February is upon us – just about the time people tend to break their well-intended New Year’s resolutions.

“Maybe next year,” they tell themselves, as they fall back into their old routine. Nothing could be worse for your business. Ask yourself, do you want to be average, do you want to be just as good as you were last year, or do you want to be great and exceed even your own goals and expectations?

If you want greatness, get yourself there with a plan. My worst fear is to play this game we call “business,” devote the best years of my life to it, and wind up mired in mediocrity throughout. Mediocrity is for those that do not plan ahead. Greatness rests with the forward-thinking strategists who always have an operating plan.

People are rarely successful by accident. One of the greatest athletes of our time is a perfect example. Muhammad Ali was a fabulous champion in the sport of boxing – but there were certainly opponents with equal or better athletic ability. What set him apart was the game plan he brought to each match. Ali studied each opponent and devised a brilliant strategy to exploit his opponent’s weaknesses and highlight his own strengths.

What boxing fan could forget the Rumble in the Jungle – Ali vs. Foreman? Foreman was younger, stronger and seemingly unbeatable. Ali knew this, so he developed and implemented a strategy that allowed him to win the match.

What is your game plan for 2007? Take the time to sit down and define what exactly it is you want to accomplish. Once you do that, work backwards – what do you need to do this year to get you where you want to be? Create a plan of attack. Set your goals for the year, the month, or even the week or day. Identify the necessary steps you need to take to reach your goals.

If your goal for 2007 is to gain 100 new clients for your practice, break that goal down by month, then even by the weeks you work in a year. If you work 40 weeks in a year, you need to gain two to three new clients every week. How are you going to do that? Come to work with a plan, and then work your plan. Be the Ali of the financial services world.

Mark it on your calendar. Procrastination can be the death of any business owner. You might have good intentions of earning a designation this year, or becoming a Registered Investment Advisor, but if the task is not scheduled on your calendar – it’s just talk. Don’t overthink what needs to be done to accomplish your goals – just do it. Get it scheduled, and do what you need to do to prepare for the goal at hand.

If you’re going to be a bear, be a grizzly. What’s the point in playing the game of “business” if you’re not in it to be ultra-successful? Don’t let your business just happen. Make it happen by giving it your best effort.

Set your goals for 2007; then create a plan of action steps to take to get you to your goals. Don’t lose sight of what you want. Ask yourself: what is your Ali-like brilliant strategy?

It’s your business. If success is what you want, then go get it. What are you waiting for?