How to Make 2017 Your Big Year – For Real This Time

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It’s the end of another year.

So, you’ve probably seen a whole lot of the obligatory “New Year, new me” related social media posts.

And it makes sense.

A New Year is a fresh start and 12 new months to fulfill your goals, so it feels like anything is possible.

But, according to a study, not many people succeed.

If you’ve set annual resolutions goals for the last few years that haven’t exactly worked out, don’t throw in the towel just yet.

Here’s an exercise that I’m doing this year that I want to share with you in case it can help you set and reach attainable goals so you can really make 2017 your big year.


Step 1: Address your prior year goals without shame.

Okay, obvious first step here.

Think about what your goals were for years in the past that didn’t work out. This step is uber important.

Don’t start off the year acting all brand new without confronting your lack of success on other goals.

I’ll use myself as an example here.

This year one of my major goals was to be completely debt free. I paid off my student loan in 2014. In 2016, I had my car note left to pay off and some credit card debt.

The car note I paid off, woopy!

But, I lost momentum with my credit card debt. The kicker is my credit card balances are extremely low. So, my goal of becoming completely debt free was doable, but I missed the mark.


Action Step: Think about what you said you’d do in 2016. Don’t pretend you started this year goal-less because you haven’t met any of them.


Step 2: Be honest about why they didn’t work out.

Drill down and get super specific here.

Explain to yourself why things didn’t pan out exactly as you’d hoped.

The reason I didn’t pay off all of my debt this year was that my focus changed. I realized that for the last two years I had forgotten about self-care and had been all about making career moves.

I decided to make a few changes after a death in the family.

It became my mission to be more present in the moment through traveling and having more fun. I didn’t go into more debt for the cause, but I did funnel more money into other areas besides debt.

So, that’s it, the reason my debt free goal didn’t work out is that I put my attention and money elsewhere.


Action Step: Have a conversation with yourself about why you didn’t reach your goal. It may or may not have been something directly within your control. Or maybe you set a goal that was just too large to handle in one year. Whatever it is, understand why things didn’t work out for the next step.


Step 3: Forgive yourself for the past.

This has become one of the things I love doing more than anything.

If you’ve read some of my other posts, you know I can be a complete head case.

I can get stuck hashing and rehashing why I fall short. I can also get stuck in the probability that I won’t be able to achieve X, Y, or Z in the future because I’ve made mistakes in the past.

This changed when I started forgiving myself.

I now identify the goals that I fall short on, explain to myself why it didn’t work, and then forgive myself for not measuring up.

This has helped me stop getting stuck for months on negative outcomes, so I can create an actual plan for moving forward.

Back to the example.

In my debt scenario, pretty simple. It didn’t work out because I took my focus off of repaying debt. Ultimately, I could have made room for both things (fun and debt payments) if I was stricter with my budget.

So, I’m admitting defeat, but I’m also forgiving myself for not being careful enough with my spending this year to make both happen.


Action Step: Okay, let’s both just admit this does sound a little silly. But, it has helped me gain perspective specifically when it comes to running my own business. Here’s another example. I missed my business income goal this year. I can identify now that it was because I was too scared to increase my project rates for current clients.

Instead of feeling like a loser for the next few months and letting the disappointment fester, I’m choosing to identify the problem and forgive myself for it right now so I can move on.


Here’s a script you can use:

I said I would (insert the goal you didn’t meet). I didn’t attain this goal because (insert the reason). But, that doesn’t mean I suck or that I can’t make it happen in the future – not at all. It was an experience that I needed to learn from and I forgive myself for factors in my control that caused me to miss the mark. 


Step 4: Come up with a new approach.

Finally, think of a new way to operate that will increase your success. If what you did didn’t work last year, there’s a good chance continuing the same behavior won’t lead to success this year.

For me, I’m going to be more careful to budget fun and aggressive debt payments into my budget. I’ve also raised my client rates for this year. Booyahh! (If budgeting is one of your goals this year, check out my budgeting hack.)


Action Step: Rethink your approach to reaching your goals. You may even have different goals for this year than last year. Maybe the difference in approach is how often you check back in on your goals to make sure you’re making progress. Whatever it is, address how your past approach lead you to fail and figure out what you can do differently that will improve your chances of being successful.


Happy New Year!

Even if there are places that you fell short, I’m sure there are plenty of areas where you were successful.

Give yourself a hand clap for those successes, my friend!

In closing, this year has been an awesome year for the blog because I’ve gotten to connect with so many readers. I’m very thankful that you check in.

One comment I get a lot is that they enjoy the transparency and personality of my writing.

I’ll be honest, my heart skips a little bit every time I press “publish”.

But, if just one person can relate to and learn something from my posts, it’s worth that moment of anxiety.

Happy New Year!


— This post may contain affiliate links.


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Taylor K. Gordon is a writer and money blogger. She writes on how to live your best life without going broke.

One Comment
  1. Reply Lisa January 5, 2017 at 4:36 pm

    Yes! I love that you pointed out that we shouldn’t ignore our failed goals of last year. The only way we can succeed is if we evaluate our failures and learn from them.

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