I’m not exactly a fan of resolutions – really, what’s so different about December 31 than January 1 that’s going to make a dramatic difference in whether or not you keep your resolutions?

If you just have a list of things you’d like to accomplish, well, the answer is ‘not much’.

But if you have a PLAN to go along with your list, well, that can make ALL the difference.

What I do as part of a much larger strategic planning process is create what I call My Simple Business Plan. It includes just 4 goals that I want to achieve in my business within the next year.

What I’ve found from doing this process over and over is this: I’ve reached AT LEAST those 4 goals within the year (and usually quite a few more). How? Because those were the ones I created a plan around to achieve.

So even though 4 goals may not seem like a lot, if it’s 4 more than you usually reach, wouldn’t that feel great? 🙂

This year, instead of creating resolutions for your business, try the following steps to create your own Simple Business Plan:

1. Create your 1 year vision

One of my favorite exercises is creating a vivid vision of what I want my life to look like over the next year. I include anything and everything I can think of, letting my imagination run wild while my fingers try to keep up with my mind.

If you’ve done this or a similar exercise before, review what you’ve written previously. Acknowledge the progress you’ve made, but don’t get stuck on the goals you didn’t reach either. Move forward with your new or revised goals for the future.

2. Choose a theme

Usually from the 1-year vision exercise, a theme will emerge about what seems most right to focus on over the next year. It may be finances, relationship-building, or a specific piece of my marketing efforts that I want to implement or increase.

3. Choose 4 goals to focus on within that theme

Choose one goal that follows the overarching theme of your year to work on each quarter. For example, if your theme is ‘increase market reach’, your first quarter goal may be to get exposure in a media outlet you haven’t tapped yet. Your second quarter goal may be to develop 3 new strategic alliances.

4. Break down each Quarterly Goal into monthly, weekly and even daily tasks

Now that you know what you want to focus on each quarter, figure out what you need to do each month, week and day of that quarter to reach your goal. Then write down those tasks in your planner.

This step is huge – and it’s also the step that most people skip. But I promise if you set aside the time to do this, you will reap the rewards. Doing this will almost effortlessly PULL you forward towards reaching your goals.

5. Get support

As entrepreneurs, we have a tendency to want to go-it-alone. But nothing will increase the likelihood of actually reaching your goals more quickly and easily than if you have someone else holding you accountable.

Buddy up with a colleague, or hire a coach, to keep you on track and moving forward. Check in at least once a week to ensure forward progress. And don’t forget to celebrate your victories, whether they be big or small, along the way.

I know this sounds simple, but for some reason, we have a tendency to make everything much more difficult than it needs to be. If you follow the 5 steps I’ve given you, when this time comes next year, you’ll be astounded that you actually reached, at the very least, your 4 goals of your Simple Business Plan.