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This Is What to Do Now to Hit 2017 Running A few basic steps now will have you moving fast toward your goals once the holidays are past.

By Dan Scalco

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Most people wait until January 1 to make New Year's resolutions. But why wait? Research suggests your plans for the new year will be more effective if you prepare for them in advance. By asking the right questions and putting the right plans in place before January 1, you'll increase your chances of success in 2017. Here's how to make it happen both for your business and in your personal life.

Here's how to prep your business for 2017.

Crunch the numbers.

The new year provides a great opportunity to let go of what's no longer serving your company and fully commit to what is. Before January 1 rolls around, take stock of what's been working for your business and what hasn't.

Evaluate your expenses for inefficiencies, determine whether any of your goods or services are proving unprofitable, take stock of your competitors to assess whether you're losing ground, resolve existing personnel or leadership issues, evaluate any obstacles inhibiting further growth, and identify potential solutions to those obstacles. Only then should you move on to the next step.

Related: A Look Back at the (Business) Year That Was

Establish short- and long-term goals.

If you don't do this already, it's high time you start. Before the new year begins, outline short- and long-term goals for every quarter. Make sure each of these goals is SMART: Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic, and Trackable.

Equally as important? Make sure every one of your goals (big and small) is in service to a cohesive, overarching vision. If your goals don't serve your company's larger vision, refine them until they do.

Make sure your digital presence is up to date.

The end of the year is often when we start to let things slide. We may have neglected social media profiles or allowed the company's SEO to slip. Use the remaining weeks of the year to go over your business' digital presence with a fine-tooth comb. Update any out-of-date information and refresh social media accounts. Delete accounts entirely if you determine you're not able to keep up with them in a consistent manner.

Related Book: Success Secrets of the Online Marketing Superstars by Mitch Meyerson

Refresh your workspace.

Studies show clutter can inhibit productivity. Use the end of the year to clear out redundant supplies, broken equipment, or anything else that's contributing to a culture of disorganization. While you're cleaning up your physical workspace, get digitally organized as well. Backup and secure your files, change all your passwords, and get as close to Inbox Zero as possible.

Reward successes.

In a survey by Glassdoor, respondents overwhelmingly cited "feeling appreciated" as a critical component of remaining motivated in the workplace. While it's important to cultivate a culture of recognition year round, the end of the year marks the perfect opportunity to reflect on team members' successes and celebrate the work they've put in all year long. This will help ensure morale remains high going into the new year.

You need a strategy to cultivate personal development in 2017.

Take stock.

It's important to reflect on your company's obstacles and progress at the end of the year. And it's just as important to reflect on your own successes, failures, and lessons from the past 12 months. Carve out time to celebrate your personal milestones from the past year, reflect on what's no longer serving you, and identify what you want to achieve in the coming year.

Related: 4 Keys to Boosting Your Growth Rate in 2017

Commit to personal development.

When the demands of work and personal life rear their heads, it's easy to let personal development fall by the wayside. The antidote to this neglect is to have a plan in place. Make your own growth a priority by identifying three ways in which you want to improve in the coming year. This could take the form of learning a new skill, picking up a new hobby, obtaining a certification that will advance your career, and so on.

Once you've identified three goals, the next step is to write a plan for how you'll make these goals a priority in the coming year. Research educational opportunities, schedule personal days in advance (with the intention of devoting them to cultivating these new skills), and mark space in your daily and weekly schedule to pursue these goals.

Related: Steve Wozniak Offers 4 Pieces of Advice for First-Time Entrepreneurs

Prioritize self-care.

All the resolutions in the world won't magically imbue you with willpower if your well has run dry. The only way you can hit the ground running in 2017 is if you take time to refill your energy stores before January 1. The only way you'll continue to find willpower to draw on after January is if you commit to an ongoing routine of self-care.

Some of the best self-care strategies around include exercising regularly, eating well, staying hydrated, cultivating healthy relationships, spending time in nature, prioritizing high-quality sleep by investing in a comfortable mattress and maintaining a regular bedtime routine, and scheduling in downtime (such as meditation) every day.

It's easy to abandon these strategies when life gets stressful, but in fact that's when we need them the most. Commit to them this December and plan to stick with them throughout 2017, no matter what.

Take the time to reflect on the past year, celebrate your successes, and identify clearcut strategies for personal and professional growth before December comes to a close. This way you'll finish 2016 on a positive note and be ready to hit the ground running come January 1.

Dan Scalco

Founder and director of growth at Digitalux

Dan Scalco is the founder and marketing director at Digitalux, a digital-marketing agency located in Hoboken, N.J. In his free time he blogs about focus, productivity, and nootropics at BrainWiz.org.

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