How to Set Useful New Years Resolutions (And My Personal Goals for 2014)

Like almost every other person in America, I like to set goals or create New Years resolutions at the end of each year.

Sure nothing really changes when the calendar tips over from December 31st to January 1. It could make just as much sense to start over on May 7th.

But you can’t deny the fact that mentally, there’s something about the new year that makes us want to change.

That’s why this is such a good time to set goals. Because any other time of the year you might want to make a change, but you don’t have the proper catalyst to get out of your bad habits and actually make something happen.

On New Years you’ve probably been eating like crap for the last month, not been as focused at work, and not hitting the gym as regularly as you should be.  The new year represents an end to all of that, and a “back to the grind” mentality that can make it easier to focus on the positive aspects of your life.

So personally, that’s why I use this time of year as my catalyst for a change.

You’re going to see hundreds of posts like this one out there over the next couple weeks – so feel free to ignore this if you don’t resonate with it.

Unlike most of the posts on Location 180 throughout the year, these review posts have been more for me than you. By publicly acknowledging my failures, recognizing my successes, and committing to goals – I’m more likely to actually stick with them.

So here is my process for setting new years goals.

My Four Step Process for Goal Setting

Step 1: Be Honest With Yourself About What You Really Want

This is incredibly important. If you’re not honest with yourself about this, the rest doesn’t really matter. If getting in shape isn’t really important to you, and you’re just making that goal because you feel like you should – then be aware of that.  Because if you don’t truly want to make that happen, it won’t.

To get started write down 3-5 things you really want. This should not be money related. We’ll set financial goals after we know why you need the money – which is what this exercise is for.

For me personally, here are a few of the things I’d really like to achieve in 2014:

  1. I want to help more people quit their jobs and build successful businesses.
  2. I want to play more golf.
  3. I want to get a six-pack. 
  4. I want to buy a house.

Step 2: Understand the Why Behind These Goals

Creating goals is meaningless if you don’t know why you’re doing it. So for the things you want, really put some thought into why you want them – and write that down.

The things I really want in 2014 that I’ve listed above may not seem that important,  but when you write down the why it begins to make more sense.

Here’s mine:

  1. I want to help more people quit their jobs and build successful businesses. Why? Because that’s the most exciting part about what I do. Occasionally I get asked “how am I changing the world?” I tell them I help to make people happier, and I do that by helping them build more freedom through a lifestyle business.
  2. I want to play more golf. Why? I can’t say I’ve ever really had a passion in life before. I’ve had a lot of hobbies and interests, but nothing that I’d ever call a passion. Over the last 2 years, golf has become as close to this as I’ve ever been. There are so many aspects about it that I enjoy: travel, meeting new people, personal challenge, and retreat are all reasons that I want to continue to play more and get better.
  3. I want to get a six-pack. Why? I’ve worked a lot over the last few years, and like I said in one of my recap posts, I’ve ignored healthy habits.  The biggest reminder of this, is the slight gut that I’ve begun to develop as my metabolism has slowed down and I eat and drink more. Getting that under control is a great indicator of overall health in my mind.
  4. I want to buy a house. Why? This will be a shocker to many of you, but after 5 years of living in a 485 square foot condo with my girlfriend Tate, I’m finally ready to commit to something bigger. Oh man, to have an office?! That would be amazing. I still plan to travel 3-4 months out of the year, but having more space and making a long term investment is something that is a really good fit for me right now.

So now that I know what I really want for 2014, I can begin making more specific goals based on what is going to help me achieve these 4 things. So let’s look at each of these “wants” individually and from there create goals or resolutions that will get me there.

Step 3: Set Actionable and Measurable Goals For Each “Want”

In this section I’m going into detail about my goals for the year. If you don’t care about that, feel free to skip to the bottom for the last step in my process.

Want 1: “I Want to Help More People Quit Their Jobs and Build Successful Businesses”

This is something I’ve continued to do more of over the last few years, but 2014 is the year that I really want to take this to the next level.

This is crucially important, because doing this successfully will also enable me to get some of the other things I want.

