Editor’s Note: Happy New Year!

To start the new year off right, take a lesson from the great Mark Ford on how to accomplish your goals.

It’ll make your New Year’s resolutions a reality.

– Katherine Koman, Assistant Managing Editor

Take out a sheet of paper. Title it “Life Goals” (if you have no shame) or “Stuff to Do Before I Croak” (if you are afraid someone will see it).

Now make a list of everything you want to accomplish. Everything. Making a lot of money. Writing books. Traveling to Rome. Learning to tap dance. Write till you are done.

Let it sit for a few hours. Even a day. Then narrow the list down to your top 10 choices. After that, take another rest. Now make another cut. This time you have to select your top four goals. (Imagine your obituary. What would you want said about you?)

These are your Life Goals, your top priorities, your bottom-line objectives. Now of the four, pick the one that is numero uno. On a separate sheet of paper – or perhaps on an index card – write down these four with your first choice on top. Highlight that one.

The plan you are about to learn will pretty much guarantee that you’ll achieve all four objectives before you die. It will definitely allow you to complete the first one.

How good is that? Consider this: If you haven’t done these things yet and you’re older than 30, there is an 80%-plus chance you won’t finish them… ever.

Unless you follow this program.

Okay. Here’s what you need to do now. Convert those four goals into five-year objectives. For example, let’s say that one of your Life Goals is to have a net worth of $10 million. And let’s say that you want to retire in 10 years. You might make “having a $5 million net worth” your five-year goal.

You are going to use this five-year list to create a one-year list. And you will use the one-year list to create monthly lists. And you will use the monthly lists to create weekly lists. And the weekly lists to create daily lists.

I know, I know. But it works. It really works.

Tomorrow you can worry about turning your five-year plan into a daily to-do list. For today, just focus on getting the big four picked out.

Do that and think about this: If you make these your priorities, you will almost surely have to sacrifice other, lesser interests to achieve them. And to make sure you complete your top goal, you may have to compromise even some of the other goals in your top four.

But the good news is that you will definitely achieve your primary goal… and you will have a much better chance of finishing the other three than you would ever have otherwise.

Just a little something to think about for the coming year.

Good investing,