We have made it! Day 12 is here with some of the most important advice of all on setting achievable goals and successful New Year's resolutions. First a couple of questions. Looking into next year and the years ahead, do you know when you want to retire? When you look in the mirror now describe the person you see. Are you happy with that person? In your sex life, what do you wish there was more of? Less of? What 3 things would you like to achieve 1 year from now? In 5 years? 10 years?

These are all great things to think about when setting your goals for the New Year and below we have gathered an excellent list of kick-off questions to get your brain thinking.

But to start, I have four pieces of advice for you on successful goal setting.

1. Sometimes you have to take stuff out before you add new stuff in.

If you are already an over-achiever performing at max capacity, you will have to free up some time in your life, before adding more new goals to your to do list for 2014. Are you running full sprint every day to complete what you have on your current to do list? If your life is already at full capacity, then your first goal must be to make time for yourself. And for maxed out folks, I highly recommend that the goal list stop right there. Making free time and breathing room in your life may often take a while from planning to achievement.

Maxed out or not, use a review of your current schedule to remove activities from your life that are no longer needed. This will help you ‘open’ time in your life as ‘free time’ or as time for achieving new goals. Removing items can mean to complete them, such as finally setting aside a weekend to clean out your closets. Or there may be some items that you just need to stop doing each week or day. My vote for the most commonly needed dismissal item is television. Do you really NEED to watch that huge list of TV shows stored on your DVR every week? Will the world REALLY end if you don’t find out what happened to Emily Thorne and Victoria Grayson on Revenge?

[one_half]"Do you know when you want to retire? Are you happy with the person you see in the mirror? Are you happy with your sex life? What 3 things would you like to achieve 1 year from now? In 5 years? We have gathered an excellent list of kick-off questions to get your brain thinking about your New Year's resolutions. "[/one_half]

An insightful way to decide on which activities to remove from your life is to make a complete list of how much time you are spending on unique activities each week. (ie. Watching television, commuting, reading, working, working out, free time that is left unscheduled, etc.) This can often be a fun and quite revealing exercise for people. After creating the list and fully reviewing your current schedule and life, decide (a) what needs to be cleaned out, (b) how much free time you would like to leave open and unplanned (Very Important!), and (c) how much time you can set aside to add more goals and activities to the list.

And one more thought…If you find you are consistently setting the same goal(s) year after year and it is not being achieved, then one item on your list should be to look closer at these ‘carry-over’ goals to study the ‘blocks’ that are preventing you from their successful completion. It could be something as easy as not having enough hours in the day or something as intense as fear or doubt that you have wrapped around the goal’s completion. Either way, taking time for a deeper look into the problem will definitely be a worthy item for your final goal list.

2. Start with "What if's" and Big Cloud ideas.

Now to the fun list! What changes or additions would you like to make in your life, health and body? I like to start with a big, outside the box brainstorm on paper with what I call ‘big cloud’ ideas and what Zen Habits calls ‘what ifs’. These are big dream wish lists like, ‘I want to work for myself’ or ‘What if I went on a leave of absence and traveled the world for 6 months?’. I recommend making this list as big and broad as you want. You want to get all the dreams and hopes and random thoughts out on paper as possibilities.  Consider all of the 6 DIAKADI Elements when brainstorming ideas: Focus and Passion (What drives and motivates you in life?), Fuel (Nutrition), Movement (Fitness and Exercise), Restore (Energy building activities like sleep, yoga or meditation), Balance (Keeping your stress levels low and not over-booking your life), Teamwork (Nourishing your relationships with friends and family. Perhaps volunteering your time or assistance.).blog-checklist

And don't dare discount a possible idea because you are scared to try it. As I always say, ‘Never Make Any Decision Based on Fear.’

Next, try to prioritize which of these big ideas are the most important to you. Which idea will bring you the most positive change and impact in your life? Which of these tasks are related, meaning that you must complete one of them in order to make another one of them possible?

Lastly, using your priority as a guide, try to begin breaking these big cloud ideas down into baby steps leading to the final product. It will be these smaller steps that we will use to start making your initial goal list.

3. Bigger is NOT always better. Decide on an achievable list.

Again, overachievers step to the front of the line. Although it may make you feel like such a successful 'bad ass' to come up with those 10 giant goals for yourself this year, let's make sure we create a successful plan for your year.

Building on the lesson from Zen Habits, I have used previous years as a time to learn the power of less is more. Being an enneagram 7 this was freaking tough for me! Previously, I would map out 5-10 goals each year that I wanted to achieve. I would then spend the year maxed out to the gills, running and gunning through work, life and commitments. And lastly, I would almost always have 2-4 things on that list that I never got to due to lack of time. In 2011, my experiment was to see if I reduced my goals to less than 5 while ALSO scheduling ‘free’ or unplanned time for myself, if I would come out of the year not only achieving my goals but also enjoying the day to day more, lowering my stress levels and having a stronger, healthier body to boot. Check. Check. And check!

