Do you avoid making New Year's Resolutions? Do your shoulders tense up when you think about all you "should" have done so far this year? Do you feel like goal setting is such a huge task that will take you forever? If so, you're not alone. That's why I'd like to suggest that we all take a much gentler and more effective approach to goal-setting--A thirteen-minute process to change your life!

First of all, grab a pen and paper. Don't hesitate--Do it now. Spend thirteen minutes with me right this moment and you will change your life, I guarantee it. Let's get started. Just answer these questions quickly and simply. Don't belabor them, and don't get caught up in a bunch of details. Just jot down clear, direct answers, okay?

1. What are three goals you would like to accomplish in the next six months? For example, one of mine is to create another audio program on how to beat stress and burnout from a live presentation of mine.

2. What are three goals you would like to achieve in the next twelve months? Make your goals specific. (Witness the power of "I will schedule time to work out at least 45 minutes three times a week on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday" versus the vague, "I want to lost weight." Specific, measurable, attainable goals get results!)

3. Which people are most important to you in your life?

4. Which five qualities do you most value and desire in your life? Here are a few to get you started: freedom, creativity, spirituality, optimism, personal growth, health, wealth, harmony, happiness, joy, a united family, adventure...You can add to this list, but just choose the five qualities that excite you the most.

5. What are the most essential activities/pursuits in your life that hourish you and make you happy?

Now look at your answers and get real. Are you doing something EVERY DAY to keep your goals in sight? Are you supporting the people you love EVERY DAY? Are you cultivating yourself by doing the things you are passionate about--you guessed it, EVERY DAY?

Success is cumulative. Whether it is financial success, career success, or relationship success, we achieve success as a result of the DAILY choices we make that keep us aligned with the goals, people, qualities, and activities that we value most. It makes sense, doesn't it? If you value health but keep eating five scoops of ice cream every day, you are out of alignment. And if you value a strong marriage but only spend Sunday evening chatting with your spouse then you are out of alignment. If you value professional development but never sign up to take any classes or seminars, you are out of alignment.

Your candid answers to the five questions above will show you what is out of whack in your life. Keep them on your desk, your refrigerator, your dashboard, or your toilet (anywhere you will see them often) and remember that these are the chartings for YOUR life. You are in charge! And only YOU can change the forecast.

Don't make the typical negative goals or resolutions that most people make: "I want to give up smoking," "I want to lose weight," blah, blah, blah. Create solutions, not resolutions, in which you identify what you want most and determine the specific means to make these dreams reality. (Example: "I want to live longer and be able to run three miles without keeling over, therefore I choose to reduce my cigarettes by one per day until I am down to zero. I will invest all the money I save on cigarettes in a special account for the vacation to St. Thomas that I plan to take with my sweetheart next year.")

Keep the benefits you will get from achieving what you desire in the forefront! WE can only overcome our inertia when we are MOTIVATED by the specific result we seek and aligned with our highest values and desires. It only takes about thirteen minutes to chart your course and it saves you immeasurable heartache, disappointment, and squandered time. The thirteen minutes you spend now can yield years of success, happiness, balance, and prosperity as you live a congruent life filled with what and who you care about most deeply.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Barnsley Brown is a professional speaker and coach who loves helping busy professionals create balance and prosperity. Want to have 2+ more hours every day for who and what you love? Find out how with Dr. Brown's FREE report, "How to Overcome Overwhelm in Seven Easy Steps" at