December Ask Jack Call: Year End Goals Assessment & Homework

Writing in JournalDuring my December Ask Jack Call, Katie asked me the following question: “With the year coming to an end, I am anticipating a fresh start in January. Is there a process to cleanse myself and prepare for setting new goals?” And Nathan asked: “The deadlines for my 2010 goals are approaching, and I feel like I have not achieved much this year. How can I keep myself from feeling discouraged?”

This is a common problem that people who set goals often face at the end of the year. If they don’t achieve all of the goals they have set at the beginning of the year, they feel like they have failed. Their self-esteem takes a hit, they become disheartened and discouraged, their motivation drops, and some people actually become depressed.

The reason is they are focusing on what didn’t happen rather than what did happen. They are focusing on what they lack (certain accomplishments that didn’t happen) rather than on what they have (the things they did experience and accomplish). This is a very subtle mental trap that leads to a host of negative consequences, not the least of which is the attraction of more lack. The key is to acknowledge, appreciate and celebrate what you did accomplish, and then to refocus on the goals that you still want to achieve.

One of the techniques that we use every year in the last session of our Platinum Inner Circle Mastermind Group to focus on all the successes we had during the year is a very detailed “Win List”. Its purpose is to help us focus on all of the wins we had that didn’t necessarily start as a written goal or intention. Too often, we only focus on what we wrote down in January, and fail to appreciate all of the other successes—large and small—that we had during the year.

So here’s the technique. Set aside half an hour and make a list of all the wins you had during the year. Start by listing any goals that you did achieve. Then write down everything you can think of in the following categories:

  • Any wins or progress in the arena of business?
  • Did you stop an old product or develop a new product or product line?
  • Did you identify a new market to focus on?
  • Did you create a new marketing piece or campaign?
  • Did you delegate some task in order to become more productive?  (…including new staff and assistants you now have, such as a housekeeper, executive assistant, gardener, errand runner, babysitter, child care person, or any new system you put in place.)?
  • New technology that you bought, used or learned to use (including mental, emotional or spiritual technology as well as mechanical, electronic and digital technology)?
  • Time spent in nature?
  • Habits developed (meditation, exercise, sleep, gratitude) or overcame (addiction to alcohol, caffeine, sugar, video games, porn, gambling, shopping)?
  • Progress or Accomplishment in:


               -Presentations or speeches

               -Abilities, skills and competence in certain areas

               -Financial income, investments or debt reduction?

              -Your relationships (business or personal)

              -The area of personal self-development?

             - Positive events (seminars, lectures, concerts, theater, sports) attended?

              -Positive events with your family?

              -Positive events in your house or apartment?

              -Wins on trips and vacation?

              -New positive additions to your life?

              -Positive events in your community?

              -Positive events in your spiritual life (church services, meditation, retreats, rituals)

              -Positive events in regards to letting go (bad habits, negative people, clutter)

              -Wins in Health and Fitness (weight, exercise, cholesterol, sports, endurance)

If you take the time to seriously sit down and make a list of all your wins, planned and unplanned, large and small, this will help you feel much better about your progress.

Appreciation BreathingAppreciation Breathing

I also taught a technique on the call that I learned from the people at the HeartMath Institute. They call it Attitude Breathing™. I like to refer to it as Gratitude Breathing or Appreciation Breathing. I promised I would post the directions for this simple but powerful technique for quickly and effortlessly transforming your state of being into a more peaceful, joyful and creative one. It is impossible to stay in a bad mood (discouragement, resentment, worry, anxiety or fear) if you do this exercise for several minutes. I recommend it as a great way to start your day and as a great exercise to do prior to the “My Wins” Exercise which we just covered above.

Here are the directions:

1.  Focus on your physical heart to help pull your energy and attention out of your mind. Take a slow breath in (I do a slow count of 1-2-3-4-5-6), and imagine the air is flowing into your body through the area of your heart. Then release your breath slowly. As you breathe out, focus on your solar plexus (below the rib cage near the stomach), as this helps with grounding your energies.

2.  Practice Breathing in through the heart and out through the solar plexus of 30 seconds to a minute to help anchor your energy and attention there.

3.  Next, focus on a person, place or thing that you are truly grateful for in your life (really feel the feeling of appreciation as deeply as you can), and then breathe that feeling in through your heart and out through your solar plexus for a minute or more. I find that the longer I do it, the more powerful the effect.

4.  Finally, you can imagine filling your heart like an expanding balloon with the feeling of appreciation, almost as if you were creating a storage tank full of appreciation that you can draw upon as they day goes on. Just imagine that with each breath in, your heart is filling up more and more fully with the feeling of appreciation.

While this exercise is simple, short and easy to do, its effects are very powerful. Stop reading and try it now for a few minutes. Then copy and print these directions. Use them every day until you no longer need to look at the directions.

Homework from my December Ask Jack Call

In order to complete 2010 and prepare for 2011, I am asking you to take the following action steps. This will prepare you for the January Ask Jack Call and the video seminar on Goal Setting that I will be doing as part of our new Jack Canfield Community.

1.  Using the My Wins process described above list 40 wins or accomplishments for the year 2010.

2.  Write down 10 goals that you want to accomplish in 2011. Remember, they don’t have to be huge or monumental, and they can come from any area of your life—job and career, relationships, financial, health and fitness, fun and recreation, travel, personal and spiritual growth, possessions, experiences you want to have, and contribution and service.

3.  List the first three action steps you could take for each of the 10 goals. These do not have to be big or hard, just steps that get you into motion. Preferably these should be steps that are impossible to fail at. For example, if your goal is to learn to play the guitar, three action steps you could take that you could not fail at would be to 1) go to the guitar store or music store, and tell them you are interested in buying a guitar, and would like some guidance on picking the right guitar for your needs. You don’t need to purchase one that day; just get some information. 2) Ask them who a good guitar would be and contact that person to see if they have any available time for a new student and what their fee is for lessons. 3) You could conduct some on-line research about DVD home study courses for guitar lessons. These actions will get you into momentum in the direction of learning to play the guitar.

I hope this gets you off to a good start on completing 2010 and ramping up for 2011. I look forward to seeing you on a future call. Remember, you can always send in a question on any of this by going to

Have a happy holiday season!