New Year – New Goals!

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So, in three days it’ll be 2012. And for the fifth year running I’ll be setting myself personal goals.

A lot of my friends dislike the idea of setting personal goals, like it somehow takes the ‘private’ part of their life – the part that is supposed to be about relaxing and having fun – and turns it into ‘work’. And work, as we all know, is the mortal enemy of fun and relaxation.

Perhaps you feel the same way? I know I did. Having read and listened to more than my fair share of self help books I thought I knew all that I needed to know about Goal Setting – enough to know that it wouldn’t work for me. And as I sat in traffic on the M25, morning after morning, listening to those Tony Robbins CDs, I’d start to wonder whether I’d enjoy them more if I wound down the window and tossed them, Frisbee-like, over the edge of the bridge and into the River Thames far below me.

That was, until I went out for a curry with my old friend Denny.

“I’ve set myself 5 goals for next year,” she told me one winter’s night in January.

“Goals?” I said

“Yeah,” said Denny as she mopped up some sauce with a strip of naan bread. I was stunned.

“Why?”

“Because I’m fed up with my life being like it is.”

“But, setting yourself goals – it’s a little extreme though, isn’t it?” She shrugged.

“Not really,” she said.

“But what if you don’t achieve them?” I asked.

“Then life will stay pretty much as it is, I guess. From that perspective I can’t really lose.” I thought about this for a second or two.

“Maybe I should set some goals,” I said.

“Maybe you should,” said Denny. “What would they be?”

And that was five years ago.

I like to set my goals at the start of each year, and review them at the end. This might make them sound a little like ‘resolutions’ but resolutions are something entirely different. “I will give up smoking” – that’s a resolution. “I have given up smoking (December, 2012)” – now that’s a goal.

Take for instance one of my goals for 2010:

My Happiness Book is published
(Dec 31st 2010)

At the time I set that the Goal I’d hardly started writing How To Do Everything and Be Happy, let alone given much thought to how I would publish it. I didn’t even have the title.

Did I achieve the goal?

No.

That’s the not so funny thing about setting goals – some of the time, perhaps even most of the time, you fail!

But then I’m not particularly motivated by ‘easy goals’ – goals that I know I have a good chance of achieving. They don’t even feel like goals – more like boring items on my to-do list. I had a friend who, on January 1st, set herself the goal of joining a gym. By the end of the first week she’d achieved it. Was that really a goal? Shouldn’t joining the gym have been part of a much larger goal to improve her health and fitness? In my mind a goal should stretch you. A goal should be ever-so-slightly out of reach. With most of my goals I know that my chances of success are extremely slim, though the chance is there.

So my revised Goal for 2011 looked like this:

“How To Do Everything and Be Happy”
is available in three formats,
and selling really well (to be defined),
whilst I bask in the success (to be defined)
of the seminar(s)
Dec 31st 2011

And will I achieve that Goal??

No.

But I’ll come darn close. The book was released as an ebook back in March, and as a paperback a few weeks later. Both are selling better than I could have ever hoped. An audio version is planned for this coming year, and whilst I’m not exactly basking in the success of my one workshop, two more are being planned for the coming weeks.

Most important of all though, by identifying why I achieved or failed my goal I’m equipped to write smarter, more specific, or maybe utterly different goals.

Working with goals – that is, having them in your life – is something that gets easier the longer you do it. You develop a habit, or a mindset – after a while you start to look at everything you’re doing in relation to how it sits with your goals. In a very real way, your goals force you to decide what’s important to you and move you in that direction. They give you purpose and vision.

And it’s true what they say:

“Without vision the people perish.”

So, people of the interweb – what are your Goals for 2012. Drop me a line or use the comments box below – I’d love to hear from you.

Wishing you a very happy New Year

Peter Jones

UPDATE – the first ‘How To Do Everything and Be Happy’ workshop – 24th Nov 2011, Southend-on-Sea

IMPORTANT! You’re currently in the archives! All sorts of exciting things have happened since this post was originally released, click here to read the latest posts. Click here to find out about current events and workshops.

