A Recipe for Success

Updated: 09/21/2022

With the last of the Christmas cookies gone, we turn to craft a great New Year’s Resolution. Try using the steps in this Recipe for Success to plan for a great New Year!

Table of Contents

Create a New Year's Resolution

Do you start out in January with great intentions of creating a new you? You’re filled with hopeful dreams of a new, svelte body, an exciting new career, or a different direction in life.   

And then February rolls around.  You slide right back into your same old habits.  You lose energy, excitement, and the will to succeed.  Defeat settles in and life goes on as usual.

Do you want to know how to be successful in the new year? I’m breaking down the recipe for success right here!

My Last New Year’s Resolution

But first, let me tell you about my last unsuccessful New Year’s Resolution.

Two years ago I set my goal for the new year. It was a resolution that I was extremely excited about. I actually had it engraved onto a new bracelet so that I could be reminded to stay on track!

This was to be my “theme” for the whole year.

Live your vision

In my mind, this summed up everything that I wanted in my life. I had a vision of doing great things in my community, helping others, feeling fulfilled and content.

Well, I thought wrong.

My resolution fell flat because I hadn’t clearly defined or planned out what I actually wanted to bring into my life.

Turns out, I wasn’t focused and had no direction on which way to go with my “vision”.

I hadn’t set myself up for success.

So, how do you achieve success with a New Year’s Resolution?

Setting Your Goal the S.M.A.R.T. Way

When designing your goal, keeping it smart will bring focus and clarity to what you want, how to get it, and how long it will take to accomplish.

SMART stands for: Specific; Measurable; Achievable; Relevant; and Time-bound

Here are the details to use when creating your resolution for the new year:

🔹 Clearly and specifically define what you want to accomplish – be detail-oriented, think your goal through, and be specific on the steps you will take to get there.

🔹 Create a way to easily measure your progress – track each step so you can see where you are in the process. ie. Pounds lost, steps taken, or dollars saved.

🔹 It is relevantthis goal must be meaningful to you; it fits into who you are and what you want to accomplish.

🔹 It is achievable – ask yourself if your goal is realistic and within your realm of possibilities.  Your goal is most likely challenging – that’s OK. But deciding to save a million dollars in the new year by couponing may be unrealistic. But hey, who knows?

🔹 Keep on a timetable – plan out your steps to your goal and give yourself a timeframe in which to accomplish each step. Set up a schedule.

How does S.M.A.R.T. work?

Let’s say your goal is to lose weight.  That’s great.  You can do this so let’s get some details. 

Specifically, what’s your goal?  Ten pounds, thirty, one hundred?  Of course, all are achievable but it may be dependent on your timeframe.  Ten pounds per month?  Good, that’s realistic.  One Hundred pounds by Summer?  Well, it’s possible.  (Consider consulting a medical expert to find the healthiest way to do this. )

You can measure your progress by weighing in weekly and tracking the results on a weight chart. 

Losing weight is relevant to you because being the right weight is healthy! 

As you can see, clearly defining your goal, one that is S.M.A.R.T. will set you up for success.

Whenever you want to achieve something, keep your eyes open, concentrate, and make sure you know exactly what it is you want. No one can hit their target with their target with their eyes closed.

Paulo Coelho


The who, what, when, where, and why of choosing your specific resolution will help determine how committed you are to succeed.

Who:  Do you want this change for yourself or is someone else driving you to reach this goal?  Maybe a significant other, friend, or medical advisor? Make this about you. Do this for yourself.

What:  What is your ultimate goal?  Maybe to get a better job or to get healthy? Whatever it is, make it personal.

When: How long will it take to reach your goal?  Set a timeline.

Where:  Are you going back to school – which one?  Are you moving to a new home? Where do you want to be when you accomplish this goal?

Why:  Set out the reasons why you want to achieve this goal.

If you find that you aren’t all in, this is a good indication that you may fall short.  It’s time to step back, regroup, and do a bit more investigating.

Planning is Part of a Recipe for Success

Now that you have a specifically defined goal, it’s time to think about how you will accomplish it.

The more precise the plan is, the more likelihood of success!

There are a number of steps that you must take if you want to succeed.  Let’s break this down.


Brainstorm everything that you need to do in order to accomplish your goal.

Let’s start with what you will need.

Make a list of items you need or preliminary things that must be done:  New walking shoes, sign up for your first college course, enlist others to support your cause, a funding stream?

