How to Make This Year Extraordinary By Simplifying Your Goals

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Last year when I started 2012, I created a few anti-resolutions and made quite a long list of things I wanted to accomplish.

And while I did check off many of those things, this year I’m going about it a little differently. Instead of creating a list of 10 or 15 goals, I’m only focusing on one-to-three big goals.

Simplify your goals

To take a page out of Natalie Sisson’s book, I’ll be focusing on less so I can achieve more, because the best way to ensure you actually meet your goals is to simplify.

I’m not only doing this because I think it’s an effective strategy, I’m doing it because it’s a much better choice for me personally. As someone who’s an overachiever and perfectionist, having too many goals or resolutions can get very overwhelming.

Then next thing you, know you’re spreading yourself too thin and want to give up altogether. Or you run yourself into the ground trying to complete everything, and burn out by the end of the year — which is what I did.

This is something that’s especially important to avoid if you have your own small business or freelance venture. If you don’t simplify your business goals, you’re likely to lose focus of what’s really important causing your business to suffer in the process.

Or you’ll get distracted by doing the small not-as-important tasks, instead of honing on in the work that will help your business thrive. Both of which have happened to me in my business recently.

Make this year rock

A fun way to make this year rock, is to make a game out of it — who doesn’t love a winning something as motivation to keep going? Visa Prepaid has created the Build Your Best Year instant win game.

You can track your current resolutions or create new ones and set goals for the year — plus you’ll have a chance to win Premium Headphones or a $15 Visa Gift card.

As extra motivation, every game play gives you an opportunity to win the grand prize of a Tablet PC with kickstand and touch keyboard. To check out the Build Your Best Year game –   please visit:

My three big goals for this year

To take my own advice, I’m simplifying my goals and ready to make this year the best ever — both personally and with my business. Here are my three big goals for 2013.

1. Create a new zen office space

Surprisingly I can already call this one a win! I’ve been desperately wanting an office space since I moved into my new apartment last year, and now the day has finally come.

On my birthday, I took the day off and went to Ikea to pick out some office furniture and accessories. What do you think?

My new home office!
My new home office!

Now I have a whole new zen office space to do consulting sessions on Skype, write blog posts, focus on my freelance business and continue to launch amazing movements.

2. Connect and work with a team

I’ve already made some great headway with this goal as well and it actually comes in three main parts: connect, learn, hire — or more specifically:

  • Connect with entrepreneurs one-on-one
  • Learn from and work with other go-getters
  • Hire a team of experts

Connect. My desire is to reach out to other entrepreneurs and connect on a more personal level. I got a jump-start on this when I attended New Media Expo in January, where I got to sit and chat with countless inspiring entrepreneurs. I also joined some private Facebook groups, like Thrive Hive, Rockin’ the Side Gig and FIRE Society — in addition to creating an exclusive community for Careful Cents freelancers.

Learn. I recently hired a business coach and just had my first session a few days ago. I also signed up for a few products, like Marie Forleo’s Rich, Happy and Hot B-School. I really enjoy studying and applying myself to my studies — so I’m really excited about this!

Hire. I am thrilled to finally be working with a marketing expert to help with my branding and social media strategy. And over the next few weeks/months, you will see some fantastic stuff going on with Careful Cents (both online and off).

3. Take my freelance business full-time

This one is the most difficult for me personally, since I’ve been working in the accounting field for the past 10 years. Part of the reason my blog is geared towards small businesses, freelancers and entrepreneurs is because that’s what I know most about and have a passion for.

But striking out on my own is scary — really scary. Will I epically fail and fall on my face? Will I have problems paying my bills and end up being homeless?

What if my boss hates me for quitting such a “cushy” and “secure” job? What if I disappoint my friends and family? The questions are endless…

But if you notice one thing that runs through all of those questions, it’s fear and guilt. And none of them take into consideration what I TRULY WANT. What makes me feel fulfilled in both my business and my life.

I vow to make 2013 the year I create a business around my life, and not a life around my business. And to do that I have to make a few decisions, tell my boss I’m quitting and take action in my business to make it all happen.

What are your BIG goals for this year? How are you going to simplify your resolutions and focus on what matters?


I am blogging on behalf of Visa Prepaid and received compensation for my time from Visa for sharing my views in this post, but the views expressed here are solely mine, not Visa’s. Discover more at or join the Visa Prepaid community at


  1. I like your goals Carrie, they are solid and bold. Building connections is what it’s all about and it’s that kind of focus with relationship that will take you much farther. I like your office as well. I could only be so lucky to have an office of my own, or at least one with out the kids toys in it. I plan to build an office in my basement in a few years after my house is built, because I find that having simple and quiet space to work can really help you get a lot done.

  2. Jacob @ iHeartBudgets says:

    It seems like you’ve been building a foundation that you can stand on once your “secure” job is gone. You’ve planned and networked in a way that I see as sustainable once you’re free. eck, I bet earning will kick into high gear once you don’t have a “J.O.B.” to fall back on. Excited to hear of your progress!

    • Thanks Jacob! I’m thinking the same thing — for awhile I wasn’t as confident but now that I’m taking some serious steps towards quitting my JOB, I think I have a pretty good chance of making a successful transition. 🙂

  3. gerri50 says:

    Now and then I need posts like this to keep me going? One thing that I must say is that I am envious of your work space! I’m sure it will play its part in helping you realise your goals. All the best for 2013.

  4. AvgJoeMoney says:

    The fear of failure is why you’ll succeed. I love the story of Ulysses burning his ships…if there’s no turning back you’ll put 100% of your effort into going forward. That’s my problem sometimes. I have too many “Plan B’s” if my “Plan A” doesn’t work. Screw Plan B.

  5. First of all, I love your new zen workspace. Nice job! My big goal this year is to finish my ebook. I think I’m a little overwhelmed by the thought of it, but I need to just tackle it and get it done. Great,thought-provoking post.

  6. Jordann says:

    This is a great post! In 2012 I had three big goals, and achieved them all within the first six months of the year. In 2013, I have five goals, and they’re definitely going to take a lot more effort to accomplish than last year’s. It’s a little scary, but also great to try and push myself.

  7. Laurie @thefrugalfarmer says:

    Love the new office space: it looks SO peaceful! I tend to be an overachiever/perfectionist type too, so I totally get what you said about not having too many goals. As we’ve recently started on a debt payoff journey, our goals for 2013 will be focused in that area. Good luck with your goals, Carrie!

    • Thank you Laurie! As someone who’s been in your shoes with paying off debt, I know how tough it can be to stick to that goal. But the sacrifice will totally be worth it in the end — keep it up!

  8. Love the desk! I currently use my kitchen table, since I don’t have a lot of space for another desk in another location (and I need desk room for hard drives and monitors). What I do is make small goals that are (hopefully) achievable each month. I just can’t predict how the full year will go. It seems to be working fairly well.

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