Don’t Make New Year’s Resolutions …
Boost Your Career Instead

Do NOT make typical New Year’s resolutions this year. None. Nada. Nil.

Why not? Because those New Year’s resolutions are almost always doomed to fail. According to businessknowledgesource.com, 79% of people making New Year’s resolutions fail to accomplish them … and, in fact, usually give up in less than a month.

How can you succeed when so many fail?

Start by not making empty, general resolutions. Instead, establish a sound plan that’s designed to ensure success. Here (adapted and condensed from Michael Masterson’s Goal Setting Program) is how to do it … starting right now.

  1. SET ONLY CAREER-RELATED GOALS.

    What? No “lose 30 pounds in 30 weeks” goal? Your health and appearance are important. But one of the resolution traps people fall into is trying to achieve too much. Too fast.

    And when they don’t succeed at one goal, all their goals start to slip. All too soon, all resolutions are abandoned in favor of the status quo. So it’s better to start on one goal in the most important area of your life right now: your career.

  2. SET ONLY ONE GOAL THAT YOU CAN ACHIEVE IN A YEAR OR LESS.

    Limiting yourself to one goal lets you concentrate on achieving it. Once you achieve your first success, the experience will help you tackle more goals … at one time.

    Set a goal that you can realistically achieve in one year (or less). If it looks like your goal will take longer than that, simplify it. Goals that take too long to achieve are less likely to be accomplished.

    An example of an appropriate goal could be finishing AWAI’s Secrets of Writing for the Catalog Market.

  3. WRITE DOWN YOUR GOAL AND SET A REASONABLE DATE FOR COMPLETION.

    Success-gurus like Michael Masterson and Brian Tracy agree that the single most important difference between people who achieve their goals and those who don’t is that the successful ones write down their goals, along with the steps they are going to take to achieve them.

    Your written goal should look something like this: “I will finish AWAI’s catalog copywriting program by December 1, 2006 by reading all of the chapters and doing all of the exercises.”

  4. MAKE THE GOALS MEASURABLE.

    The above goal is clearly measurable. Either you have read all the chapters and done all the exercises by December 1 … or you haven’t. On the other hand, something like “I will become a better copywriter” is not measurable.

  5. BREAK YOUR BROAD GOAL INTO SMALLER, OBJECTIVES – WITH DEADLINES FOR EACH ONE – AND WRITE THEM DOWN.

    Objectives are smaller steps toward achieving your goal. Write down each objective in the order in which you need to do it to reach your goal. So, if the catalog program has 10 chapters, you would break it down into 10 objectives that look something like this: “Objective 6: Master the information in Chapter 6 of the AWAI catalog programby June 30, 2006.”

  6. BREAK EACH OBJECTIVE INTO SMALLER, DATED TASKS.

    Let’s say Chapter 6 of the catalog program has 16 pages (pp 106-121) and 4 exercises. You might break it down this way:

    • Week 1, June 4-10: Read pages 106-110.

      Do Exercise 1 on page 109 & Exercise 2 on page 110.

    • Week 2, June 11-17: Read pages 111-121.

      Do Exercises 3 & 4 on page 118.

    • Week 3, June 18-24: Review Chapter 6 and make detailed notes
    • Week 4, June 25-30: Examine 10 catalogs and describe how Chapter 6 principles are (or are not) applied.

    (Keeping track of all of this is easier if you develop a system for charting your progress. See today’s Quick Tip for a simple, effective tracking form that you can use.)

  7. ENLIST ASSISTANCE.

    Share your written goals and objectives with a friend who supports your success. Show him your entire plan and ask him to check off (on your written goal/objective form) when you’ve accomplished each one.

    This step is extremely important. By sharing your goals/objectives with someone else, you are boosting your chance of success far more than you would if you keep them hidden where only you see them.

  8. REWARD YOURSELF.

    When your friend checks off an objective, draw a thick, black line through it. (This simple act, in itself, is surprisingly rewarding.) Then reward your efforts in a tangible way – maybe by enjoying a guilt-free bowl of ice cream or treating yourself to a movie.

By following this plan, you’ll build solid success steadily … while the people around you who’ve made typical New Year’s resolutions are moaning, “Oh, well. Maybe next year.”

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »


Click to Rate:
Average: 4.5
Published: January 2, 2006

Guest, Add a Comment
Please Note: Your comments will be seen by all visitors.

You are commenting as a guest. If you’re an AWAI Member, Login to myAWAI for easier commenting, email alerts, and more!

(If you don’t yet have an AWAI Member account, you can create one for free.)


This name will appear next to your comment.


Your email is required but will not be displayed.


Text only. Your comment may be trimmed if it exceeds 500 characters.

Type the Shadowed Word
Too hard to read? See a new image | Listen to the letters


Hint: The letters above appear as shadows and spell a real word. If you have trouble reading it, you can use the links to view a new image or listen to the letters being spoken.

(*all fields required)