Historically the best way I’ve been able to do this is to get people inside Location Rebel. The blog can give tips or tactics, but people don’t usually take action until 1) It’s made very easy and clear what they need to do and 2) They’ve invested something monetarily to hold them accountable.

So how do we make this a tangible goal?

This year we saw somewhere in the neighborhood of 250 people sign up for Location Rebel. I’d like to double that next year.

2014 Goal #1: Get 500 new people inside Location Rebel

We’ve been working hard to make it even more useful for members and are taking things learned from the most successful people in the community and updating content to reflect things that are actually working right now.

So now that we have a tangible size goal, how are we going to get there?

Historically, the best form of growth for this site has been doing targeted guest posts.  The problem in 2013? I hardly did any. Maybe 5…maybe.

This is where I fell back into maintenance mode and kept the business stable, but wasn’t actively growing it. This needs to change in 2014.

So I want to step out of my comfort zone and provide more content to people outside the Location 180 realm, and bring them in.

2014 Goal #2: Do 25 guest posts on other blogs

I’d love to say 52, but I want to be realistic and set attainable goals. 25 is a solid number, and if I’m doing them on the right websites, this will have a tremendous impact on my business.

How else can I get more people to my website and get more people inside Location Rebel?

This can be summed up in one word: webinars.

I’ve introduced quite a few other people to my audience for webinars in the past couple years. They’re great because they can provide a lot of value for free to the people who want to listen, and if there’s a product to buy at the end then the people who want more help can get it, and myself and the other publisher can get paid in the process. Win/Win/Win.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Doing these scare me. Getting on calls and figuring out how to sell people on a product without doing it in a sleazy way and making everyone on the call happy is a fine art. I haven’t spent much time learning it because it’s terrifying. Time to face my fears and make a change this next year.

If I can get this down, I think it can be the single biggest driver of growth in my audience size and membership for the year.

2014 Goal #3: Do 12 Webinars to Other People’s Lists

Finally in order to get 500 people in Location Rebel I’m going to need to do a better job of optimizing my sales funnel. To put it simply, most of it was created over 2 years ago, and hasn’t gotten a full revamp in, well, ever.

In keeping it with the theme of the webinars, the whole funnel should be useful for people who don’t want to pay anything, yet enticing enough to get the people who want to take their new lifestyle seriously, to buy.

It’s a delicate balance, and one I’ve put off for a long time. This isn’t quite as tangible as the other 3 goals, but I’ll know it’s working by the number of people who join.

2014 Goal #4: Completely Revamp the Location Rebel and Location 180 Autoresponder and Sales Funnel

So if I do goals 2-4, then I’ll be able to achieve goal 1 which will ultimately get me what I want: To help more people quit their jobs and build successful businesses.

Want 2: “I Want to Play More Golf”

This has been one of the biggest and most enjoyable changes of my life this year.  Before 2013 I’d played a round of golf outside of my home state, maybe 5 times in my life.

This year alone I played nearly two dozen rounds, in 6 states.

In March I set a goal to play both the Top 100 Public Courses and the Top 100 Courses  in the United States by the time I was 35. When I started I’d played 1.

Now I’ve played 20/100 top public courses and 11/100 top courses.

Later in the summer I decided I wanted to add the Top 100 Courses in the World by the time I was 40. I’m currently at 8/100.

Looking back these numbers are pretty amazing to me, but what’s more important is simply how much I enjoyed doing it.

Most people who have goals like this are double my age, retired, and have been waiting their whole life to do it. I figure, why wait?

I really want to keep the momentum on these goals going, so I need tangible goals for making this happen.

2014 Goal #5: Play 15 Top 100 Public and 10 Top 100 Courses

One thing about this goal is it’s really difficult, and really expensive to play some of the Top 100. Most are private and you have to know someone if you want any chance of getting on the course.  The public ones might be expensive, but you can at least get on. I think the majority of the Top 100 will be played in a couple years as I’ve made more progress and met more people who can help me along the way.

I already have plans to play 4 courses in January, so I need to continue planning ahead if I want this to be a reality.

2014 Goal #6: Break 80.

I’ve built an entire brand called Breaking Eighty, yet I’ve never done it myself. I broke 85 for the first time this year, and even had an 82.  But if I’m going to reach this goal, I need to continue practicing and making the most of my time on the course.

