Back at work yet? Welcome! Let’s do a little goal-setting.  

Here is a simple template for evaluating your year, then preparing for the new one. This approach gives us an opportunity to build on what’s working, ditch what isn’t, and think about new ideas for your future. 

The template I’d like to recommend for you goes like this:


Less of 2

More of 2  

2 brand new  


Here’s how that works: 

Less of Two:

What two things have been low points for you this past year? Can you trace them back to the moment of initiation, and understand how they unfolded? Something that made you unhappy, and that you don’t want to be part of your life story in 2018.  

Perhaps you got caught in a bad pattern, bickering with a spouse, or repeating destructive behaviour with a boss or colleague. We tend not to notice these patterns while we’re actually caught in them. But by taking a moment now to think back on the past year and weed out things you don’t want to repeat, you can often find the genesis of these problems. So our starting point is to ask: what two things would you like less of in 2018?

Then we turn our attention to the next idea: 

More of Two:

What went right in 2017? What worked, or proved surprisingly successful? Using the same approach as before, can you trace these things back through their own process and work out why? If so, you have found a bright spot. You have found a success story, something worth growing and repeating. Your goal then is to replicate bright spots and enjoy more success stories. 

So perhaps you tried something new, or did something differently as you approached the project of growing your life, and to your own surprise, it panned out. You took a chance, you showed courage, it worked. Great! What more could you do in that vain?  

Our final ingredient is:

Two New Things:

Naturally, these are things that you are currently not doing. Things that aren’t part of your life story right now. Perhaps studying further. Maybe writing a book, joining a professional association, or beginning to learn a brand new skill. 

What if you added two such things to your plate for 2018? 

The total formula here is simple, but if you add it all up, the degree to which it can change your trajectory can be profound. Just imagine, by this time next year, by the end of 2018, you could have solved two problems that cause you grief, increased two things that bring you joy and satisfaction, and made headway with two brand new things. Put that all together, and you could be in store for an incredibly prosperous 2018… …which is also my wish for you. 

This year, may you move from amateur to expert. 


Douglas Kruger is a global speaker and author of five business books with Penguin Random House SA. He has won the national championships for Public Speaking, through Toastmasters International, a record 5 times.

In 2016, in honour of excellence in his craft, Douglas was inducted into the Speakers Hall of Fame, by the Professional Speakers Association of Southern Africa. See him in action, or sign up for his free newsletter, ‘From Amateur to Expert’ at Email