Make 2014 the Year You Reach for Your Goals

Taking the time to think about what is holding us back from our dreams has enormous benefits.

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By Stephen Key

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

New Year's resolutions are cliche, but they aren't without value, because taking the time to think about what is holding us back from our dreams has enormous benefits. Unfortunately, most of us don't reassess what we're doing and why nearly often enough. What are your priorities this year? What do you want to accomplish? How do you want to spend your time? And frankly -- what's stopping you?

We all hold fixed beliefs about ourselves. Maybe you secretly think you're not a hard worker or you won't find love. These assumptions, which we may not even realize we believe in, prevent us from getting what we want. Make 2014 the year you force yourself to become aware of them.

Get off the couch and fully embrace the realization that this is your year to do things you've wanted to for so long.

First, stop observing, and start doing. This is one of my priorities for the new year. Stop refreshing your Facebook page. Stop changing your profile picture. Stop pointless updates. (The truth is, no one cares what you had for dinner.)

Between cable TV, Netflix, Apple TV and smart TV ... there's so much to watch. But it's not doing anything for you. Don't spend your precious time on things that don't give you a return. The same goes for YouTube.

Related: Set Goals for This Year With These 3 Questions

Second, realize that you're perfect. It's true: You don't even know it. Be unafraid of appearing as you really are. Our childlike, na?ve sense of wonder and curiosity are some of our greatest assets as entrepreneurs -- and as people, I'd argue. If you're not making mistakes this year, you're doing it wrong. Because making mistakes shows that you're willing to take risks, to put yourself out there, and to dare to be and do a little more.

Third, ask insanely dumb questions -- because there are no dumb questions! Don't stop at reading a book or an article. The very best way to learn is from other people, because you can keep asking them the questions you need and want answered. You may find this advice amusing, coming from a dude who just wrote two books. But my decades of professional experience have taught me that there's only so much you can learn in print. You may feel good after reading one how-to book, but you'll probably search for a second and then a third. Over-saturating yourself with information can lead to inaction. There are no hard and fast rules. For better or worse, everyone learns by doing. There's only so much you can prepare yourself for. Try to not be scared of that.

The reason resolutions fail is because they're not system-oriented. They're not bite-size. We live our lives daily. Think about what you want to accomplish each day and the person you want to be. Start there. A goal is something to reach for, but having a system -- a set of actions -- will actually get you there. I was really inspired by James Clear's December post on the difference between goals and systems. I encourage you to check it out.

There's no reason you can't start today.

Related: Business Lessons That Can Help You Succeed at 2014 Resolutions

Stephen Key

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

Co-Founder of inventRight; Author of One Simple Idea Series

Stephen Key is an inventor, IP strategist, author, speaker and co-founder of inventRight, LLC, a Glenbrook, Nevada-based company that helps inventors design, patent and license their ideas for new products.

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