This is the time of year I pull out my goals that I wrote back on January 1st and see just how many of them I’ve actually accomplished. I also like to really reflect on the last twelve months and determine what lessons I’ve learned and how I will apply them to the rest of my life.

Normally my goal setting is casually done in about 20 minutes on New Year’s Day. I make myself some hot tea, sit down in front of my laptop, and quickly type up my intended forecast for the upcoming year. I usually have a general idea of what I want to see happen so it’s really only ever been a matter of simply transferring those wants to a Word document. This past New Year’s Day I went about it a bit differently…

At that time I was kinda dating a guy that lived in New York and we had attended a New Year’s Eve soiree in the city the night before. We had a great time at the party, but for some reason I was feeling extremely disconnected. My business was starting to take off and with that came all the predictable headaches and tribulations that accompany growth. I was also experiencing major anxiety about a lot of personal things in my life. I felt a desperate need to be alone with my thoughts, so that night I slept on his couch.

There I was, on a couch in a big dark room in Brooklyn. The Christmas tree still stood erect in the corner, and I remember thinking how beautiful it was when it was illuminated and glowing, with loads of presents under it and images of countless smiles reflecting from the shiny bulbs that hung from it. Now it sat in the same corner of that same room, but dark and dismal and lonely with no presents left under it. For a moment I related to that tree. I felt like my brightness had been temporarily dimmed, not because I wasn’t capable of shining, but because I needed to turn the switch back on and illuminate myself once again.

I opened my laptop and instead of quickly typing my resolutions, I dug deep and really got specific this time. Instead of saying something like, “Spend most of my time with positive people”, I would clearly state, “I will finally release any and all negative people in my life and will surround myself with power and positivity. I will be unstoppable because there will be absolutely nothing that can stand in my way. If anyone in my life is having a negative effect on me, no matter how small or trivial it may seem, I will learn to weed them out as quickly and efficiently as possible. My powerfully positive attitude will prevail.”

The goals I wrote were as detailed and specific as I could make them, and while some were a bit lofty, all of them were attainable with the right amount of hard work and determination.

I tediously worked on my goals until the sun came up, then I showered, packed, and went to the airport. As far as I was concerned, that was going to be the last of Brooklyn Boy, not because he wasn’t a great guy (he still is), but because I couldn’t afford to have one single person or thing distract me from what I needed to accomplish in 2011.

I’m not going to list all of those accomplishments here, but I am going to tell you that although it wasn’t easy, I was able to somehow manifest each and every one of them.

Here’s what I’ve learned about specific goal-setting and the power of meditation: getting what you truly want oftentimes takes losing what you think you need. I’m going to say that again: getting what you truly want oftentimes takes losing what you think you need.

That being said, 2011 was undoubtedly the most challenging year of my life. Looking back retrospectively I now realize that the toilsome challenges had to take place in order for the rewards to come to fruition.

In only twelve short months, I went through a series of events that would normally take an entire lifetime for one to experience. Everything from heartbreak, betrayal, death in the family, new business partnerships, legal issues, law suits, marriage proposal (I refused), an insane amount of travel (I was on an airplane almost every single week), being forced to deal with some major issues from my past (but finally able to put it all behind me), victimized by a professional con artist, stalked by a creeper, and LOTS of other insanely difficult situations…all the while trying to somehow be a decent mother to a 12-year-old boy. Whew.

However, 2011 has, by far, also been the best year of my life! I’ve been blessed with new relationships and a flourishing business and I’ve been able to experience things that I would have never dreamed possible. I have overcome so many obstacles and cultivated such tremendous personal growth that I am practically an entirely new person. It was as if I did a hardcore water fast and my body detoxed at a dangerously uncomfortable rate, clearing out old diseases and rapidly dissolving scar tissue, finally revealing a healthy and vibrant body. Having also been through the pangs of physical healing myself and knowing the symptoms firsthand, I must admit that emotional healing is a hundred times more rigorous and challenging, but brings the lasting reward of wisdom and a much better life.

So how can you reach your goals in 2012? I attribute my monumental 2011 to the way I approached my goals and then refusing to lose focus on them. You’ve got to be specific with your goal setting and never, ever abandon those goals. Write them out in detail, meditate on them daily, and make sure you are ready to deal with the obstacles that could surface when your goals start to manifest. Remember that any suffering you will most likely encounter is only temporary. A caterpillar, no matter how exhausted from struggling to get out of its cocoon may be, never decides to give up. Don’t allow yourselves to quit before becoming the butterfly you were meant to be. :)

Happy New Year and Carpe Diem!