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It’s a time for renewal. For fresh starts. It’s a time to make new goals and develop plans to accomplish them.

2017 is here. What will the new year mean for you? What will it mean for your business? Today is your day to not only ask life-changing questions, but to find the answers. To resolve to make a change.

Merriam-Webster defines “resolve” as a decision to “find an answer or solution to something.”

And so we all do just that. January 1 hits each year and some research reports roughly half of the American population decides to make a change. We decide we’re going to lose the weight. We’re going to take our business to the next level. We’re going to make it a year to remember.

So why isn’t everything different come April? Because, at least more often than not, life intervenes. Things happen and all of those good intentions fall by the wayside.

We all know that doesn’t make our goals any less important than they were a few months earlier. That’s why we thought it essential to put together a new year’s resolution survival checklist to help keep you (and your business) on track in 2017.

  1. Believe in yourself. The first and possibly most crucial step to staying true to your goals is to believe in what you want to accomplish. As a small business owner, you already know the truth. It all starts (and ends) with you. Abraham Lincoln once suggested to “always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.” Embrace that before goal setting and you are much less likely to fail.
  2. Remember your why. A resolution is only as good as the question it answers. Forbes goes as far as to say you should forget the concept of setting resolutions altogether, abandoning them for the reason why you set them in the first place. Why is it important to take your business to the next level? Why does it matter to you that your business multiplies its client base by 40 percent next year? Focusing on the reasons behind the questions will help you stay on track.
  3. Set quantitative goals. It’s one thing to say you want your business to grow or your social media to improve. It’s something else altogether to set ways to measure those big ideas. Instead of saying you want to increase sales, define it by increasing prices by “x” or increase your marketing budget by “y.” Instead of simply planning to be more present on social media, specify that you want to publish three blog posts a week, add however many Tweets per day or add a certain number of new followers per month.
  4. Be more efficient. One of the best ways to make new things happen in the new year is to make sure there is time to do it. By maximizing efficiencies throughout your work day you are more likely to have the time you need to plan ahead, say no, assign tasks and take breaks. All of these elements are essential to making the most of every day, thereby allowing you the time and energy you need to bring your goals for 2017 to fruition.

Your time is now. Change starts today. Make lasting changes requires commitment and dedication.

It means remembering Lincoln’s words that your own resolution to succeed is the only one that matters. Your business matters, but mostly you matter.

Happy New Year, and best wishes on success in 2017!