“A sense of purpose is both the fuel and the compass one needs to move through confusion.” – Michael Masterson


Not every successful person sets yearly goals at the New Year. Just 90% do.

If you are among the 10% that can achieve your objectives without formalizing them – without writing them down and tracking them – you have every right to look down your nose at the rest of us that rely on goal setting to get things done.

How can you tell if you are one of the superior 10%?

Simply look back on the past year… and the past 5 years… and ask yourself if you have accomplished everything you wanted to accomplish.

If you haven’t, you are one of us.

I have written dozens of essays and almost as many book chapters on the subject. If you’ve read them, you know that my goal setting system, the one I’ve been refining for more than 30 years, departs from conventional wisdom in several respects.

* I do not believe in setting highly specific annual goals.

* I don’t believe in “stretch” goals.

* And I don’t believe in emotionally attaching myself to my goals.

One of the common recommendations I do practice is to publish my goals. Not because I want someone else to hold me accountable, but because I want to be able to hold myself accountable.

So that’s what this is: a public posting of my primary goals for 2020.


New Year Resolutions: 35 Ways I’m Going to Do More and Be More in 2020 

Social Goals

  1. Improve the financial well-being of my family and friends without damaging them.
  2. Contribute at least 30% of my active income to charitable causes.
  3. Continue to expand FunLimon, my family’s community development center in Nicaragua.
  4. Identify two additional worthy causes.
  5. Visit my grandkids at least once every 8 weeks.
  6. Listen more attentively.

Personal Projects

  1. Write more honestly and authentically.
  2. Write 150 new essays.
  3. Complete at least three new books.
  4. Publish two of them.
  5. Build a museum for some of my art.
  6. Add at least 100 new species of palm trees to my palm tree botanical garden.
  7. Improve my pass guard game in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
  8. Compete in a major tournament.
  9. Practice the French horn.
  10. Improve my language skills.

Business and Wealth Building Objectives

  1. Increase the value of my investments by at least 5% by making only one or two adjustments. (Less equity, more lending.)
  2. Increase ROI on my rental real estate properties by increasing rents where appropriate.
  3. Continue making an active income while living my ideal “retirement” lifestyle.
  4. Reduce or eliminate unproductive and unrewarding expenditures.
  5. Complete the latest version of my estate plan, giving away another 20% of my net worth. (My goal is to give away 95% of it in the next 5 years.)
  6. Continue to provide high value service to my one client (The Agora) by focusing on advertising compliance and efficiency.
  7. Help reestablish bookings and profitability for Rancho Santana.
  8. Buy 20 important pieces to add to my collection of Central American art.
  9. Sell at least 50 inferior pieces from my full collection.

 Health Goals

  1. Walk more.
  2. Worry less.
  3. Stay strong.
  4. Stay sharp.
  5. Eat well. (Fewer carbohydrates, more vegetables, more healthy fat.)
  6. Get my weight down to less than 200.
  7. Strengthen my heart and lungs with high-intensity workouts six days a week.
  8. Limit my cigar consumption to one per day.
  9. Strengthen my heart, getting my max up to 180 beats.

Stoic Goal

Own my self-worth. Do not burden others with the responsibility to maintain my self-esteem.

Zen Goal

Work with intentionality on all my goals without caring about accomplishing any of them. As I said in my January 1 blog: “You can learn to act intentionally without attachment. Remember, the way is the true goal. And movement is the reward.”