01/10/2013 05:48 pm ET Updated Mar 12, 2013

Befriending Your Dilemmas and Setting Goals for the New Year

The beginning of a new year fuels all of us. We are left feeling good after the holidays. We see January 1st as the beginning of a new chapter. Many of us set resolutions while others no longer believe in resolutions. Some of you reading this now might be thinking about how to "be better" in your strategic approach to life. In fact, the start of a new year is a great time to figure out how to elevate your game and play in a way that helps you achieve your desired results. One of the motivating factors that can help you take action is to define and befriend your current and past dilemmas. Behind your dilemmas lie hidden gems to be uncovered: your new external goals. Following them can launch you in a whole new direction. In the past, when faced with dilemmas, your dreams had to take a back seat. By befriending your dilemmas, I'm going to show you how you can follow a new road map that will lead you in an even stronger direction. And I'm going to help you do this with a few tools from the story world.

A good story starts when the main character is faced with a dilemma; that is to say, our hero or heroine is put between a rock and a hard place and has to make a choice where neither option is easy. The external goal for the story stems from this place. Our protagonist faces obstacles, escalating obstacles, an "all is lost" moment and ultimately, she accomplishes her goal. What if you could do the same thing in your life? Well, you can.

Let's start with your dilemmas. What are some of the biggest dilemmas you've faced in your life? Did you ever want to achieve something by a certain age only to find that your initial timeline past and, now older, you must figure out how to attain that goal in a different way? Did you lose a job? Did you get a divorce? Were you betrayed? Crazy as it sounds, all of these are tremendous starting points for attaining your goals. I can say that with certainty because these points describe moments in my story that led me to face each dilemma and make a choice. My external goals sprung up from the choices I made. The accomplishment of my external goals led to my success today. I'm happy to say I created my success on my own terms. I want you to do the same through befriending your dilemmas and seeing them as a valuable starting point for your story.

So, let's delve a little deeper. Write down five dilemmas you've faced this year or in the past where the goal that stemmed from each dilemma is still unfulfilled. What are those goals? What are the stakes? In other words, what is the worst that can happen if you do not achieve those goals? Think of the internal or emotional costs as well as the external or physical costs. Perhaps what you've learned by facing obstacles to your goals in the past have led you to a stronger place of wisdom to achieve these goals in the present.

Now I want you to write five story arcs for your life. In each story arc, imagine you are the hero/heroine. In each arc, plan out the following road map for your journey: starting dilemma, external goal that stems from your choice, taking action towards the goal, obstacles you anticipate facing, actual obstacles you face, moving through your "all is lost" moment and finally, accomplishing your goal. In each arc I want you to actually visualize the goal being achieved. I want you to write down the things you think you will face as you stare down your obstacles. This is often what is holding you back. If you can write down what you think these things are, you diminish their power over your life. If you see them as inevitable bumps in the road to a desired result, you will manifest them.

We've all heard the phrase "life imitates art." That is exactly what we achieve with this technique of writing our own story arcs and achieving the external goals for each arc that we've written. It's what inspired me to write my upcoming book, Change Your Story, Change Your Life: A Path To Your Success. My goal is to teach you how to befriend your dilemmas and life turning points, and help you understand the beauty in these moments and how they can can lead you in a whole new direction in your life. This new direction can be better than anything you ever imagined. It can transform your life. When you know what you want and can define not only your goal but also your fears and anticipated obstacles, your world will open up. It all starts with setting a goal, drawing the road map that will get you there and then, taking action.