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How to accomplish your goals in 2014

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(Read caption) A runner jogs across an overpass crossing Storrow Drive in Boston. Hamm says small decisions, like going for a jog instead of playing a video game, are key to a successful year.

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2013 has been a pretty good year for me. I lost about 25 pounds. I wrote a pretty good first draft of a novel that’s currently “resting” (meaning I intend to drag it out again in a few months to start editing it and figure out whether it’s worth trying to publish it). I launched a great writing relationship with U.S. News and World Report. I feel like my relationship with Sarah is really strong right now (and I’ve always felt good about my relationship with my children). Our family’s net worth went up significantly, as we largely lived on Sarah’s income and banked my own income.

It feels really good to be able to look back at the year and know that I accomplished some things, as did Sarah and I as a collective group. In quite a few ways, our lives are in a better place today than it was at the end of 2012.

Now, I turn that same question on you. What did you accomplish this year? Did you achieve anything that you’re proud of? (I certainly hope so.) Did you not really achieve anything of note? (I hope that’s not true.)

I’ve had years where I’ve not accomplished much. (2004 comes to mind, actually – if I had a “lost year” in my adult life, it was 2004.) Other years, I accomplished an amazing amount (2007 comes to mind here for me).

Those years filled with accomplishment feel good, even years and years later. Good years are ones that fill you with pride.

Bad years, on the other hand, are ones that fill you with regret when you look back on them, even years and years later.

Obviously, good years are better than bad years – and the effects carry forward for a very long time.

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