Here we are at the start of another year. This is traditionally a time for reflection for all of us. We think about the past year – our triumphs and our disappointments. We think about what the New Year will bring. We look forward to turning another page. We vow to make this year a better year.

Many people begin the New Year with resolutions. This age-old tradition starts off with the best intents, but, for most, ends with a fizzle of forgetfulness, neglect and disappointment. Resolutions don't usually have much longevity or success.

Goals expert Michael York says that the reason 97% of all New Year resolutions aren't kept is because:

1. Most people don't expect to keep their resolution

2. Most people don't really know how to set goals or don't think goal setting is necessary.

It's easy to see why setting resolutions usually doesn't work. Still, we want to have a tangible way to express our wishes for making the New Year even greater than the old one.

Putting the idea of setting resolutions aside, let's keep our focus on the question of how you will be better in 2010. What do you want for yourself in the New Year? How do you plan to accomplish the things you want for yourself?

Let's start with the balance between your professional life and your personal life. This goal is often high on the list of priorities for the New Year. It's difficult to keep a good personal and professional balance and many marketers strive harder to make it work with each passing year.

So how is the balance in your life? Are you struggling to keep your priorities straight and finding that one area is always overtaking the other? To keep your personal and professional lives in better balance for 2009, you will have to map out a plan for success in that area.

Because each is so important, and each actually compliments the other when balance is achieved, this should be high on your list of resolutions for your new year. Your plan could look something like this:

· Figure out what really truly matters in your life. Look at both your professional life and your personal life and take time to consider what's really most important in each. What are your goals for each one?

· Take time to see how your personal and professional goals fit together in your life and then look at where you may need to make adjustments. Are there things that you need to let go of in order to accommodate something else? How can this be achieved?

· Find ways to protect both your work time and your personal time. Each is vitally important to balance, so you need to find ways to keep them from overlapping onto each other.

· Get help. If you're feeling overwhelmed with either part of your life, you might want to consider getting some help. In your personal life, can you delegate some chores? In your professional life, consider hiring someone to help you with your work - perhaps a virtual assistant or freelance service provider.

In working to make your personal and professional lives more balanced in 2010, you will have to set up a plan and then work it through. Take each step of the plan and be realistic about what your needs and goals are. You don't have to achieve perfect balance on the first day. The goal is to achieve a more balanced life throughout the year.

What about the rest of your goals for being better in 2010? Are you hoping to get involved in some joint ventures? Do you want to expand your business? You will need to map out a plan for yourself to achieve these goals, too.

For example, let's say you're looking to make money online by achieving some profitable joint venture partnerships in 2010. This is a worthy goal because you'll make more money and enhance your reputation.

Maybe instead of stating a New Year's resolution such as, "I want to be involved in successful joint ventures in 2009," you could begin mapping out your plan of how to do just that. Your plan could start out by spelling out your goal in detail, such as:

In the year 2010, I will participate in a minimum of two highly profitable joint venture partnerships with _________ and _________.

Then you could outline how you intend to get involved with others for a joint venture, then make a list of goals to reach leading up to your ultimate goal-the joint venture-is achieved.

If you've struggled in the past to find joint ventures, then you might have goals that include doing things to increase your visibility in the market and to become better known. Activities such as social networking, submitting quality articles to directories, aggressive blogging, and participating on groups and forums could all be a part of your plan.

Keep this plan visible so that you don't let it fall by the wayside, only to find yourself wondering where the year went when December 31 rolls around. When working to improve yourself and your business, whether at the beginning of a year or whenever, you don't have to go through the process of making resolutions and then not keeping them.

Instead, when you find yourself pondering what you'd like the New Year to bring in terms of a better you, resolve to set goals that are attainable and that lead to bigger goals. Take time to map out a plan that you can follow through with, even if it's a plan that will take the entire year to complete.

A better year and a better you will mean a more balanced life. The parts of your life should complement rather than compete with each other. Take some time to give thought to what balance will mean to you and then take action to achieve it.

Work to continue improving your business, whatever that means to you. It may mean creating a stronger brand for yourself and setting goals or mapping out a master plan. It might mean making meaningful contacts.

The most successful people in life and in business aren't afraid to take a good look at what's working, what isn't, and what they would like to improve upon. The New Year is a very appropriate time to think about your goals and desires and to design a way for you to achieve those.