Happy New Year! Are you setting goals for 2008? Before you begin, the most important decision you may make is determining which goals from 2007 to keep and which ones to dump.

Have you ever set a goal and not completed it? If so, are you still hanging onto that goal or have you let it go? If you would like to achieve what is really important to you as well as create more space and time in your life, now is an ideal time to begin by cleaning your slate of old goals.

There are many reasons for letting go of goals you haven’t yet achieved. For example, you may have had the goal of losing 10 pounds. This goal may be something you carried for the last five years. The energy you spent feeling guilty about the foods you eat, discussing how you need to go on a diet, and condemning yourself for not taking action, could be diverted into achieving other important goals. Letting go of unachieved goals allows new energy and new opportunities to come into your life. It also makes it easier to take action because the energy wasted on old goals is now free to be used elsewhere.

As you select your goals for 2008, identifying what matters is critical. After cleaning your slate, identify the three or four most important aspects of your life as well as what gives your life meaning. What can you not live without? The answers to these questions represent your core needs and values. Thus, when you write your goals for 2008, do so with the idea of bringing your goals into alignment with your core needs and values. Be creative and focus on activities that feel right for you.

Here are six additional strategies to help you set and achieve your goals for 2008.

1. Clean out your goal list completely: List each of the goals that you had for 2007. No matter how much you have done to reach the goal, declare each goal to be complete. Next, clean the slate by burning your goal list in the fireplace, burying it in the backyard, or ripping up the list and tossing it in the trash. Be creative. Cleaning out your list of goals opens the door for new things to come into your life.

2. Reduce the size of your goal list: How many goals did you declare “complete” from 2007? When you set your goals for 2008, reduce the size of your goal list by at least 50 percent. If you find yourself resisting this strategy, determine the percentage of goals that you actually set and achieved. Setting too many goals reduces your overall success since your energy is scattered in too many directions. In contrast, keeping your energy focused on achieving two or three core goals increases your probability of success. Once you reach or discard your current goals, add new ones.

3. Identify the top five activities that worked for you in 2008: Be specific. Continue these activities in 2008 because they work. They also form the foundation upon which to create your new goals for the upcoming year.

4. Eliminate at least one activity that doesn’t support you to feel great: Whether it’s eating a chocolate bar when you’re depressed or running late for an appointment, these short-term behaviors have long-term consequences, the most serious of which is guilt. The way to eliminate detrimental short-term behaviors is to ask, “Does this choice support me in the long term?” If not, choose differently.

5. Focus on process rather than outcome: Rather than focusing on the end goal, focus on what you need to accomplish at a given moment in time or in a specific day. This greatly increases your likelihood of success. Also, if you miss hitting your goal for today, you can start with a clean slate tomorrow.

6. Baby steps over time result in major changes: Lao Tzu said, “A journey of 10,000 miles begins with a single step.” The behaviors you engage in today are a result of consistent steps over time. Thus, the way to achieve new goals is to apply the same strategy. Take small steps over a period of time. For example, instead of setting a goal to save $10,000, identify small steps you can take to reach that goal. In this case, you could use coupons at the grocery store. Place the money you save into your bank account. The same thing is true for eliminating negative behaviors. Rather than tackling everything you want to change at once, choose one positive goal to implement and one behavior you would like to eliminate. Complete these two goals before working on anything else on your list. This will reduce your stress as well as making it easier to create long term, sustainable change.

Bernice Ross, national speaker and CEO of Realestatecoach.com, is the author of “Waging War on Real Estate’s Discounters” and “Who’s the Best Person to Sell My House?” Both are available online. She can be reached at bernice@realestatecoach.com or visit her blog at www.LuxuryClues.com.


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