Here’s an example: This year I will get my dream job.  I will need an updated resume, people who agree to act as references, an active Indeed.com account, all college transcripts. 

See what I mean?  There are many pieces that have to be gathered to start the process.

Chunking steps

With your overall goal at the top of the page, it’s time to break it down into steps.  And each of those steps can be broken down into smaller tasks.  This is called “chunking”.

How does it work?

Let’s say that your goal is to go back to school for your Bachelor’s degree.  Your steps might look like this:

  1. Choose your school
    • Online or in-person?
    • Commute or live on campus?
    • Will the college take the credits that you’ve already attained?
  2. Fill out entrance and student loan applications
  3. Sign up for classes

And so on.

Once again, it’s a great idea to write down each and every step. 

As you accomplish each, check them off.  This will act as a motivator since you can actually see each small win!

Prioritize Using a Recipe for Success

Outline your steps in a fashion that makes sense and then prioritize each.

Some of your steps may be time-sensitive and must be done immediately. Others may have a low priority which can be pushed off for a later or fit in when you have time.

Get Others Involved

Sometimes, the path to success is lonely.  And without others’ help, it’s easy to go astray.

So share your New Year’s Resolution with family and friends. Let them know that you will need their encouragement and support along the way.

Involve them in the process. Ask a friend or family member to: go for walks with you, help you prepare for a test, or describe your strengths as you update your resume.


Once you identify the steps to success, put them into your planning calendar along with your regular, day-to-day activities. There is a planning calendar page in the Recipe for Success workbook (see the end of this article to find out how to get your free copy). Make multiple blank copies and place them into a binder to stay organized.

While plotting each step on your calendar, maintain some white space.  Otherwise, it might look overwhelming.  This will only tend to stress and demotivate.

Don’t forget to leave some room for fun activities as well!

Once again, as you accomplish each step, put a big X over it and celebrate!


Think about what motivates you; things that you look forward to.  It could be a day in the park with your grandchildren, coffee with a friend, a small piece of chocolate after a 5-mile walk (yes, that sounds counter-productive but if that’s what it takes to get you moving….), or a new dress when you’re down ten pounds.

Rewards are a great motivator for any age!

A Recipe for Success Includes Developing New Habits

Many New Year’s Resolutions involve shedding old habits and/or developing new ones.

If you resolve to get healthy, you may vow to run every morning at 6 AM, drink eight glasses of water every day, and get seven hours of sleep each night. 

Or, you may have to break old habits such as eating pizza and chips for lunch or snacking after 8 PM.

In order to successfully change habits, you must be consistent; it will take practice. 

Oftentimes, it’s very hard.

Use the monthly habit tracker included in the Recipe for Success workbook (free when you sign up for my newsletter).

Write down each change that you’ll make in January.  And then check a block every time you complete the task.

Think of how great it will feel when you see all of the boxes checked off!

Print out a new habit tracker sheet every month to continue tracking your habit changes on a monthly basis.

Remember, it takes 66 days, on average, to create a new habit. Read my How to Create Good Habits post for additional help on changing habits.

Keep your writings focused and detail-oriented. Make it fun by using different colored gel pens for various checklists.  Jot down your thoughts, encouragements, inspiring quotes, and affirmations (see my Affirmations to Recreate Your Life blog post) to use along the way.

Ready to Use A Recipe for Success?

You now have a New Year’s Resolution that is SMART and created just for you. You have all of the tools to be successful.

But please remember, as you work through your goal, don’t be discouraged if you aren’t hitting your wins in the timeframe that you set. Your steps can be modified or tweaked at any time to bring them into a range that works for you.

Keep focused and committed. You can achieve SUCCESS!

Let me know if you have any questions as you’re going through your Recipe for Success packet.  It would be great to hear about your progress along the way. 

A Recipe for Success Workbook

Recipe for Success worksheets

I recommend that you keep some type of written diary, log, or journal as you go through this process.  It is very important for success for a couple of reasons: 

  • First, when you visually see your answers to each section of this recipe in writing, it will help to cement your goal in your brain; it solidifies your thought process.  Your mind focuses on what’s important to you and makes your goal feel real.
  • And second, by reducing everything to writing, you can revisit it at any time to refresh and reinvigorate throughout your progress. Keep your workbook in a place where it’s easy to access.

Subscribe to my newsletter and get access to the Dream Life Toolkit. Once there, download the Recipe for Success worksheets. You will also have access to journal pages, prompts, guides, and activities in this free resource library.

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