It’s a well known fact that your ability to set goals and make plans for their accomplishment is a foremost skill of success. Developing this ability and embedding it as a habit will do more to assure continued success and achievement in your life than any other skill you can possibly learn.

And yet many of us still don’t do it, otherwise we’d all already be thin, rich, in love and healthy.

I'd like to make a suggestion.

Don't make any new year's resolutions. Instead make a plan!

Look at the year ahead and decide where you want to be in 12 months. Then put together a plan to get there. Now of course you aren’t going to know exactly what you need to do the whole year, but you can get a good feel for it and have a good idea of where to get started.

The best laid plans don't necessarily have the va va voom without some tough love accountability, personal support and expert guidance. It's sad to see so many peple give up on their big dreams because they reach a plateay and they don't know how to get to the next level.

Don’t let that be you! In the words of Glade Byron Addams: "Chase down your passion like it's the last bus of the night."

As with anything, you only own the process of goal setting by learning it and then by applying it over and over for yourself until it becomes automatic and ingrained in your subconscious mind, like breathing in and out.

The good news is that you have an automatic, goal-achieving mechanism built into your brain. This success mechanism works night and day, and drives and motivates you toward achieving the things you want.

Here’s five simple steps to activate your autopilot and get you focused and kicking your key goals in the new year:

Step 1 – Get big - Make a list of 5-10 goals you would like to achieve in the next year that align with your long term vision for your ideal life. Consider all the important areas of your life such as health, wealth, career, business, spirituality, love, giving, personal development, relationships etc. How do I get big? I start my goal setting by creating a Gratitude Letter that spells out in specific, tangible terms what my life will be like by the time I reach December 31 at the end of the coming year.

Step 2 – Get focused - Review the list or letter and ask yourself “If I could only achieve one goal this year that would make the greatest difference in my life, what would it be?” This will become your key goal. Write down your key goal and also note down the tangible evidence that you would see, feel and hear that would tell you when you have achieved the goal – this is a psycho neuro motor activity it will make sure your subconscious can work on it while you sleep! If your goal is around money and increasing wealth in life how are you asking for it? Is your goal stated “I want more money in life?” or is it really focused and specific? “It is now November 2011 and I have increased my personal wealth by $150,000. I know this because I can see the additional funds on bank statement, I am reviewing my investment options and I took my family on a holiday to Hawaii.”

Step 3 – Get specific - Make a list of everything you could do to achieve that key goal, keep writing until you have run out of ideas. Organise the list of actions firstly by sequence of the things that should come first, then in order of priority of tasks and actions. Break the tasks and actions down into milestones, I find working backwards from the end result to what I want to see in 9, 6 and 3 months most powerful and from these milestones I can create 90 day action plans.

Step 4 – Get momentum – Do something every day about this key goal no matter how small the action. Start by doing what you can, with what you've got, in the place you are. You can't get anywhere just by planning, so you have to take action. Just keep the goal posts in your sights and aim for it. If you miss a day make sure you catch up the next day so at the end of each 90 day plan you have reached your milestone. The best way to stay on track is to find yourself an accountability buddy or join a mastermind, they will help you overcome any challenges, stay focused and maintain momentum.

Step 5 - Get excited - Celebrate your achievements and milestones along the way. Share your wins with your support team, family or mastermind. Create a success and gratitude journal, take a photo when you reach your goal to remind you of how far you've come.

"Nobody creates the kind of life and biz they want without a plan. And plans don't work unless they're built on actions you can take with the resources available to you now."John Carlton.

Take the time today to give yourself the gift of a gratitude letter and plan, you'll be amazed by what happens!

Author's Bio: 

Coach, author, speaker, teacher and entrepreneur, Heidi Alexandra Pollard, The Communicators’ Coach publishes Value Ad, a free monthly ezine for smart, savvy professionals who want more prosperity, passion and purpose in life. If you’re ready to jump start your success, make more money and have more fun doing it then get your FREE tips now at © Leading Value 2011.