One final golf related goal that will ensure I get the second thing I want next year is to have a set number of rounds.

In 2012 I said I wanted to play 75 rounds – I played around 35.

In 2013 I said I wanted to play 75 rounds – I’ve played 74, and will go play one more this week just to make sure I get there!

In 2014 I want to play….yep, 75 rounds.

2014 Goal #7: Play 75 rounds of golf

Why not go higher? Because I played 75 this year, and feel like I played a lot of golf. If I end up playing more? Great. But I also think that if I play too many more than that I’ll distract myself too much from my primary “want” for the year which is to grow the business by helping more people get what they want.

Want 3: “I Want to Get a Six Pack”

I think this has been on every goal setting list I’ve had for the last few years.

The difference? Before it was kind of one of those “oh, that’d be nice” goals.

I didn’t really care either way.

This year I’ve seen a physical change in my body and it’s not something I’m happy about.

I have all the freedom in the world in terms of lifestyle and time flexibility, yet I don’t take advantage of it in the way I should.

Like I said, I have other goals of creating more healthy habits, but I think if I’m doing those things, it’s the change in my stomach that will really allow me to track my progress.

2014 Goal #8: Go to the Gym 3 Days a Week

Sure that’s a pretty generic goal. But it’s also not very difficult to do and not overly ambitious.

This year I’m also planning to do a much better job of public goal tracking and accountability -so I think that will go a long way.

I golf a lot but it’s also admittedly not the best workout – so the biggest challenge will be spending some time at the gym instead of hitting the course.

But most of us know that going the gym and spending focused times on exercises designed to help me with that six-pack is probably 20% of what will get me there, the rest is diet.

Where we live it’s usually cheaper (or at least similar in price) to go to happy hour than it is to eat at home.

However, this year I really want to make an effort to cook more and make healthier things on my own.

I hope to be doing a lot more of this, but for now in sticking with the idea of “attainable goals”:

2014 Goal #9: Make at Least One Healthy Meal a Week at Home

Want 4: “I Want to Buy a House”

Now this is the big one. This would represent the biggest lifestyle change I’ve made in years – and may come as a surprise to a lot of you.

But let me take a second and explain why this is something I’m thinking about.

First off, Tate and I live in 485 square feet. Granted, it’s a well laid out 485 square feet, but put two people in there, and one who works from home and you have the recipe for a very cramped space.

There are all kinds of “digital nomads” out there who travel full time. For me, I’ve found that traveling 3-4 months out of the year is perfect. I’ll usually take 2 big trips a year that are 3-4 weeks long, but much of the time I’m at home in Portland living a pretty normal life.

Having a house would be a game changer for so many reasons:

  • I can have a dedicated home office that would be my space.
  • Room to shoot videos
  • Room to exercise at home
  • Be able to host people or have parties
  • Tax-write off

I could go on and on, but I’ve just decided that 2014 is going to be a good year to make this happen. I’m sure I’ll write more about it as I get closer to making it happen, but my friend Tyler did write a good thought provoking article on the benefits of home ownership.

So how do I make this happen?

Well first, the organization for my finances needs to be cleaned up. It’s not terrible, but could be much better.

2014 Goal #10: Tag, Categorize, and Reconcile Accounts in Outright on a Weekly Basis

Doing this will help to make sure there are no surprises during the buying process, or unexpected expenses at tax time.

One of the scariest things about this goal for me is the amount of monthly overhead this will bring into my life.  Right now my monthly expenses are extremely low, and for someone who’s income can fluctuate from month to month, the idea of taking on a BIG monthly expense is pretty scary.

However, this is good for a number of reasons.

I’ve found at times I can get a little bit too comfortable in my situation, which leads to not pushing myself.  It’s when your back is up against the wall that the biggest leaps forward tend to happen – so having a house is something that will shake me up a little bit and make sure that I’m not resting on my laurels.

What tangible goal do I need to have in order to make sure I’m not stressed about a mortgage?

