A couple of times each year, I pull out my “goals book.” I’ve had it for over 20 years—a year per page. I review how I’m doing on my goals for this year and next, I write in any new goals for this year, as well as new goals for future years. I typically have a full page for the current year and a handful of goals for future years, typically some ten years out.

But something changed this year. I pulled out my book and just stared at it. I wasn’t interested in writing a long list of specific goals that would drive me. As I reviewed past goals, I was taken aback by the detailed lists rather than celebrating the progress and adjusting future paths. At first my “goal apathy” was concerning. But the more I stared at the page, I came to realize that I do have goals, but they are changing. Rather than a list of specific outcomes, I am more interested in “how” they are achieved. Rather than a long list, I am more interested in focusing my energy on the truly meaningful.

With that perspective, here are five pillars to set yourself up for 2014.

  1. Be authentic to who you are—good, bad, and ugly. People talk about reinvention or turning over a new leaf. That implies disregarding the sum of our past experiences and who we are in favor of chasing the new. I vote that we build on our life experiences. I vote that we embrace and that we build on who we are. For more thought on this, read this great article by the Harvard Business Review.
  2. Remember why you chose remodeling as your life’s work and find time to forward that aim every single day. Let’s say you were drawn to be a remodeler for the love of craft. Find something each and every day to stoke that fire. Spend 10 minutes learning about a new technique in a video. Spend an extra 15 minutes to finish a detail in a way that makes you proud. Invest an extra 10 minutes really reading and digesting insights in REMODELING.
  3. Ensure that you are paid properly for what you do. If you own your business, know your breakeven (after paying yourself “fairly”). If you can’t get that on a consistent basis, consider working for someone that will compensate you fairly.
  4. Talk through these same things with others on your team. If you have a carpenter, a helper, or an office manager, they each should take time to take stock of the present and dream about their future. And then help them focus their energy on achieving their goals—one baby step at a time.
  5. If you love this industry, find ways to improve it. Help others, be active in associations, get involved. We need all the help we can get—and you’ll be surprised how much it gives back in return.

I still don’t have a detailed list of goals for myself in 2014 but these are the types of things that will consume my attention. I'm not sure if I’m slipping or if I’m maturing. Check in with me in five years to find out …