What I Learned from Working Toward my 2015 Goals

A year ago I wrote about my goal-setting process. My life plan, inspired by Michael Hyatt, is the guide I use to keep my life on track. I review it regularly and make minor revisions throughout the year. Near the end of the year I reflect on what I accomplished that year, make major revisions to my life plan, and set new goals that will help me carry out that plan.


2015 was an interesting year. I learned a lot as I worked toward my goals. In some areas I failed miserably on goals that should have been fairly easy, and in other areas I reached stretch goals that I didn’t really think were possible.

Here are 3 lessons I learned from working toward my goals this year.

1. Don’t look beyond the mark

In Old Testament times the House of Israel was given the Law of Moses. The Law of Moses was meant to clearly point them toward Jesus Christ. By the time Jesus was born, the Jewish leaders had so complicated and corrupted the law that they no longer recognized it for what it was.

The prophet Jacob in the Book of Mormon described this as "looking beyond the mark” (Jacob 4:14). The mark was Jesus, who was right in front of them, and they looked beyond that mark to a Jehovah who would deliver them from their political bondage.

This year I often found myself looking beyond the mark. When I didn’t feel like I was gaining as much traction in certain areas as I should, I tried to think of what more I should be doing. I would start outlining plans for working on areas in which I felt deficient in that moment.

However, I forgot that I already planned out what I need to do for that year. I would make the progress I was seeking if I would only follow my life plan and the goals and habits outlined in it. I didn’t need to look beyond that mark.

2. Try to be an essentialist

One of my favorite books of the year is Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg Mckeown. It is a quick and easy read, but it outlines an incredibly profound principle. It about cutting the non-essential from our lives so we can put all of our focus into activities that we feel deeply inspired by, are particularly talented at, and meet a significant need in the world.

I am not an Essentialist by nature. Most of us probably aren’t. I want to do it all, and find myself thinking that I can do it all if I just get up earlier and manage my time better. It takes discipline, effort, and courage to cut the non-essential from our lives.

3. Make more effort

Another of my favorite books this year is The 10X Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure by Grant Cardone.

The author basically says we should consider the effort required to accomplish something, and then we should put in 10x that effort. In some cases, it will require 10x the effort we think it will, and we won’t accomplish it if we don’t put in that kind of effort. In other cases, we may be able to accomplish it with less effort, but 10x effort will set us apart from our competition and/or provide 10x the benefits.

The 10x principle may seem to contradict the essentialist principle. In reality, they go hand in hand. We should carefully choose the few essential areas to focus our time on, and then we should put intense effort into those few areas.

In some areas I failed to achieve my goals, and it was simply because I didn’t put in enough effort.

Make it a great 2016!

We all have more potential that we are taking advantage of. The new year is an opportunity to refresh our life vision and set goals that will get us there.

Question: What did you learn in 2015?