NOW is the time to think about your New Year Resolution

Jinny Ditzler is an executive coach par excellence. I met her when I was returning to work at a TV production company after my daughter went to school and was feeling nervous because it had been a four-year career break (though I had been doing freelance writing in the meantime).

I was recommended to see her by a friend who became a bestselling author after her sessions with Jinny. So I did

Her BestYearYet counselling was to make lists of 10 things to do that week and then to discuss the following week. Right from the start she gave me confidence – I was a train on a siding which just needed a push to get back on track.

My lists consisted of taking clothes to dry cleaners, sorting out labels for daughter’s gym kit etc. At the top of each list was talking to my MD about salary (I started part time, then went full time with no increase).  Each week, all my domestic duties were done – except for the main one.  Eventually I was embarrassed at the repetition of this, girded my loins and spoke to him.  Of course it was an admin error, I received back pay and all was well.

A couple of years later, in my job as a producer for an independent TV production company I sold an idea to Channel 4 to follow Jinny as she coached top executive boards both here and in her native New York. It was a well-received documentary and she thanked me saying her family now understood her job! I got a credit in her last book as well.

Jinny and I have stayed in touch so when she sent me her article about setting goals to get the results you want, she gave permission for me to share it.

Over to Jinny: Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at the Dominican University in California, recently studied the art and science of goal setting. She worked with 267 people from all over the world, all walks of life. What did she learn?

You become 42 per cent more likely to achieve your goals and dreams, simply by writing them down.

A Harvard Business study nearly 40 years ago, found that three per cent of their MBA students earned way more money than the rest because they had written goals and followed through. A long time ago a New York taxi driver was telling me about his kids and how proud he was of them. The secret? “I’ve told them over and over again that if they don’t have a plan and goals that they’ll be no better than a used newspaper blowing down the street, going nowhere.” Perfectly said as many of us are busily getting things done, meanwhile telling ourselves that before long we’re going to get around to the important stuff (like my session with the MD).

  • Write your goals as specifically as possible. This step is essential because if you don’t know exactly where the target is, how can you hit it? For example, a goal might be to spend more quality time with your kids. Good one, but not specific enough. How much more success will you have with these kinds of goals?


  • Read to each child at least 5 times a week.


  • Have a special day with each child once a month.


If you’re writing your most important goals for a year, have no more than 10 goals. When I did my first plan over 30 years ago, I had over 100 goals ~ a miraculous year, but my plan lacked focus and less than 20% were achieved.

  • Balance your long- and short-term goals. You may want to write a book, which ideally you’d like to finish next year. Your goal for the end of this year might be to take a writing class, network to find an agent, or do a mind map of the book. Some of your goals are gigantic, but what you do today or this week can move you toward your long-term goals. As I always say to my clients,
    Eat the elephant bite by bite!


  • Find an accountability partner. This person can be a friend, family member, or colleague ~ anyone who believes in you and knows who you are. Someone whom you’d like to report to regularly on how you did on your goals for the week or month. Keeping my word with myself has always been a challenge, but when I have an accountability partner, I produce real results.
  • Make a plan every year.


This is the secret for achieving success in my life. For the past 38 years I’ve taken two or three hours to answer the 10 questions that lead to my one-page plan for the year. What I love is that it works ~ the results have been amazing. I’ve stuck with this system for one main reason: Although I’ve yet to achieve all of the goals on a year’s plan, the results in my life are real ~ loving relationships. solid finances, founding of a successful global company, finally getting fit, and having a profound spiritual life. The questions guide me to learn my most important lessons, shift my strongest limiting belief, choose my major focus, and select my top ten goals across all the areas of my life.

PS: Email from Jinny: An idea for you Val.  Given the evolution of your life just now, why not make a new plan to create the next level of experience beyond ‘the new normal’.  The new team has an online program for making your one-page plan and then tracking it throughout the year.  If the idea appeals to you, click here to get started:


My New Year resolution!

About the author

Lady Val is our Life of a Lady Blogger. Lady Val is also the founder of 'Lady Val's Professional Women's Network.' You can Reach Lady Val on: Life of a Lady Blog, Lady Val's Professional Women's Network

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