02/03/2012 12:57 pm ET Updated Apr 04, 2012

2012: Your Best Year Yet -- What Are Your Top 10 Goals?

People who have goals achieve more results in their lives. The issue is that the majority of people don't have clearly-defined annual goals -- goals that are written down, goals that are a clear statement of your top priorities for the coming year. The things that matter most to you. Without this kind of considered determination, you could fall victim to the mindsets of "just surviving, thanks" or, "all I can do is hope this year will be better."

I once heard a bit of wisdom that has stayed with me through the years:

Your priorities are those goals that bring you the greatest return on your investment of time and energy.

As you answer questions eight and nine, you're going to determine your top 10 goals and priorities for the coming year. Once you've done so, your 2012 plan will be complete, and you'll be on the way to the key results you want and need. You'll have gained a new level of control over your life and your self.

One of our most senior partners in the Best Year Yet business is Valerie Taloni, who has been widely known as The Goal Diva. She reminds us that:

"It doesn't matter if you're president of a company or president of a country. To get what you want, you must set goals and implement a plan to achieve them."

8. What are my goals for each role?

As you answered the last seven questions, you've completed a major life review and are more in touch with your priorities in life -- and perhaps as I am with each passing day -- more aware how quickly the months and years are flying by. With this awareness you're in the right place to establish your goals for the coming year.

First, a quick review of powerful goals. Here are the rules for setting goals that point you to results, exactly as you've imagined:

  1. Start each goal with a verb -- an action word that tells you what to do.
  2. Make each specific and measurable -- how many? how often?
  3. Believe that each goal has an 80 percent chance of success in the next 12 months.
  4. Write a RESULT goal rather than a PROCESS goal -- the outcome you want to achieve, not how you want to achieve it.

For example, here are some examples of goals that are not powerful:

  • Spend more time with my kids.
  • Lose weight and feel healthier.
  • Earn more money.
  • Enjoy more time with friends.

Not bad, right? Certainly heading in the right direction, but how will you know if you reach these goals? Do they laser straight to the result you want?

Here are examples of powerful goals I've set in my recent annual plans:

  • Sell the Best Year Yet business.
  • Lose to 136 pounds and maintain.
  • See my granddaughters three times.
  • Meditate every day.

Our customer services director, Kris Gleason, has the best story I've ever heard to illustrate the point:

"Pretend you are a quarterback on the 10-yard line and you have 90 yards stretching out in front of you. What is your RESULT goal?

Frequently, people will say something like: a first down, a great pass, an awesome offensive tackle. Wrong! These are all PROCESS goals. The result you want is 7 points on the scoreboard, a touchdown!"

Read the list of roles you play in your life from question seven. For each role set one to three annual goals. If you get stuck, ask yourself a question such as, "What do I want to achieve to make 2012 my best year as a writer?"

9. What are my top 10 goals for the next year?

Although you may now have 15 or 20 goals for the next year, you must select the top 10, the ones which, when achieved, will make it your best year yet. You don't have to toss the rest of your goals, but choose your top 10. When Tim and I first started to set annual goals in 1980, we each had over 100 goals. It was a great year in many ways, but most of the goals never saw the light of day!

Once you've completed your selection, you can pull together your one-page 2012 Best Year Yet Plan.

Start by listing guidelines from Question 3. Below them write your new paradigm from Question 4, and below that your major focus from Question 7. Finally list your Top 10 Goals.

What's Next?

I'll be writing soon about your final step: Making sure you stick with your plan. Here you'll answer Question 10.

Please leave a comment or question below. Let us know how you're doing. By doing so you'll inspire the rest of us. Or you can email me at

For more by Jinny Ditzler, click here.

For more on making it a healthy new year, click here.

P.S. There are a number of ways you can make your plan:

1. Read Your Best Year Yet, which includes a Workbook for making your plan -- also available in the Kindle format.

2. Find out more about the Best Year Yet Online cloud software for making and tracking your plan.

3. Find a Best Year Yet Coach or tell your own coach about this process.

P.P.S. The purpose of my articles is to give you everything you need to make 2012 your personal best year yet. Here is a list of the previous articles in this series, as well as those on the way:

  1. Whether you're ready for your best year yet
  2. Making resolutions that work
  3. Discovering the biggest obstacle to your success
  4. Give yourself a performance review
  5. Setting your top 10 goals (this article)
  6. Making sure you stick with your plan