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How To Achieve Anything In 2006

By Dr. Steve Sjuggerud
Wednesday, December 28, 2005

In the mid-1950s, in a tiny town in Wisconsin, my dad tried out for his high school basketball team.

He didn’t make it. The coach said he wasn’t even good enough to be a backup.

My dad didn’t give up. By the time he finished high school, he was voted “All State” - meaning he was one of the five best players in the state of Wisconsin.

Twenty years later, when my dad was my age, he set out to do two things... become an astronaut, and run a marathon. Even though my dad is a big guy (6'4"), that didn’t stop him. He ran the marathon, and made it to a final cut to be an astronaut in 1977, after six months of training in Houston.

I saw my dad over Christmas, and I saw photos of these things around the house. I got to thinking, what are my goals? What do I want to accomplish in 2006? And how can I get there?

My friend Michael Masterson is a superstar at this type of thing. Michael starts each year making one significant goal in each of the four most important areas of life:

1. Your health
2. Your wealth
3. Your personal self (hobbies and interests)
4. Your social self (friends, family, and community)

Michael says make each goal“significant, yet specific.”

And he says studies show that people who make formal goals and write them down accomplish them more often. It makes sense to me. This year I thought I’d try it. To help my chances of making it happen, I thought I’d share them with you today. 

I’ll report back to you next year on how I did, so it’s extra pressure to make good on my goals. Here I go:

1. Health goals: Lose weight and get in better shape. Here’s the plan...

My weight has crept up over the years. It’s time to do something. My goal is to lose 10% of my body weight, and 15% of my body fat percentage. I’ll get there primarily through swimming and paddleboarding, and I’ll eat better. Specifically, no more fries or chips, and no more sugar sodas. 

For specific exercise goals to help achieve the main goal, I’d like to complete four miles in one swim and race in a 10+ mile paddleboard race.

2. Wealth goals: No mistakes, that’s it.

Wealthwise, what I’ve done has worked, so I’ll keep doing it. No reason to push it harder, or make changes. Specifically, the goal for this year is to always follow my rules. I’ll make sure I set my “point of maximum pain” with every investment, and I’ll get out when that point is hit. In most cases, I won’t accept a loss of more than 15%. 

Keeping my mistakes small is key to protecting what I’ve got and growing it into more. I’ll accomplish this goal if I always follow my rules during the year.

3. Personal goals: Sing?

Okay, I’m finally going to do it. I’m a bit embarrassed to even write this one. But here it goes... I spent years concentrating on music as a hobby. I got a minor in music theory and history in college. The guitar is my main instrument, though I can play many. Unfortunately, I never learned to sing properly. I believe that you can learn to become a singer. You can train your voice muscles just like you train your fingers for the guitar. It’s time to learn how to do it right. 10 voice lessons this year; that’s my goal. And then I’ll have something to go along with that guitar pickin’.

4. Friends, family & community goals: My wife and I set a personal goal to give away more money than we ever have this year (both in terms of total amount and in terms of percentage of our income).

So for one goal, I’d like to say we’ll up our commitment to charity and the community, by giving two times more than we ever have, in terms of both total amount and percentage of income.

We also want to include our children as much as possible so they realize how fortunate they are. So I’d like to include the kids in doing six things where we’re giving back to the community, as well.

If all goes well, I’ll weigh less, be more fit, be wealthier, be able to sing a bit, and have made the world a little better place than I left it the year before. And that’s just one goal in each category. Like my dad and the basketball team, I’m a long way from doing these right now. But I can get there, with just a little effort each day.

I urge you to do what I just did. Set out one major goal in each of the four categories: health, wealth, personal, and social. If you can’t say how you’ll get there yet, don’t worry. The important thing is to write them down. 

Also, if you bump into me during 2006, keep me honest... ask me how I’m doing on my goals. Ask me if I’m going to make it. It’ll push me to complete them all.

It’s time for New Year’s Resolutions. Get your pen and paper out, and do it now...

Happy New Year,


P.S. Michael Masterson is the best at this kind of thing. I suggest reading his website at for the first two weeks of 2006, at least. I will.

Market Notes


Despite the recent pullback in gold, Newmont Mining (NEM) has soared past two-year highs and held onto the gains.

Considered the blue chip of the gold mining world, Newmont is the only gold stock in the S&P 500. Until Barrick Gold’s $10.4 billion purchase of Placer Dome last week, Newmont was the world’s largest gold producer.

Now, after moving sideways for the past two years, Newmont (NEM) has cleared its old highs above $50 per share.

A three-year chart of Newmont’s “breakout.”

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