As one year ends and another is about to begin, this is the time of year when a number of different articles appear about taking steps to plan for the coming year. Some write of the practice of setting New Year’s resolutions. Often business based or self improvement based articles talk about goal setting. Goal setting and making promises as to what we will do are admirable traits. However, overwhelming oneself with too many goals or unrealistic targets is not. Do you have thoughts on how to avoid that for yourself?Sometimes when I work with clients they are very definitive on what they want to accomplish. Other times they’re often unsure of what they want to do next. It is not wise for one to make definitive goal statements if you’re unsure about your commitment to them. For example, if 2013 is the year you say to yourself you are going to move out of that job you hate, perhaps a way to start off the year is committing to do a certain amount of research each day or week to explore what professions may be of interest to you. If you have habits that you are trying to change, instead of indicating that you are going to make a complete change of habit, committing to reducing the bad habit as the year starts may be a more sensible approach in terms of getting started.On a more somber note, I have spoken of the devastation in my home state from a major storm in late October. There are many with substantial rebuilding that needs to be done to their property. In other instances, there are individuals who are essentially starting over. A plight such as this can be extremely overwhelming. In fact, it is possible that at this time, a person does not even have all the answers on how to move forward. However, committing to take those one or two steps one can take at the moment, with the knowledge that other steps can be thought out or committed to later on in the process, is a way to begin down a path in the New Year that keeps one’s energy level positive and moving forward.Therefore, my advice to my readers as they begin 2013 is to make a list of items you want to accomplish in the coming year, and select perhaps only one or two you want to focus on as the year starts. Even with those items, identify that first step or two you want to take toward it. Make sure those steps are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and have a sensible time orientation to them. For example if you say you are going to accomplish a step by the end of the 2nd week of January, and you know the step will take you four weeks to complete, you have set yourself up for failure before you have even gotten started. If the accomplishment is that important to you and you feel it must be completed in a specified time frame, do you have the right resources to complete it? Do you need to seek assistance from others? Are those you need to help you able to commit to you during the time you require? Again, if not, you are setting yourself up for frustration and disappointment unless you have an alternate plan.The storm that came to my area of the United States in late October showed that not all factors are in our hands. External forces can have an impact on the best of plans and intentions. However, what we do have some say over is our own inner energy level and the approaches we take to that which we look to achieve. If we’re honest with ourselves in that planning, realistic to what may be able to be achieved and what is not, willing to acknowledge points of accomplishment along the way and sensitive enough to adapt if unforeseen occurrences happen, it makes for a more energetic and fulfilling life that we live. Therefore, to all who continue to faithfully follow these postings on a regular basis a Happy New Year for 2013, and may you patiently yet steadfastly move forward toward all that you are looking to accomplish in the coming year.