It's December and we are in the final month of 2015. What better time to take stock, prepare for the New Year, and make sure 2016 will be the best year yet? This time of year, we've all caught the New Year bug--we're making big plans, setting lofty goals, and rewriting the rules to our lives, health, and careers.

You can set all the intentions you want. But when it comes down to it, success requires two things: grit and a growth mindset. If you commit to never giving up, and believe that with hard work you can achieve your goals, you are guaranteed to be successful.

With that in mind, let's set goals and get some basic structure in place to ensure you're making traction and maximizing your results. Throw away the New Year planning guides and try this four-step, shortcut plan for 2016. I am willing to bet you will go further than you think is possible!

1. Come up with a theme for the year.

What theme that can be your grounding go-to focus point? Think about the following questions and then let the theme come to you over the course of a week.

a) What words inspire you?

b) How would you describe the momentum you desire?

c) How do you want to feel throughout the year?

d) What was your theme for 2015 and how do you want 2016 to be different?

Go about your day with the intention of a theme emerging, and within a few days it most certainly will. This theme is something that you will focus on regularly, so it has to be spot on. Let it come naturally.

Share your new theme with others. Does it fire you up?

2. Set four goals for 2016 that require you to step out of your comfort zone and fall in line with your theme.


3. Determine what kind of support you need to achieve these goals.

Write down a list of people who can support you. These people might already be in your network, or they could be people you want to reach out to and connect with. They can be people you hire, a mentor, or someone in a more casual relationships.

4. Answer these yes-or-no questions every Friday for the whole year. Go through the questions again and think critically about your responses.

a) Were you challenged this week?

b) Were you bored?

c) Did you learn something new?

d) Did you make any progress on your four goals for the year?

e) Were you in the Zone?

f) Did you get enough sleep and prioritize your well-being?

With this four-step shortcut plan, you will have a theme for 2016, four major goals, any support you need identified, and a weekly set of questions to keep you on track. You'll be all ready to kick off the New Year on the right path, knowing exactly what you need to do.

Achieving greatness is something that is available to everyone. The key is having the focus and discipline to make it happen. This simple plan will give you the structure--now it's up to you to get to work!