It’s very common to set resolutions at the beginning of each New Year. It’s a time when we feel a sense of renewal. A time to start fresh, start over, start anew. The proverbial “clean slate” lays before us and we have an inner desire to create a new life. And so, we set goals to create better health, better fitness, better relationships, better love, better fill-in-the-blank. We start off strong. And then, somehow, those good intentions don’t make it too far. And we wait until the next New Year’s countdown before we begin again.

May I suggest that spring is a perfect time to reignite that desire you had at the beginning of the year? Spring is a time of rebirth. The grass begins to gain its green glow, trees bud and add color to once-empty branches, and mother birds feed their young. It’s a time when the earth is renewed. We can tap into Mother Earth’s momentum and once again find the passion to reach our goals. If adoption is your focus, remember these 5 simple steps to keep you on course.

1. Keep it Small and Simple. It’s easy to want something as big as, oh, say, a newborn baby. Or perhaps a better relationship with your child’s birth family. Too often we become overwhelmed with the large end-result. So overwhelmed, in fact, we can become paralyzed and nothing gets done. It feels unattainable and so we give up or don’t even begin. There is a Japanese principle called kaizen. The idea is that taking the simplest, smallest step, can lead to big, great changes. If you break down all that needs to be done before the “big” end result, it all becomes a little more manageable.

2. Make it Measurable and Specific. If you truly want to see results, make your small and simple steps something that you can truly check off. Working on your home study paperwork? Break it down. Finish one form a day. Too much? Work on a section of one form each day. You know specifically what you have planned to do and you can do it and check it off. Wanting to have a better relationship with your son’s birth mother? Set a goal to contact her once a week. Start small, start simple, start by planning out something specific you can do and something that is measurable.

 3. Create Accountability. Tell a friend. Post a note on the fridge. Work on this with your wife/husband/partner. Your chances for success will greatly increase when you have shared your goals with others.

4. Reward Yourself. Come on! You’ve done something great! You’ve accomplished your small, simple, measureable goal. I know it may seem silly to reward yourself along the way for doing a section of a form for your home study for a week . . . BUT. . . you’ve done a section of a form for your home study for a week! And now . . . you’re nearly done! That calls for some celebration. I’m not talking about a steak at Ruth’s Chris or that Coach bag you’ve been eyeing. Just like your goals are small and simple, celebrate with a small and simple reward that gives you a little boost.

5. Watch Your Attitude. No one, and I mean no one, gets stuff done when they have a bad attitude. Or at least, they don’t get it done well. If you don’t accomplish one of your goals, follow Miss Swift and “Shake it off!” Start over. Maybe you need to reassess your small step and make it a little smaller. It’s okay. There’s no shame in adjusting our goals. We all do it. Smile and stick with it. You’ll be glad you did.

What is it that you want? Right now, it’s maybe a dream or a hope. But if you want it to become a reality, it will take a positive attitude and some work. You have the power within you to achieve success and to create your own reality. You are writing your story every single day. What do you want it to say? Remember, as Tony Robbins said, “Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.”