[one_half]"And one more thought…If you find you are consistently setting the same goal(s) year after year and it is not being achieved, then one item on your list should be to look closer at these ‘carry-over’ goals to study the ‘blocks’ that are preventing you from their successful completion." [/one_half]

I cannot begin to describe how much better it feels to set and achieve a small set of goals while at the same time having free time to enjoy the random activities of the day to day. So lesson learned for me. Whittle your ‘big cloud’ ideas and your list of small steps down to a finite set of exact goals to focus on. Maximum, give yourself 5 goals. Do not over-book your life. Save time for yourself to breath. Just give it a try. Trust me on this one.

4. Where do I start? Prioritize and schedule your list.

You are almost there. Now take your list of goals with the priority you placed on them and start coordinating them with your schedule, your calendar and your work load. Look at your daily and weekly life and come up with a plan of when you can fit these new areas into your lifestyle. This may have a seasonal element to it as well. For example, each year from December to April I have one top priority that supersedes all goals and lists… Snowboarding. So for me, all classes, studying or business development goals are scheduled during the spring, summer or fall.

I also recommend placing your list where you will often run into it or refer to it. For some people this means setting a monthly calendar pop-up reminder with their goals. For others this means putting one goal on your calendar each quarter and putting your focus on that individual goal completely. For me, I have a printed list of my goals pinned to my bulletin board at work. It may sit there for weeks without notice until it randomly catches my eye as a reminder. But trust me, those goals are always rolling around in my head.

I recommend checking out this video for some additional thoughts on these 4 steps to successful goal setting:


A List of Life Questions to Make You Think on Life, Your Body, Hobbies, Career, Goals, Travel, Retirement, and More

If you are not sure where to even begin your goals, at DIAKADI, we researched and gathered a broad, insightful list of questions about your body and your life. We want you to think about their current successes as well as current failures…ok, we can call them current “challenges”. Some of the questions are directly related to next year's goals, while others can be extended into years to 1

In the least, I recommend taking 2 minutes to read through the questions. Sometimes a simple read through will stimulate some new thoughts and directions.

If you would like to write out some answers, then focus on the sections or areas that will be the most helpful with moving you forward and improving your life.

For all overachievers like myself, enjoy answering every question!

Make It a Fun Exercise for You and A Loved One... or Even as Conversation Starters

The ‘sharing aspect’ of this exercise is often an extremely valuable part. If you have a business partner, best friend, husband/wife, family member that you would like to become closer with or sync your goals and journey with, I highly recommend using some or all of these questions as a sharing exercise between the 2 of you.

Now, Just ETR

Now you have done the first step of setting your course. My final piece of advice comes from my very close friend Doug and that is to ‘Enjoy the Ride’. The journey you will take to achieve your goals is often more exciting and rewarding than the success in the achievement. So enjoy every step of the way.

Good luck!


DIAKADI’s The 12 Days of Fitmas: Welcoming the holidays and year’s end as a time for relaxation and celebration, The 12 Days of Fitmas will teach people to take the time to enjoy the fun of the season, while reflecting on the year and looking forward to the year ahead. The series tackles the biggest problems that many face: stress, holiday parties, eating well, preparing for the New Year, and more.

“The holidays tend to be one of the most challenging times of the year for our clients,” says Billy Polson. “The stress, over-booked schedules, party foods, alcohol and travel plans wreak havoc on their workouts and their bodies. The 12 Days of Fitmas are our effort to help people not only survive the holidays, but thrive throughout them.”

Through The 12 Days of Fitmas, DIAKADI will demonstrate the belief that fitness is about far more than dead lifts, burpees and the spin class. Rather, fitness and health encompass all aspects of one’s lifestyle including sleep schedules, stress levels, deep breaths, proper fuel for the body, and enjoying life every day. DIAKADI will use video to demonstrate topics like “Ultimate Destination Workout,” ensuring that whether one is at a beginning or an advanced level, they will learn proper form and technique for the perfect workout regardless of location. The principals discussed in the series will be applicable beyond the holiday season and throughout the New Year.

Originally published at

Day 1: The Most Wonderful Yet Stressful Time of Year: Managing Holiday Stress Day 2: The Holiday Hunger Games: Holiday Party Survival Tips Day 3: The 80/20 Rule: By Damn, Enjoy the Holidays Day 4: Healthy Holiday Recipes that Don’t Suck Day 5: Planes, Trains, and Drive-thrus: Smart Choices for Food on the Go Day 6: Travel Stretches to Make Coach Feel Like First Class Day 7: Grandma Got Run Over by the Holiday Cold: Staying Healthy for the Holidays Day 8: The DIAKADI Destination Workout: Anytime, Anywhere, No Equipment Necessary Day 9: Silent Night: How to Stay Rested Throughout the Holidays Day 10: The Holiday Hustle: Getting Off the Couch and Out of the House for the Big Day Day 11: Start the New Year Off with a Bang Not a Bust: Do What You Love this New Year’s Day 12: When the Clock Strikes Midnight: Successfully Setting and Reaching Your New Year’s Goals