Setting Yourself Up for Success in the New Year

  • Published
  • By Capt Stephen Bailey
  • 21st Space Wing
A new year brings new opportunities, a time to reflect on the previous year, and renewed hope of what can be in the year to come. As a result, many people feel compelled to make a “New Year’s Resolution” in which they will strive to modify their behavior in pursuit of a goal. However, statistics have shown that fewer than 10% of people who make these resolutions successfully see them through to fruition. Here are just a few tips to reverse that trend and set yourself up for success in 2018.


By late 1941, Brig Gen. Dwight Eisenhower had all but given up on any command ambitions and had settled in as a career staff officer. When Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Marshall brought Eisenhower in to help build the strategy for the war in the Pacific, Eisenhower famously requested a few hours to do so and promptly returned with a plan. Marshall soon hired Eisenhower onto his own staff with the knowledge that Eisenhower’s promotion chances were slim as long as he remained in a staff job.

When informed of his future prospects, Eisenhower responded: “I was brought in here to do my duty. I am doing that duty to the best of my ability, and I am just trying to do my part in winning the war.” Now as you know, Eisenhower went on from there to achieve the highest levels of command; however, that was only after he set his personal agenda aside to focus on the mission. If you want to set yourself up for success, find a mission beyond yourself to pursue. Set goals for your personal and professional life that extend beyond you.

By the very nature of serving in the military, you have shown a great capacity towards selflessness, but even in the military, “service before self” can swiftly become obfuscated with endless performance reports and award packages. So, set your mind on accomplishing a mission with no regard for the outcome on your career, and be surprised at the success and satisfaction as a result.


It is one thing to have a mission or goal in mind, but without objectives supporting it, chances are slim-to-none that mission/goal will be met. It is not enough to say you want to look like a bodybuilder by the end of the year; objectives to support that goal are necessary if you want to find success. Also, don’t be afraid to start with simple short-term goals that get you moving in the right direction. Sometimes all you need is a little momentum before you accomplish the big stuff.


Now that you have a mission/goal and objectives be realistic with yourself. This is the tough part because it means you have to really get into the details of your life. One easy way to start is to evaluate how you spend your time. A recent study showed that US consumers spend an average of five hours per day on their mobile device. If you have a goal to read one book a month this year, understanding how much time is spent each day on your cell phone may assist in finding realistic ways to reach certain objectives.

With each new year comes new excitement, but that excitement often fades as the year progresses and resolutions go unfulfilled. Let this year be different! Whether it is personal or professional, determine to find a mission/goal for 2018, set objectives to accomplish it, and evaluate how you currently spend your time so realistic adjustments can be made to support your objectives. Who knows…maybe this will be the year your “New Year’s Resolution” is a success.