It's a new year......a time when we all decide to try and live up to those expectations we set for ourselves only to be disappointed yet again by our lack of ability to hold onto our convictions even until the end of January. We are all the same, aren't we? So why do we get so angry with ourselves when clearly we are not alone in our struggles? Why do such a small percentage of us actually ever stick to those New Year's Resolutions and accomplish those challenging goals?
This year, rather than put the main focus on New Year's Resolutions and goal setting, place your primary focus on letting go. Yes, let go......of those self defeating thoughts, of the emotional stress you put on yourself, the pressure, the guilt and the shame. Let go.

We often overlook the necessity of letting go of those subliminal thoughts about ourselves that have never served us but most of us hold anyway, such as, "I can't, I'm not good enough, what will they think and I don't deserve it". These are the underlying beliefs that hold us back without our even realizing it and lead us to the illusion that the reason we fail is because we're lazy and undisciplined. In fact, the real reason is that we are not willing to see or accept how strong and powerful we already are, and how everything we will ever need to succeed, already lies within us. I was fortunate enough to attend a talk given by the influential speaker, Sarano Kelley, and one of the many wise questions he posed to his audience was, "Would you ever let anyone speak to your child the way you speak to yourself?"

With all of that said, it's important to address that having goals is essential. Setting goals and writing them down in order to crystallize that energy into something tangible and attainable is one of the pre-cursors to achievement. I am a big believer in the importance of responsibility, discipline, organizational skills, time management, persistence and consistency.....all the necessary ingredients for society's definition of success both personally and professionally. However, if we don't choose to focus first on identifying the reason behind the goal, the absolute core of what's truly important, we likely end up disappointed, guilty, frustrated and worse off than before because it leaves us with the impression of defeat.

For example, why do so many people set out to lose weight and so few actually reach their goal? Yes, it's hard work but perhaps it's because the underlying reason for the goal is not identified or addressed. For many, it may be to feel better about the person who looks back at them in the mirror, to feel comfortable in their own skin and be truly happy with themselves on the outside. Maybe it's to feel deserving and loved by others. Identifying the hidden motive is imperative for success because otherwise our strategies for achievement will be geared in the wrong direction. We can lose all the weight we want and hire the best plastic surgeons money can buy, but if we don't feel happy about who we are on the inside, we're missing the most rewarding achievement of all.

Often when we set goals, it's with an end result in mind. Again, that's not necessarily a bad thing if we know why we are setting the goal in the first place. In other words, if the goal is "I will earn XXX amount of dollars by June 1, 2010" do we first stop to ask why and listen for an honest answer? For most, when we set such a goal we think on the surface, meaning we think about all the things we want or need to buy with that money, the bill's we will pay, the stuff we can own and even how it would improve our status in society. However, are we also thinking about gratitude for all we already have and how money doesn't and will never define how valuable we truly are to those in our lives? Are we setting that goal because we feel insecure, because we compare ourselves to others and are trapped in a thought pattern of not having enough and not being enough. How would it serve us to first focus on what's behind our need to have more money and more stuff?

Believe me, I'm no different than most and having more money is typically in some way on my list of goals each year, too. I truly believe that there is more than enough prosperity in the world and that to set forth responsibly to enjoy abundance in all forms is our absolute birthright. But I'll be honest, when I put "make XXX amount of dollars" on my goal list in years past, it was because I lived in fear that I would never have enough. Therefore, no matter how much more money I made, it was never adequate to make me feel successful. As I've grown personally, I have developed a feeling of security, not because of what's in my bank account but because my focus is on gratitude and self assurance, rather than fear.

Another way to illustrate this point is when we set a goal, such as, to build a business, we might set small sub goals as well. In other words, the heading goal may be to build a business but the sub heading goals or strategies might be something like: 1) Explore the opportunities of using social networking sites to build exposure and a contact list. 2) Read one new book a week on related topics of such business. 3) Consult with a mentor. 4) Network with likeminded people, Etc. Those are all examples of necessary and important aspirations but if those types of surface goals are the first and only focus, as the weeks go by, it's too easy to get caught up in the traps of thought that sound a little like the following: "What if I'm not smart enough? What if I can't do it? Who do I think I am? What if nobody wants my product or services?"

For many of us, it comes down to our self worth. When we start to question how valuable we are, we become diverted and are faced with the following thoughts: "Am I really worth the effort of doing what it would take to make sure I achieve my own personal best?" "Am I truly capable of what I have set out to do?" And then there's the all encompassing, "What will other people think of me?" Our level of success is 100% based on our answers to those types of questions.

For me, by focusing on the true intention, which in regards to building my own business, is, "to use my strengths to make a positive difference in the world," I am placed in a position where I am reminded beyond a shadow of a doubt WHY I have set this particular goal in the first place. This focus gives a new importance to my mission and allows me to not get swallowed up by the "what ifs" and instead be confident in my motives and the positive effect I seek to create, opening me up to a more successful result overall.

So this year, whether you call them goals or New Year's Resolutions or both, as you crystallize them onto paper, first identify what's behind each of them, let go of those feelings of inadequacy and know that everything you desire is most definitely within your reach. Decide that from this moment on, you will appreciate others for their own individual strengths but you will NOT compare yourself to them or worry what they may be thinking about you. From this moment on, decide that your goals will come from a place of power and intention and NOT from fear. From this moment on, decide to believe that you are worth the effort and deserve everything you aspire to achieve. Don't forget to enjoy the journey!

Author's Bio: 

Author's Bio
For over 6 years, Laurie McAnaugh has been an independent sales representative, sales coach and leader of a large sales organization. Through this work, she has observed so many in their struggles with self esteem, self confidence and self worth. She has developed a passion for helping people change their perspectives towards an understanding of their own inner power. Her added mission is to help guide people to look at the situations and relationships in their lives from a healthier viewpoint, while using this new perspective of power to both personally grow and influence others. She's the founder of Access Your Power and achieves her mission through teaching workshops, consulting privately with clients and presenting to groups nationwide.
She can be contacted at or via her website .