About this time of year, a lot of us are asking ourselves the same questions: Where do you want to be a year from now? What projects do you want to complete? Are there habits you want to break and others you want to begin?

The start of a new year is a great time to take stock of your life and do some serious goal-setting and planning. However, a resolution without a plan isn't a whole lot better than a daydream.

Here's how you can plan your year to make the most of 2017.

Look Back Before You Look Forward

Chances are, you may have asked yourself some of these same questions at the turn of the year in 2016. Before you dive into plans for the coming year, it's helpful to look back and reflect on what you accomplished and what you didn't. Take a moment to appreciate all that you got done and reflect on what you didn't — and why.

By identifying successes and obstacles of the past year you can strategize more effectively for the year ahead. If you don't have a record of last year's goals, make sure to write them down this year!

Put it on Paper

A good way to visualize the big picture for the coming year is to put it on paper first. Art Biz Coach Alyson Stanfield suggests using a horizontal timeline to better grasp the time commitments you have in the coming year.

A blank wall and some sticky notes are a great starting point to implement an easily modifiable timeline of the year. If you want to get advanced with it, firm deadlines can be in one color, broader goals another, and project benchmarks another. Once you have it on the wall, move it into a calendar or your Artwork Archive schedule.

Be Realistic

The most important part of any plan is to be realistic. If you set yourself an unrealistic goal all you're doing is making a commitment to let yourself down sometime in the future. Don’t set yourself up for failure before you even begin!

When in doubt, give yourself a little more time than you'll need to accomplish something. This is good for time management and feels like a victory when you get it done ahead of time.

Set Small, Concrete Goals

Year-long goals can be daunting in their scope, so try and break them down into more manageable chunks. Instead of "network with local galleries to grow my business," try "have 6 finished pieces for gallery review by April."

From there, break down the steps you need into even smaller goals. Instead of buying materials in a frenzy on deadline, get them ahead of time and you’ll have the satisfaction of checking off that box. A lot of these smaller goals should be what are known as ‘leading actions,’ which is something you do in the short-term to make long-term, complex objectives more manageable.

Hold Yourself Accountable

In order to accomplish these concrete goals, you'll need to hold yourself accountable. That doesn't mean berating yourself for missing a goal, it means taking the time now to give yourself the tools you need to remember and accomplish those goals.

A little legwork on the front end will have a snowballing impact on your productivity the rest of the year.

Make sure to put your goals and projects on a calendar or in your Artwork Archive schedule. Just the act of putting things into a tentative start-of-year schedule will help you better remember what you’re setting out to do.

Reward Yourself

Often, the stress of something left undone can hinder your ability to get other things done. And, the opposite is also true: Associating joy and gratitude with task-completion can enhance your ability to get more done and feel better about what you’ve accomplished.

This step is about more than using a “carrot” to motivate yourself. When you take time for insight and to appreciate what you've accomplished, you're connecting productivity with a reward. Positivity is a potent productivity tool!

Get a head start on your art business goals for 2017 right now using Artwork Archive’s powerful organizing and productivity tools.