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How to Achieve Anything in 2008

By Dr. Steve Sjuggerud
Monday, January 7, 2008

I've lost 20 pounds now in two years. Even better, I've improved my body fat by six percentage points.

I'm probably the fittest I've been in a decade. And I couldn't have done it without you.

You see, each year at this time, I put myself through a foolish, humiliating exercise...  I tell you what I want to accomplish in the New Year.

I do this because it keeps me honest with myself. And I do it because I've figured out a way that works – for me at least – to achieve my goals. I thought you'd like to know about it and maybe use it to help you achieve your goals. Here's what I do:

I make a simple list. At the beginning of each year, I physically write down one goal in each of four categories. The goals have to be both significant, yet specific.

The biggest thing setting these four goals does for me is focuses my energies for the year. Instead of pursuing all kinds of different things, I decide in advance what's important to focus on for the next 12 months. It might sound hokey – I thought it did at first. But it actually works for me...

It works so well, I strongly urge you to do what I'm doing... to take a good amount of time to think about and then write down what you really want to accomplish in 2008. Set one goal in each of these four areas:

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

Remember to make sure that each goal is significant, yet specific.

I recommend you share these goals with someone you'll feel accountable to a year from now. Make yourself a promise that you'll go over those goals with that person one year from now to see how you did. Again, it seems to work for me.

I'll share two of my goals for 2008...

For my health goal... I want to keep on improving like I have over the last two years. But that's not specific enough... and I haven't said how I'll get there...

(To be honest, I was at risk of not making my health goals in 2007. So I hired a personal trainer in October. I've never done this before. I'm too cheap! But I'm glad I did. I'm often more responsible to others than I am to myself, so reporting back to him regularly has kept me honest.)

My specific 2008 health goal is as follows: A 15% improvement in my body fat percentage (this is smarter to focus on than a weight number, I think). I'm confident that I can do it. As for how I'll get there, I'll stick with the personal trainer to increase my chances. I'll do it!

For a wealth goal... Well, growing wealth for my readers is my business, and we're doing just fine. I did make a big mistake in 2007 though... I didn't follow my rules... And it cost me and my readers.

What I did was buy into a downtrend. I jumped the gun on homebuilders and financials in 2007. I didn't wait for the uptrend. They were cheap and hated by investors, which told me there was value there. But they were still going down. In 2008, I will wait for the uptrend. Simple as that.

I have other smaller goals, too... But the big two are what I'll focus on.

Next year, I'll report back to you on how I did on these two. The goals are achievable, but they'll require unwavering focus.

Somehow, by sharing these goals with you here, it makes me accountable. I don't want to let you down. I don't want to report back to you that I failed.

For me, last year was one of the best years of my life, if not the best. It's particularly fulfilling to accomplish what you set out to do.

I urge you to set those four goals now... Make sure they're significant, but specific. And share them with someone you trust.

Next thing you know, you'll be fitter, wealthier, and better off than you imagined possible just one year ago. It works. I'm living proof.

Best wishes in the New Year,


P.S. I got this idea from Michael Masterson. His first book, Automatic Wealth, does a great job of getting you focused on how to accomplish your goals. I strongly recommend the first 150 pages of the book. You can learn more about it here.

Market Notes


The new year hasn't given us much time to pick a clear leader in the stock market... but what time has gone by has been ruled by food stocks. Namely, Monsanto.
The world's largest seed and pesticide company, Monsanto registered a 36% sales increase in its most recent quarter, and profits more than tripled. The news has the big boy of agriculture off to an 8% gain in 2008.
Call Monsanto an oil play (high oil prices drive high grain and biofuel prices), call it an Asia play (richer Asians eat more grain-fattened livestock), or call it whatever you like... but we'll call it one of 2007's top-performing stocks.
Considering the gains in Monsanto (up 119%) and fertilizer producers Potash Saskatchewan (up 200%), Mosaic (up 335%), and CF Industries (up 316%), it's safe to say 2007 was the year of "food stocks." This is year starting no differently.

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