January is a popular time to redesign your life. A clean slate. New beginnings. Fresh start. However you slice it, people have been doing this sort of thing for a long time. That’s where January comes from after all — Janus, the Roman god of gates and doorways. Anytime you see an image of Janus he has two faces, one looking back and the other looking ahead.

The only problem with January is it can become more like an endless cycle than a legitimate chance to start over and get some renewal. It that my “New Year’s Resolutions” for example are pretty much the same things year after year: get healthier, be happier, and make more money. No problems there.

But this is a bit annoying. Every year I’m rehashing the same goals. The good news is that I’m super clear about the things I value as the years go by. These things don’t change too much. The bad news is that I must be doing something wrong. Why else would I be drawing out this same exact list every time the calendar flips over?
Values are the Foundations of Goals

Obviously, I value health, happiness, and wealth. Every year, I’m concentrating on these parts of my life and finding things I don’t like and beginning the year with some goals of improving them. So what’s wrong with that? I thought you’d never ask…

The big problem here is specificity. Healthy, happy, wealthy. That sounds great and all, but how exactly does one define healthy? What does it mean to be happy? And wealthy? My ideas about all three of these things are changing all the time.

It’s a great idea to build resolutions around values — you pretty much have to do it that way if you hope to have any success at all. It’s not a great idea, though, simply to list your values as goals. Values aren’t goals. Values provide the foundation to build goals. Goals are something altogether different.
What the $#@#! is a Goal?

A goal is something you seek out that, generally speaking, has a very tangible thing going on. Usually, a goal has a “Point A to Point B” nature to it. You start somewhere without this thing you’re after and then eventually — after some effort and pushing — you end up with the thing in your possession (or something damn close to it).

For example, let’s start with something one might value and build a specific goal out of it. Let’s say I value travel. I really do, so this is a perfect example. If I want to create a goal out of traveling, then I’ll need to set an objective that I can start moving towards. Maybe my goal will be to take a trip around-the-world from Los Angeles, California across the continents and back again in the span of one year. Now we’re talkin’ goals folks!

We can break this goal down even more so we can see exactly what needs to happen in order to bring the goal to life, or to manifest it into reality. Money, time, logistics — all of these elements will need to be addressed for this to work out. If the trip will take one year, then you’ll need some way to get away from work or to manage your work remotely. If you’re going to hop from one country to the next until you make your way from one end of the globe to another, you’re going to need to plan flights, hotels, and all the other arrangements that go into good trip planning. And, of course, you’re going to need a wad of cash to make it all happen.

Things seem to get more complicated at this stage of goal-setting and goal-planning, but actually the point is to make things easier. Before, the goal was just a fantasy in your mind. But once you start unpacking it, you begin to see what’s really required. This is the essential part of reaching your goals: understanding exactly what needs to happen for the dream to transpire.

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Author's Bio: 

Jason Clegg has worked as an entrepreneur, creating and managing several web-based businesses since 2003. He is also a well known and sought after Copywriter and Internet Marketing expert with clients worldwide. By mastering online marketing methods, Jason created one of the most successful Content Marketing companies on the web today.

Today, Jason invests most of his time in educating and motivating aspiring entrepreneurs to reach their goals in business-building, lifestyle design, and personal success. This is the aim of www.JasonClegg.com — to provide highly useful resources and regularly updated information for anyone looking to find more success, greater personal freedom, and an enhanced lifestyle with entrepreneurship.

When not hard at work, Jason is traveling the world, learning new languages, reading widely, and otherwise marveling at life’s wonders.