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What To Do If You Didn’t Meet Your 2017 Resolutions (And What To Do If You Did)


Every year, entrepreneurs and small business owners set New Year’s resolutions for themselves and for their businesses. Armed with strong, sturdy, motivating goals, they enter January with ambition and focus. But what happens as the year goes on?

Did you meet your 2017 resolutions for yourself and your small business? If not, it could be because you had more important things on your plate, you didn’t have enough time, or you just didn’t prioritize very well. Don’t think back on 2017 wondering what you accomplished or throw your hands up in the air with an “oh well.” For those who didn’t quite meet their goals (or didn’t even get close), here are a few things you can do heading into 2018:

2017 In Review

Make a List of Your Achievements

Just because you didn’t complete the goals you set at this time last year doesn’t mean you didn’t accomplish anything. Don’t let yourself fall into the trap of thinking 2017 was a bust. Instead, make a list of your achievements in both your personal life and your business. After all, every small business owner needs to have a work-life balance. Be sure to congratulate yourself for everything you achieved this year.

Write Down How You Got There

Congratulations! You achieved some pretty amazing things in 2017, and that success had to come from somewhere. What was the work that you put in for each of your achievements? Did you build a particular habit that helped you become more productive? Did you try something new for your business that brought more customers in? Write down the drivers of your success so that you know what to carry forward next year.

Review Your Lessons Learned

It doesn’t matter who you are - everyone makes mistakes. What were some of your biggest mistakes and “oops” moments of 2017, and what did you learn from them? For every misstep, you should have at least one lesson that you can take forward into 2018, big or small.

What Happened With Your Resolutions?

So, it turns out you had a great year! You achieved some amazing things, and you learned a lot. Now that you’ve got some momentum, let’s turn towards your 2017 resolutions to find out why those didn’t quite work out.

Review Your Ambition

If you can, find your list of resolutions. If you didn’t write them down, take a moment to think back to January 1st - what was it that you wanted to accomplish this year? Why were those goals important to you? Did you hope to achieve a work-life balance? Did you hope to grow your small business’s social media presence? Were you planning on opening a second shop? Every New Year’s resolution is made for a reason, so try your best to find out what yours were last year.

Find the Missing Piece

It’s important to find out exactly what got in the way this year. Did you get distracted by challenges that you didn’t expect? Were you presented with other opportunities that you chose to follow instead? Even more simply, did you just not have a plan? Any one of these (and more) could be the reason that you didn’t achieve your original goals, and they’re important lessons that you can take into 2018.

If you got distracted by other challenges, you should try to predict the challenges that could come up next year. If you chose to follow other, unexpected opportunities, then maybe it’s not so bad! If you just didn’t plan, well, maybe next year you should have a plan.

Are They Still Relevant?

Now comes the difficult part: deciding if your old goals still matter. Has your business moved beyond the point where last year’s goals still feel important? Have you? As important as it is to avoid repeating the same goals needlessly, you also shouldn’t overlook any goals that may still be relevant for 2018. Re-evaluate last year’s goals with this year’s circumstances to decide if they should make the cut.

Planning for 2018

As you approach 2018, don’t write-off setting New Year’s resolutions just because last year didn’t work out for you. Here are a few ways you can develop the right New Year’s Resolutions.

Close Your Eyes, Really.

When you finally find the time to relax and take a step back, close your eyes. Try to imagine the business you’ll be leading at this time next year. Think through the life you’ll be living. What are some of the key things that have changed compared to right now?


If, like many entrepreneurs, visualization isn’t your thing, there are tools that can help you to evaluate where you are and where you could go. SWOTs are StartBlox favorites, but there are so dozens of options to help you analyze your business and your life.

Define (A Few) SMART Goals

Don’t be one of those “I want to lose weight” people. If you’re going to succeed, you’re going to need to be able to tell when you’ve achieved the goal. SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely - 5 words that will help you be more successful in 2018. If you’re setting a goal for 2018, it’s a good idea to make sure you’ve put a number on it and you’ve given yourself a goal that makes sense.

Limit yourself to just a few goals for yourself and your business. The more focused you can be on a few SMART goals, the better off you’ll be when you’re trying to stay focused next year.

Create a Plan

You won’t achieve your goals just because you dreamed them up. (2017 is proof of that!) For every goal you set, identify a few key actions you can take to get started. What habits will you adopt in January, and how will you build those up throughout the year? You don’t need a day-by-day plan for 2018, but it’s a good idea to identify milestones that you want to achieve throughout the year.

At the end of the day (and at the end of the year), goals matter. But remember, your success isn’t only based on the goals that you set. It’s based on what you’re able to achieve amidst the ever-changing circumstances of entrepreneurship. For an overly-ambitious group of people like entrepreneurs, it’s especially important to recognize your success, every day, all year.


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