2014 Goal #11: Earn Over $250,000

Man just writing that seems scary, however I reached my goal of making six figures this year, so if I work a little bit harder at developing the right systems, and continue to provide tangible value to readers, I think this number is well within reach.

Step 4: Increase Personal Accountability

This is the final step of my goal setting process.

In past years, I’ve posted goals at the beginning of the year, and to be honest, with the exception of a select few I’ve forgotten all about them by April.

So this year, I want to do something a little bit different and add in an accountability factor.

On the bottom of my site in the footer, you’ll see a new link labeled “2014 Goals”. I’ll be posting my progress throughout the year on each goal, so if you’re ever wondering if I’m actually sticking to it – you can find out there.

If you find that I’m not, feel free to shoot me an email and let me hear it :)

If you don’t have a blog or website, you can do something similar by telling as many people as possible what your goals are for the year. Send all your friends an email with your goals, and see if anyone has an interest in being your accountability partner. I can’t begin to tell you how valuable this has been when I’ve had one.

So, What Are Your Goals?

There you have it, my primary goals for 2014. Sure I have a few other things I’d like to do, like shoot more video, record an album (#34 on the bucket list), or travel to 5 new countries – but if I can do the things that I’ve laid out in this article, then I know I’m ultimately going to get what I want most.

So what do you want? What goals do you need to accomplish to get what you want, and how are you personally going to add in accountability to make sure you achieve the change you’ve desired a reality in 2014.

Let us know you’re ONE biggest goal for the new year in the comments. I’d love to hear them.

OH, and P.S.

On New Years Day, I’ll be doing an extremely special promotion for Location Rebel. I only do something similar to this twice per year, so if you’ve been thinking of joining and want to start making progress on your 2014 goals – then I highly recommend you check it out. Sign up for our mailing list below to make sure you have all the details.

Image Credit: Fireworks from Big Stock.

James December 27, 2013 at 10:03 am

Great goals Sean. But speaking from experience, it’s going to take more than three days a week at the gym and one healthy meal to get a true six pack. You have to eat extremely healthy and workout five or six days a week (not all abs of course) to make that happen. Check out what Joel Runyon did with his six pack case study at Impossible HQ.

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Sean December 27, 2013 at 10:08 am

Yeah I completely agree with you. My hope is that I can start making the transition by setting more attainable goals, and then as they turn into a habit really push the six pack later in the year as I’ve already created some healthy habits.

Yeah Joel is a good friend of mine, and I remember the Impossible Abs stuff – really cool. May need to get him on the phone :)

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Jen Brentano December 27, 2013 at 10:22 am

My ONE biggest goal… publish my book. I’ve written the first draft, landed on the title of it and now I’m in the rewrite process. There are a few other goals (I prefer intentions) that I’m focusing on, but that’s my biggest. Cheers to 2014!!

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Sean December 27, 2013 at 10:26 am

That’s a good intention if I’ve ever heard one :) Make sure to keep me posted on the progress!

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Jack Shone December 27, 2013 at 5:32 pm

Interesting to see your goals Sean, I hope you achieve them all! The one goal I really want to achieve this year, although it’s probably not the hardest of them all, is to carry on my blog through the whole year, I’m really motivated to get going with it and hope it’s a lasting hobby. as I see so many people enjoying doing it.

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Sean December 27, 2013 at 5:40 pm

Jack, you’d be surprised how hard that can be. The vast majority of the people I talk to don’t follow through with it after the first few months – so keep it up and good luck!

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Caelan December 30, 2013 at 2:44 pm

That’s a nice set of goals, Sean. I really like how you lay out action steps for each goal, too – that puts you at the head of the pack, right away. Most people make goals as a ‘nice to have’ declaration, instead of an ‘end to this concrete action plan I just made.’

If you want a six pack, I’d recommend getting 8 Minute Abs on your phone. Schedule it into your task manager, once a day. It makes a great break between periods of peak productivity during your workday.

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Kat December 30, 2013 at 7:25 pm

Yeah I’m doing a similar post on my website as well about my goals for 2014, but I am calling mine my YOLO list. I will be turning 30 next year so I plan on being YOLO and accomplishing my #1 goal, to quit my job, and my #2 goal, to payoff my school debt.

