This year just has to be better than last year, right? But how do you start?

You know you’re destined to build your business and yet … you have doubts that you can make things happen. You aren’t sure what needs to change. Or where to start.

I know how that is. I hear it from my clients when we first talk. And on top of all that confusion, doubt, and anxiety, there is the fear that whatever action you choose … it won’t be the “right” one.

This is a frustration experienced by most new entrepreneurs.

You are not alone.

In fact, I was at a networking event recently, thoroughly enjoying a conversation with a group of fellow business owners about all that we want to accomplish this year.

Then, the conversation took a downturn.

Someone sighed and said: “Who am I kidding? I’ll be lucky to get half of that done. It was all on my list last year, too. I wish I knew the magic button to press to make this year different.”

It’s not easy to know HOW to make things better than last year!

This is how I responded to her: “Your tribe needs your gifts. The world needs your passion. You CAN do what you truly want to do. Find out what you need to make that happen. Start there…”

Okay, in reality, I must confess that I used a lot of exclamation points and I went on a bit longer than that. 😉

And then we all started chatting animatedly about HOW to make things different for ourselves this year.

Out of that conversation came this article.

I’ll show you where to start if you’re ready to make this year better than last year, but don’t know how.

Follow my “Triple A Guide to Achieve Your Goals”

3 Keys to Successful Change: Assess – Align – Act

Here’s the short version: Sit down and get quiet. First, reflect on last year and the goals you had set. What did you achieve? What made that possible? What challenges or obstacles kept you from reaching the goals you didn’t accomplish? Why were those goals important to you? What do they represent?

Next, reflect on and align with your values before deciding how to move forward this year. Make sure you are in alignment with your personal motivation, your passion, your authentic self, before you look at what to change. So, ask yourself what you really, really hold dear. What is your greatest motivation for making your business successful? And how does that picture of business success align with your personal values?

Then choose the new actions you will take this year from that place of alignment.

Make this year better than last year.

So let’s explore in a little more depth how you might get in touch with what really needs to change in order to make this year better.

Instead of continuing to reach for quick fixes (usually on a random basis) or staying stuck where you are, step back for a minute before you act.

Before you make any changes … First, you Assess.

In addition to the questions above (reflecting on last year), walk through these steps. They are powerful and empowering. They will enable you to get clear about where you’ve been and what your tendencies have been.

Celebrate – Yes, stop and reflect on what you have accomplished in the last year. What do you have to celebrate? Where have you made progress? What changes have you made that led to success? Way too often we only concentrate on what didn’t work or what we still need to do. Take a few minutes to celebrate what went well last year. Write that down. Then move on to the next step below.

Reconnect – This is another often-neglected aspect for harried entrepreneurs. Take some time to shift your focus back to why you started your business in the first place. What’s your mission? Your driving reason for being an entrepreneur? What are you most passionate about? Reconnect with that passion. Make a note of that. Then move on to the next step below.

Feedback – Take a look at your current goals and your To-Do List. Then choose some trusted colleagues to run these by. Actively solicit feedback before you decide where to spend your resources (your time, energy, and money). In light of trustworthy feedback from your coach and your peers, what are your top priorities? Narrow that down to just a few (no more than three). Get feedback from those you trust and then narrow your focus. Write down your top priorities. Then move on to the next step below.

Now it’s time to Align.

Expand – It’s time to see how the information you gathered above aligns with your personal and professional values. Review your list of successes – what you’re celebrating. Take a look at what you found joy in accomplishing last year. Those activities are most likely in alignment with your values and they feel authentic. Look for opportunities to repeat or expand on them this year.

Tweak – Review and measure any goals you have set for yourself for this year against what you discovered when you reconnected with your passion. Do the new goals line up (align) with your passion? If so, go with them. If not, tweak them until they do or eliminate them from your list for this year. Unless they’re in alignment with your passion, they won’t be productive goals for you.

You are ready to Act!

Yes, if you follow through with the assessment and alignment steps above, you will naturally find a few action steps to take that will indeed make this year better than last year for your business. Start small. Start right where you are. But now you are ready to start making changes from a place of authenticity and calm.

Create your action plan. Lay out your new goals (no more than three) and break them down into action steps. Choose one step for each goal. Place that step on your calendar and make time for completing it. Now. Not someday. Feel confident about the choices you’ve just made. And get into action.

Go deeper and get even better results.

You can develop your action plan even further with these two steps.

Educate – Adjust your information intake. Either up or down. Yep. You need to pay attention to this if you are going to take aligned action.

If you need to learn something new in order to reach your goal, then get the information you need. Get the resources you need to make it happen. Make that a priority.

If, on the other hand, you tend to accumulate information and training products, stop searching. Now! It’s time to use some of the resources you already own. Don’t purchase yet another one. Don’t spend your precious time searching for the next best thing to help you move forward. Get into action using the information you already have at your disposal.

Boost – Get even greater results even faster by boosting your chances of success by lining up the proper support. Make sure you keep moving forward by hiring a mentor who will provide the information you need, the accountability you desire, and the coaching to get you through the rough spots. You deserve support. You and your business goals are worth it. If you really want to make this year better than last year, line up the proper support to make that happen.

You will make this year better than last year for your business (and yourself) if you first assess and align, then move into action.

Related Articles for Additional Support:

A Fresh Start with Goals that Work For You
Why Are You Here?
What’s the Plan Stan?
How Do You Become an Olympic Entrepreneur?