By Sunny Simon

Optimism runs high in January. Most of us get pumped up about a number of challenges like creating a fitness routine and sticking to it, losing weight, expanding our business or earning that coveted promotion. Typically somewhere around the middle of March upon reviewing our goal list we discover we are severely off-track. What went wrong? My hypothesis is; we tend to bite off too much too soon.

For example, my friend Nancy created a list of her top ten goals. On January 1st, she tried to leap from a non-existent exercise routine to a five day, 5:00 a.m. gym regiment while juggling her daily responsibilities and working on her other nine goals. I called her today to see how she was progressing. Nancy admitted as hard as she tried, she could not keep up the pace. Her gym visits had dwindled and she admitted to little or no progress with her remaining goals.

We often set ourselves up for failure by trying to over compensate for our lack of achievement in previous years. The new system we create for ourselves unravels and we become discouraged. More than one client has walked in my office lamenting the inability to get to the goal line. If this sounds familiar, don’t despair, but do read on.

Years ago, I was a Nancy. While popping the cork on a great bottle of the bubbly each New Year’s Eve I had visions of incredible success swirling around in my head. I happily watched the ball drop, kissed my husband and claimed the New Year as my time to soar. It didn’t take long to see those visions break like the bubbles in a glass of Champagne. My epiphany came when I read Gretchen Rubin’s book “The Happiness Project.” What fascinated me was Gretchen’s thirty day concept. Gretchen spent an entire month focused on a limited number of goals. I found pairing my list down to only one goal each month works.

Want to avoid the mid-March blues over goals that have flat-lined? Create a list of no more than twelve goals. Decide where you will start. This year I want to streamline my life, reduce clutter and finish every project I start. My January activity involves ridding myself of ten things every day. They can be physical items or time-wasting activities that crowd my calendar. Give it a try. One month, one goal. I promise as you toast the year away on December 31st your goal score card will reveal all items completed. Sunny Simon is the owner of Raise the Bar High Life and Career Coaching. More about Sunny at