of nights, the ball will drop and we’ll officially start another year.

Across the globe, people will toast and resolve that somehow tomorrow, next week, and next year, everything will be different.

It’s the same for the goals of a company. We’re all looking ahead to a brighter future.  But it’s often a lie, and we know it.

These resolutions and good intentions almost never come to fruition, do they?

Not to sound all gloom and doom, but we all know that just as quickly as these lofty goals are idealized, they’re forgotten at the first real challenge of the new year or the first sign of busyness.

Hoping for change is a strategy that rarely works.

But there is a little-used strategy that can dramatically improve your chances of success whether you’re looking to increase profits, improve customer support, lose fifteen pounds, or quit smoking.

We can take advantage of this impulse to look towards a brighter future to help us build one.

Here’s how.

First, we have to acknowledge the sad truth that we typically only ever get it half right. We look to the future and dream of what we want to happen.  But that’s only the fun half.

The half that actually makes it happen is the hard half, and you can dramatically increase your chances of success with three simple steps:

Step One: Clearly identify what is important to you or your company next year.

Step Two: Look back at the last year with an objective and critical eye, and giving yourself an honest assessment of how well you lived up to those ideals.

Step Three: Create a realistic action plan to ensure you live up to the ideals in #1, and utilize the lessons you learned from looking back in Step #2 to identify where the problem spots might occur.

This action plan needs to include regular check-ins and mini-reviews, to help you right the ship midcourse.  Otherwise, you’ll find yourself in late December 2016 wondering what went wrong

If it’s your goal to do a personal reach out to your customers more this year, then put in your schedule– RIGHT NOW – a weekly 10-minute slot to review your activity in this area for the previous week.

One of the biggest successes my clients have at this time of year is to go through a half-day process to identify the largest gaps between the company or division and how they want to be, and what they’ve been doing.

There are two types of companies out there on December 29th.

Those with people saying, “that was one heck of a year,” and those saying, “where on earth did the year go?!?!”

What are you saying this year?

What will you be saying next year?