In my early twenties I worked for the Chief Strategic Officer of the Walt Disney Company. We created a five-year plan EVERY year. Although the senior executives understood the value of putting a concrete business plan down on paper, they also recognized that reality is unpredictable and the plans made one day could very well be ineffectual, if not irrelevant, the next. The same way that a GPS calculates a new route when we veer from the anticipated course, we too must focus not only on the final destination, but also on our current location and the multiple paths available to get us from where we are to where we want to go.

Direction sign at crossroads indicating either path is the right way.


This concept of regular evaluation and assessment is not a proprietary secret of Fortune 500 companies, it is the normal practice of day-to-day life. Consider the following:

• Annual employee reviews
• Regularly scheduled doctor visits
• Academic exams
• Automobile emissions tests
• Spring cleaning
• Tax Day

These systemic structures help us monitor and evaluate the performance and functionality of our lives. Despite our often negative perspective on these procedures, we understand that minimal time and effort put in now can exponentially improve the outcomes later.

Yet, when it comes to our personal sense of balance and fulfillment, we are less vigilant in tracking our own progress. As human beings we are prone to obey Newton’s first law of motion: “an object in motion will remain in motion unless acted upon by an external force.” This is why so many life changes are instigated through crisis; such as: the loss of a job, the end of a relationship, or the diagnosis of an illness. An exception to this is the New Year’s Resolution which serves as a catalyst to reflect on the past and set goals for the future. The problem being, as anyone who has joined a gym in January and stopped going in February knows, there is a high risk of a resolution beginning with a bold declaration of determination ending with a dwindling whimper.

Man with raised hands at peak of mountain top.


Rather than setting new resolutions for what we should do in the future, I suggest revisiting the solutions that helped us succeed in the past. Look back at the aspects and achievements of your life that brought you the most fulfillment and satisfaction. What were the values that motivated your efforts? What were the actions that honored your values? Creating a structure of success requires you to know what avenues have led you there before.

By grounding your goals in your values, you have a better chance of not only staying motivated, but actually being inspired. Below are some fill-in the blank prompts to help you develop a value-based direction for the New Year. Take a moment to set an intention or guiding theme for who you want to be and what values you will prioritize. If you find that three months (or even three weeks) in, this strategy isn’t working for you, recalculate your course and try another path.

1. In 2019 I want to start each day __________.
2. In 2019 I approach life with ____________ rather than ____________.
3. This year I invite ____________ and ____________.
4. This year I live life as a ____________ who sees ____________.
5. 2019 is the year of ____________.

For help with clarifying your values, look back at past entries of the Entrepreneur’s Alphabet where we’ve explored the values accountability, balance, choice, and discovery or email me at for a complimentary and comprehensive worksheet of values.

The Entrepreneur’s Alphabet of Values: Solving the Resolution Problem through Values
by: Stacey Zackin, PhD, MSW, PCC (Manager, WORK_SPACE)