Bolster the rebar to stay focused on your 2023 plan

Remember, we aren’t calling your plan for 2023 a “New Year’s Resolution.”

You have made a bona fide strategic plan for your business or team, and you have established some clearly-defined, compelling objectives and goals to make that plan happen.

But have you noticed that as soon as you get started on a new plan or habit, resistance comes calling? When the plan goes from theory to action, it suddenly gets harder to implement.

No worries. You are going to be ready to get ahead of those obstacles that may come your way because you are not an idealist; you have strategies to leap over those obstacles.

Here are eight supports, almost like rebar in your foundation, that will better guarantee you have your best year ever:

Accountability system

Rarely can we succeed by doing what we’ve always done and rarely can we succeed purely on our own. That’s why there are coaches for every area of your life and business: to help walk alongside you to create systems and make great decisions. If you were accomplishing all your goals, you wouldn’t need advisors or coaches. But who does that? Not even coaches!

First, let’s talk about personal accountability: Put your goal actions into your calendar in blocks of time for deep work; make appointments with yourself as if you were making them with potential clients. If they’re not in your calendar, they probably won’t happen. When that time comes, obey your calendar. Then, review your plan at least weekly. Celebrate progress and set the priorities for next week. As that weekly review becomes a habit, add a monthly review to assure all the aspects of your plan are in motion – and never get forsaken for less than 30 days.

Second, find a success partner. It could be someone within your company, or better yet, it’s a colleague outside your company. They are one for your ATEAM: providing Accountability, working together with Teamwork, dishing out Encouragement, someone to whom you can Ask for help, and who knows and lights up your Motivation. Schedule regular meetings with this key person, to ask you about your progress regularly.

Third, delay gratification until you get your next action done; then reward yourself!

Ask yourself daily

Determine seven to 10 questions to ask yourself daily that will remind you about your goals and priorities. Only choose questions that stretch you, not ones that are about habits that are already automatic. Post these questions where you can see them daily, and rattle through them looking for any No’s that you haven’t done that day. Once you master one of those habits, you substitute a new one into the mix.

Identify emotional baggage

What is the elephant in your room? You might be your own worst obstacle. If you don’t deal with the issue, you carry it to your next relationship, promotion or team meeting.

What do you need to free up from? “You give up to go up,” says leadership guru John C. Maxwell.

What are your greatest fears? Fear of failure? Of what others think?

What are the habits that stand in your way? Addictions? Talking too much?

What are other barriers to getting to your goals? Lack of confidence?

Ask yourself: “What one thing do I need to eliminate from my life because it holds me back from my full potential?” Psychologist Carl Jung reminds us: “What you resist, persists.” 

Get complete physical

The physical should include bloodwork to make sure you are in tip-top shape for accomplishing your goals. Hormonal and allergy issues and sleep apnea are very real. People are amazed when after suffering for years, they have a check-up and realize that a simple herbal remedy returns the energy they lost, or a chiropractic adjustment relieves the constant pain.

Brainstorm options

When you get stuck (and we all will), brainstorm your options for making constructive changes to pull out of your dilemma. Don’t stay down and paralyzed. People backed into a corner do not see options. It’s the stress response: not fight, not flight, but freeze. Even ridiculous options brainstormed often lead to creative ideas.

I personally believe that this exploration is best done in community, like in a mastermind group of people who are supporting your success, and you theirs. 

Choose the path forward that you can commit to wholeheartedly that will likely be your most successful strategy. That “third alternative” is out there.

Develop personal board of advisors

These are your “wingmen” who look behind you for danger. In a plane in the air, they “check your six,” the area behind you that you cannot see. Choose to be under and around people who get you to greatness.

You have probably heard that you are the sum total of your five closest relationships: your “fist of five.”

Bounce a question a month by them, or carve out a lunch that you pay for, to pick their brain. Who is where or headed to where you want to be?

Get working time management system

To get to the bottom of time management obstacles, to see if you are being interrupted or wasting time or focusing on the less important, do a time-task analysis and graph your time spent on various tasks/relationships.

Before going to bed tonight, give A, B, C priorities (I call them your daily top three) to those tasks as you plot out your next day.

Consider your days in blocks of time each week. You have 21 weekly blocks: three mornings, three afternoons and three evenings. Put a priority in each time block – and yes, family time and rest are priorities.

“Never sacrifice the permanent on the altar of the immediate,” said Bob Kraning, a pastor of 50 years. 

Don’t just bang out non-essential tasks just for the endorphins of crossing something off your list. Beat procrastination by taking a baby step in that direction. “WIN” stands for “work it now.”

Practice self-care

The “balance wheel of self-care” is critical to your success to burn bright without burning out. And these quick tips are a great checklist for recovery from a traumatic season of life, too:

  • Getting back to fun/hobbies/trying new things.
  • Reading to learn about the season of life you are facing right now.
  • Renewing your faith connection.
  • Connecting to beauty in the world.
  • Journaling your feelings.
  • Owning/dealing with your own issues.
  • Hanging out with friends.
  • Declaring positive self-affirmations.
  • Serving others.
  • Exercising or moving daily.
  • Meal-planning nutritious meals.

And as the motivational speakers like to say, “Life doesn’t get easier; you just get stronger.”

When you catch yourself going off-road from your plan this year (even this month!), get back on track with these eight strategies.

Paul D. Casey lives in the Tri-Cities and is the owner of Growing Forward Services, which aims to equip and coach leaders and teams to spark breakthrough success. Casey has authored five books and hosts for emerging leaders each month. Online at

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