Create Your Vision Path

Create Your Vision Path

December 8, 2016   |     West Now Home

By Laura Varner

The content herein is that of the author and does not reflect the position or opinion of Western International University (West). This article originally appeared on and is shared with the West community through our collaboration with the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) Phoenix Chapter.

As you look back on 2016, do you feel satisfied with your results? Or did you find yourself staring at a familiar unorganized, disarrayed path of unfulfilled dreams? Ten years ago, you didn’t expect to be where you are today. You ventured off course, and you told yourself that this year would be different. You put pen to paper and listed your goals for 2016, taped it to the bathroom mirror, and continued your positive self-talk until March rolled around.

Around March each year, something happens to the majority of us who make New Year’s resolutions, and it probably happened to you too. You reduced your gym visits from five days a week to one, your green juice breakfast turned into coffee and a Pop Tart, and you got stuck in a never-ending round-about that leads to nowhere. Every year, millions of people make New Year's resolutions, but only 8% end up achieving them (Statistic Brain Research Institute, 2014).* You lost sight of your vision and you started to feel hopeless--but you can make this next year be different. According to the Statistic Brain Research Institute, “People who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t explicitly make resolutions.” So, with the remainder of 2016, what can you do to create a vision path for 2017 that leads to celebration rather than disappointment?

Creating a Vision Path

Creating a vision path takes New Year’s resolutions to the next level of action and achievement. It’s a visual representation of your path with clear actions, milestones and celebrations that take your dreams off of the paper and breathes life into them.

Creating a vision path is easy and inexpensive. Start by designating a space in your home or office that you visit daily. Then find some sticky notes and a pen and get started with these simple steps:

1.  Begin with the end in mind. 
Start by listing what you want to celebrate at the end of 2017. These are the goals you typically write down as your New Year’s resolutions. The difference is that instead of writing them on a single piece of paper, you’ll write them on sticky notes on the far right of your designated space.

2.  Determine monthly and quarterly milestones. 
Working backwards from your goals, write down 8-12 major milestones that you expect to accomplish throughout the year. Start with January and end with December. The sticky note for January should be on the left side of your designated space.

3.  List tactical actions for each milestone. 
List the actions that you need to take to complete each milestone on sticky notes. Then place the actions to the left of each milestone.

After you’ve completed this activity, you should have what looks like a strip of sticky notes in a line across your designated space.

Celebrating Accomplishments

As you complete each action on a sticky note, pull that note down and celebrate it. No, I mean REALLY celebrate it--do the happy dance, enjoy a glass of wine with someone special, and share your success. Do something that cements in the feeling of a great accomplishment, because you just surpassed most of your peers, most of whom quit trying before all the sticky notes were even written.

When I led my team at a chemical company, I encouraged the sales team by creating a board of gold stars to recognize achievements. The gold stars were an inexpensive way to have fun and reward success. People would stop me in the hall and tell me that more stars had gone up. Over the next few weeks, I saw all of the team members work hard to receive that recognition.

Celebrating accomplishments doesn’t have to be expensive, but it should be visual. The visual element of celebration provides encouragement to yourself and others to focus on future goals and boosts confidence that they will be achieved.

Don’t let 2017 be a year of disappointment and disarray. Invest a few hours in yourself to set up your vision path and a few minutes each day working toward your goals. Do one thing today to get you closer to where you want to be in 2017, and if you need someone to encourage you along the way, consider joining a business coaching program like the one we provide for our clients, that focuses on creating success for you and your business.

*SOURCE: Statistic Brain Research Institute (2014). New Year’s Resolution Statistics – Statistic Brain.  Retrieved from

Laura Varner is the founder of AHA Strategic Partners, LLC. She has spent over 30 years building a successful business and mentoring men and women along the way. Her education, training and experience provide her with the skills to help clients overcome limitations, leverage strengths, plan out and train for the journey, achieve success, and then continue on without her.

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