Fear Is Temporary. Regret Is Forever. Set Bold Goals for 2014

Bungee JumpNew Year’s is known for its resolutions and is often a time when many of us set our goals for the coming year. This year, I am challenging myself to go outside my comfort zone and set bold goals for 2014. I encourage you to do the same.

On December 6th I went to the TEDx Hiawatha Women event sponsored by the Federal Executive Board of Minnesota. One of the underlying themes was fear.

Deirdre Van Nest, speaking coach and author of the book Fire Your Fear spoke about how fear creates unnecessary limitations and obstacles in your life. According to Deirdre, “Fear is temporary. Regret is forever”. Her message:  don’t let fear become the executive decision maker in your life.

Another speaker was Molly Mogren. Her blog, “Hey, Eleanor”, www.heyeleanor.com, chronicles Molly’s adventures over a 365 day period as she attempts to do at least one fearful thing each day that scares her. The idea is to step outside her comfort zone to expand her horizons and open the door to a new set of possibilities.

Molly said something that I thought was rather profound. “We rarely fear things that can kill us, but we ‘re often afraid of the things that can’t hurt us at all”. As she went on to explain, Molly, a bubbly 20-something, apparently has no fear of bungee jumping, but questioning the medical advice she received from her doctor was scary.  You or I might have a different set of fears.

As you set your retirement planning and other life goals for 2014 ask yourself: What goals would you set if you stepped outside your comfort zone? What fears hold you back from doing what you really want in life?

Goal setting benefits

One of the benefits of setting a bold goal is that it puts in place a series of steps that are necessary to help you reach that goal. It also creates a sense of urgency that may help motivate you to pursue your goal. For example, the goal of retiring “someday” is a lot different than “I want to retire in 10 years at my current income level”.

You don’t have to do much to retire “someday”, but if you want to retire in 10 years at your current income level, you better get serious about taking certain steps to reach that goal. And you need to start now.

Fear of failure

In my own case, I have a fear of failure – among other things. I am not a psychologist, but I bet the fear of failure holds a lot of us back. I worry that if I set a SMART goal (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Time-bound) and don’t meet it, that somehow I have failed.

By setting a bold goal I risk failure. By failing I risk suffering the frustration and mental anguish that goes along with that –“aaaagh”! I am not a fan of mental anguish.

On the other hand, being bold and stepping outside my comfort zone could open up doors to new possibilities, possibilities that currently exist only in my imagination. Maybe I should worry less about how I might feel if I fail to reach my goals, and focus more on how my life would change if I were to reach them.

How would your life be different if you met your goals?

Three goals for 2014

Of course, the only real failure is in failing to set and commit to a goal in the first place. So, I hereby publicly commit to three bold goals:

  1. I will post 52 blog posts by 12.31.2014
  2. I will publish one eBook, titled “Pay Less for College” by 06.30.14
  3. I will run two half-marathons by July 25th (that’s when I turn 51)

Each of these goals is a stretch for me and is outside my comfort zone. You should do the same as you set your goals.

Maybe this is the year you commit to starting your own business or to maximizing your retirement plan contribution or to getting your retirement and estate plan in order (by the way, let me know if you need help with any of that).

Be bold. Go outside your comfort zone and set your goals for 2014.

What are you afraid of?

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