Happy New Year and Welcome 2013! A new year is always an exciting time, I get a similar feeling I had as a kid when the summer was winding down and it was time to anticipate new experiences and moving forward.

Culturally we’re wired for new beginnings in a new year. Whatever your experience with goal setting in the past – positive or negative – I encourage you to invest some time in this New Year to reflect on what you want.

Imagine yourself at this time next year – what do you want to look back on having accomplished in 2013? Take the time to vision, or at least take the time to get quiet and make a list, play a little with the possibilities. I’m sure you’ll agree you’re much more likely to get what you want if you know what it is you want. Makes sense, but we often give the writing and planning short shrift.  Keeping it in your head does not a good plan make!

Once you have your ideas on paper, it becomes a very simple process to develop a strategy for implementation, to get the plans parsed into the elements that moves you, step-by-step, toward what you desire.

Here’s my big challenge question to open the year: Do you have the strength and guts to set a big goal and create action plans that will stretch you? Do you? It’s a legitimate question. Why? Because it takes courage. It takes putting your ego aside and realizing what you’re capable of (lots!), what you believe you can accomplish and what you’re willing to do to just go for it and make it your reality.

I hear so often how busy everyone is. Usually busy with what’s right in front of them and we all have a LOT that is right in front of us – always. That won’t change. Unless you change it deliberately. Having a plan to realize goals is a way to stand up to the issue of time and its’ management and make your big plans a reality.

What do I mean? It’s much easier to get caught up in the day to day, all that’ right in front of us to do. Letting other peoples agendas rule our time, letting crisis rule our time, letting lack of planning or commitment to our big goals steal our time.

Take a stand for your life, your business, your big goals. As unglamorous as it sounds, it starts with knowing what you want and then deciding the ways you can make that happen. Then, breaking that down into actionable items that you make progress on, one by one.

To quote the roman emperor Hadrian speaking of the building of Rome, by way of the movie Seabiscuit (!), Brick by brick my citizens, brick by brick. And so it is with your planning. One step at a time is how every great dream is realized, life is built, goal