Good grief – it’s actually happening!

It’s been just over a year since I first put finger to keyboard to write How To Do Everything and Be Happy. And today (some 3,000 book sales later), I’m pleased to announce that THIS THURSDAY (24th November 2011) will see the first How To Do Everything and Be Happy workshop, here in sunny Southend-on-Sea. Just a few doors down from Southend General Hospital, the workshop is being presented as one of ‘Karen’s Evening Lectures‘ at the newly opened Therapy Life Centre, and there are only a few places left.

A workshop you say?

If you’re a big-reader of self-help then you’ll probably be familiar with workshops, seminars, and the like. Large halls packed with badge wearing delegates, all facing the stage and podium in readiness for a motivational speaker who will cause you to question everything you believe, shake the foundations of all you hold dear, and force you to reconsider every assumption you’ve ever made.

This isn’t going to be one of those workshops.

‘How to Do Everything and Be Happy’ is workshop for ordinary people, with ordinary lives. It’s for anyone who may have been ambling through life and wondering why they’re not – well – just that little bit happier. It’s a workshop for most people. It’s a workshop for you!

So what will we be doing?

We’ll briefly cover the three causes of unhappiness, make ourselves feel better by identifying and blaming the culprits, then move right along for an evening of brainstorming and happiness planning. By the time you leave you’ll be armed with everything you need to start creating a happier life INCLUDING the paperback version of my book (because even with two hours we can’t cover everything).

If you’ve got a brain in your head, if you can pick up a pen, if you’ve got half an inkling about what makes you smile, this evening will show you how to fit those things into your life and, as a consequence, feel much, much happier.

Click here (or the youtube link below) to listen to a BBC interview about the book that the workshop is based on

The lecture is on Thursday the 24th November. Starts promptly 7.30pm (so aim to turn up around 7:15pm) and will continue to 9.30pm (with a break for tea or coffee along the way).

It costs just £18.00. To book simply call the Therapy Life Centre direct on 01702 433959.
Any other questions, feel free to drop me a line or post them in the comments below.


The Therapy Life Centre is located at 11 Prittlewell Chase, Southend-on-Sea, SS0 0RX (the old driving test centre) – there is reasonable parking.

The nearest station is Prittlewell (just fifteen minutes walk away) which is on the Liverpool Street – Southend Victoria line.

More about Karen and the Therapy Life Centre
Therapy Life Centre on facebook
The Therapy Life Centre’s website

The Therapy Life Centre – Karen’s Story

If you turn to the back of the book, amongst the acknowledgements, you’ll find a small list of people who I describe as my “first readers”. These are the crack team of operatives (friends) who agreed to read my first draft and give me their brutally honest opinions so that I could hone it into the finely tuned masterpiece that I’m assuming you’ve read. Several times. One of those first readers was Karen.

Karen Revivo is my physio-therapist. Has been for many, many years. Long enough for us to become very good friends. So it was a no-brainer to include her amongst my first readers, and I wasn’t surprised in the slightest when she handed back my manuscript – absolutely covered in comments – just a week or two after I’d given it to her. I was however totally blown away by what happened afterwards.

“Peter Jones,” she said, “what have you started!?”

You’ll remember that one of the things I encourage readers to do is think about what they want (be that a slice of cheese cake, a new bathroom or fired out of a cannon into an enourmous tub of chocolate flavoured yoghurt), and compile those wants into a list. Whilst I never saw Karen’s list apparently the number one item was: “open my own centre” – which was short hand for, “find a medium sized building capable of accommodating up to a dozen or so different therapists with complimentary skills, and a room large enough to play host to yoga & pilates classes, presentations and lectures – and open a Therapy Centre!”

A year later she’s done exactly that. Ladies and Gentleman, I present to you – just a few doors along from the Southend General Hospital – the Therapy Life Centre.

You can find out more from the Centre’s website, or on facebook.

Well done Karen – and all the best with your new venture.


Southend Today’s coverage of the Therapy Life Centre