December 16


Planning Your Goals for the New Year

By Sara Canaday

December 16, 2013

flight plan, goals, New Year, success, tips

I’m delighted to introduce to you my friend and colleague Thom Singer as my guest blogger. Thom is known as the “The Conference Catalyst” and is an expert in branding, positioning, and networking. Thom has trained thousands of professionals in the art of building professional contacts that lead to increased business. You can learn more about Thom at
The New Year can be a time of renewal. Each January we are presented with the opportunity of a “fresh start” and the chance to look back on our victories and stumbles along the way. Creating goals for the upcoming year is a great way to customize a detailed road map of where we want to go in our personal and professional lives. Without a plan we can drift around without a clear purpose.

Yet many shy away from goals. Some fear that setting goals is just a set up for failure, but I think the opposite is true. If you were to board a plane from Los Angeles to Honolulu you would most likely want your pilot to have a flight plan. If he took the plan into the air and pointed “west” you chances for a safe landing in Hawaii might be at risk. The Pacific Ocean is big, and simply flying west into the Trade Winds would not be wise. Pilots are always making adjustments along the way to keep a plane on course for its destination, and your life should not be any different.

I have long been a goal setter, but this does not mean that I always reach them, or that I always do the right things when faced with choices. But if I did not have goals I would probably never have achieved very much. It is too easy to drift along. We need to be challenged and goals are simply a way to challenge ourselves.

5 Tips To Setting Goals For 2014

  1. Set aside the time to create a plan. When setting your goals for 2014 you must think about the realities of your personal situation. Be realistic in assessing your current situations and figure out what you desire in the New Year. Too often people make a fast list without giving real thought to what they want. Set aside an hour a day the week between Christmas and New Years to create your list. Make notes, and tweak your goals every day until you are happy with the list. You must own your goals.
  2. Be realistic. Goals are not “wishes”. Do not list things that are equal to winning a lottery, but instead make your list contain the right things. I like to use “writing a book” as an example of a realistic goal. Anyone can write a book, but to do this you must dedicate time and do the work. A book cannot write itself, and if you continuously put off doing the writing, there will never be an actual book. But if you write for an hour every day, you can (and will) have a draft in about 40 days. All goals should be able to be broken down into steps.
  3. Don’t have too many goals, (or too few). I like to have three main goals each year (although a few more is okay, too). I like to have a business goal, a personal goal, and a “soul” goal. For me, having three each year gives me the inspiration to work toward my success. I do not always achieve all of my goals(I still have 9 lbs to lose from last year, and weigh the same as I did on January 1st)…. but I have achieved more in my life than I ever would have without the focus of having written goals. You can have more things that you are working towards than the goals on your list, but having a realistic number of goals will help keep you moving the right direction.
  4. Create a goal page (and review it often). After you have identified the goal targets that will excite you to achieve in 2014, you must write them down in a way that you can review them regularly. I have a friend who uses 8.5″ x 11″ and laminates three copies. One for his office, one in his car, and the other in his SHOWER! Another friend has her goals as the wall paper on her computer. I shrink the list down to fit in my wallet so that I see my goals each time I reach for money. No matter what works for you, find a way to make your goals visible all year long.
  5. Tell others about your goals. If you have big goals that you are trying to achieve, you will have more success if you share these targets with other people. The important people in your life want to support and help you reach your goals, and they can only do this if they know what you want to achieve. Get the people in your life to be part of your support team. Success seems to come easier when you are not alone.If you have never set goals before, try it this year. Be dedicated to your efforts and review your goals constantly. You have nothing to lose, and a lot to gain from working on a goal list.

Sara Canaday

About the author

Sara began her journey working full-time while she earned an MBA. As she climbed the ladder of corporate America, she repeatedly observed a surprising phenomenon: the most successful people weren’t necessarily the ones with the highest IQ or best job skills. She recognized instead that career advancement was much more closely linked with how people applied their knowledge and talents — their capacity to collaborate, communicate, and influence others.

Today, Sara is happily fulfilling that commitment as a keynote speaker, author, and executive coach. These venues have given her the opportunity to mentor and support thousands of people in diverse situations, inspiring many of them to move from insight to action with dramatic career results.

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