By the way, I really enjoyed your case studies on youtube. Really gave me an extra sense of motivation for the new year. Time put my location rebel membership into use. lol

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Adrian January 1, 2014 at 3:04 am

Hey Sean,
Well my BIGGEST goal is to start my SEO freelancing business from Thailand ! I fly there on January 4 to stay for at least 3 months wjile trying to get it off the ground :) Excited. And of course build up the blog a lot more, visit more countries etc etc…
Thanks for all the advice you’ve given me via email over the last few weeks !

Adrian

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Jan Koch January 2, 2014 at 8:06 am

Hey Sean,
great goals that you’ve set! 500 new members for Location Rebel is ambitious, but with the strategy you laid out and your big name in the game, it should be possible ;-)

My main goal for 2014 is to live a life without worrying about money. It’s the first year I’m selfemployed and I want / need to generate a steady flow of income. I’m going to do that by focusing on one project per quarter and make that thing work before starting something new. For the first 3 months I’ll build a dropshipping business that I’m also using as public case study on my blog to get clients for coaching.

I’m really looking forward to crush 2014 and I’m curious whether you’ll achieve your goals!

Cheers,
Jan

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Richard January 2, 2014 at 5:43 pm

Hey Sean,

This was a great post. Actually for my last post (17 Things Every Entrepreneur Needs To Do To Prepare For 2014) I just referred my readers to this post for the goal setting section.

Billy from Forever Jobless also wrote a killer post on setting goals you should check out.

http://www.abetterlemonadestand.com/17-things-every-entrepreneur-needs-prepare-for-the-new-year/

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Chas January 5, 2014 at 1:13 pm

” New Year’s eve is like every other night; there is no pause in the march of the universe, no breathless moment of silence among created things that the passage of another twelve months may be noted; and yet no man has quite the same thoughts this evening that come with the coming of darkness on other nights. ”
~ Hamilton Wright Mabie.
I would love to join Location Rebel, but, to be brutally honest, I just don’t have the funds. Smaug is raising his head in the form of Student Loan debt, and I know I already thanked you in an e-mail for the interview with Stephanie Halligan and pointing the way to the Empowered Dollar, but, I wish to thank you again, here. Her story is inspiring, and hopefully I will be able to figure out a way to smite the dragon. Thanks again, for all your help.

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Kathy @ SMART Living 365.com January 5, 2014 at 5:48 pm

Hi Sean! I just found your website after reading that you are one of the Top Self-Improvement Blogs for 2014! Congratulations! And you have done an excellent job explaining how important goals are and how clear each of us needs to be to really experience them in our lives. It is pretty easy for us all to say what we think we want but it takes digging to outline all the steps it will take to get us there. Good job. One thing I might offer as advice to your # 4 goal about buying a house is a post I wrote myself that you might find helpful…it is: http://smartliving365.com/seven-smart-and-safe-tips-for-buying-a-new-home/ Thanks again for an excellent goal setting article….I look forward to seeing them all unfold for you in the coming year. ~Kathy

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Scott Asai January 6, 2014 at 9:30 pm

Thanks for sharing your goals for 2014 Sean. Personally I’ve used this app called irunurun and it’s great. It reminds me daily of my weekly goals and gives me an end score on Sunday night. I can change my goals before Sunday for the following week. It takes the thinking out of goal achievement and actually shifts you towards creating good habits. As for my big goal for 2014, it’s changing my client target market to coaching lifestyle entrepreneurs , focusing on Santa Monica. I worked with a coach recently and I was challenged to coach people like me. I’m not motivated by money, but freedom/flexibility of schedule so I hope to work with people who value similar things I do. I also went away from a monthly subscription model to pay per session. It’s a little scary, but I don’t ever want to live with regrets. I can live with failure. I just can’t live without trying. I’m going to try a combination of offline & online marketing and see what sticks. I’m excited about the possibilities and hope to make big strides in my business in 2014!

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Dave January 12, 2014 at 11:43 am

Great stuff Sean, I love how you break each goal down into more actionable goals to make it happen. The worst thing you can do is be too general. I make sure to auto email myself my yearly goals once a month to make sure I’m on track.

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