19 Entrepreneurs Let Us In On Their Goals For 2013 & Key Insights From 2012

Now is the perfect opportunity.

As we start 2013 we have a brand new year ahead of us. We have another 365 days (358 now!) to utilise and progress us towards where we want to go in life.

When it comes to December this year, what is your life going to look and feel like?

  • How is your life going to have changed?
  • What improvements would you have made?
  • What connections and new relationships will you have?
  • How much closer are you to living your ideal life?

Those that set goals are much more likely to be successful and happy than those that don’t. In addition, those that set challenging and specific goals are much more likely to be even more successful and happy than those that just set goals.*

If you’re new to setting goals, don’t worry. You have the opportunity to be guided through this process as well as develop your supporting strategy with clear, actionable plans in our launch of next weeks Change Your Life program.

What about those that have already been successful in their pursuits?

When it comes to goal-setting, how do these individuals reflect and as well as plan for the year ahead?

I asked a number of entrepreneurs and industry experts a couple of questions to help us gain an insight into how their minds operate when it comes to reflection and goal-setting. Here, we are not asking them about the process that they go through when it comes to goal-setting, rather we are gaining an insight into their mindset. We find out what they have learned and what types of goals they set themselves.

How do these individuals feel about thier achievements and what they have accomplished? And what goals do they actually set for themselves?

The two specific questions I asked each person were:

 “What has been your biggest achievement and/or learning in 2012?”

“What is your biggest goal for 2013 and how will you achieve it?”

The insights you get from each of these entrepreneurs is fascinating.

You will gain insight into each individuals’ values and the importance they place on different areas of their life. You will learn the importance that these individuals place on goal-setting. You will also learn some of the struggles these individuals have faced but importantly, what they have learned from these.

This is a fantastic read and I have read over each of these a few times!

Thanks for all the contributions from those entrpreneurs that are listed here. It really does mean a lot not only to me, but to the whole Start of Happiness community.


Chip Conley

ChipConley.com .

Built a Hotel at Age 26

New York Times Best Seller

TED Talker

  “What has been your biggest achievement and/or learning in 2012?”

“My biggest learning in 2012 was that a new calling may surprise you. For 24 years, I was founder and CEO of Joie de Vivre Hotels and it was a calling until a new calling (writing and speaking) came along. Then, in early 2012, I started dreaming about the collective effervescence of festivals I’ve experienced from Burning Man (I’m on the Board) to the Day of the Dead in Mexico.


“What is your biggest goal for 2013 and how will you achieve it?”

I came to realize that my new calling is to be the world’s leading expert on festivals and my goal for 2013 is to launch a website featuring the 300 best festivals in the world (fest300.com) with a matchmaking function that helps you find the perfect festival for your personality and travel needs. The key lesson here is be open to the call and look for what’s happening in your dreams as it may be a foreshadowing of what’s supposed to happen in your reality.”



Lori Deschene

Tiny Buddha

Taking Simple Wisdom and Applying it in our Lives

 “What has been your biggest achievement and/or learning in 2012?”

“Though I’m excited about a lot of the developments on tinybuddha.com, including a collaborative book I’m about to complete, the thing I feel most proud of for 2012 is my involvement in my sister’s wedding. As her Maid of Honor, I put a lot of time, thought, and effort into organizing events for her. Especially as someone who lives 3,000 miles away from my hometown, I felt grateful that I was able to make so many visits, take part in the planning, and share in the celebrations with my family.


“What is your biggest goal for 2013 and how will you achieve it?”

For 2013, my biggest goals are to sell a screenplay I wrote with my boyfriend, and spend extensive time traveling internationally. As for how I plan to achieve these goals: intention, effort, connection, and course correction as I go!”


Sibyl ChavisSibyl Chavis

The Possibility of Today

Opening Up the World to the Possibilities of Today

  “What has been your biggest achievement and/or learning in 2012?”

I think my biggest achievement for 2012 will be finishing my book. This was such a huge undertaking and when I began it, I literally had no clue what I was getting into. But, it’s been an amazing part of my journey and what I focused a significant amount of attention and effort on in 2012.

The learning that seems to be the biggest for 2012 is the spiral that must be traveled up anytime you are trying to take something that is at first only a possibility and turn it into a reality. I actually call this your Possibility Spiral and I have learned that there are specific things we always must do to make it up our Possibility Spiral.


“What is your biggest goal for 2013 and how will you achieve it?”.

I actually haven’t set my 2013 goals yet. I am a believer in setting goals, but I probably will not get around to setting them until early January. Although I definitely set goals, I do think one of the most important things we can ever do is keep our attention focused on the experiences and things that are in front of us today. At the present time, that’s where all my attention is focused. I am trying to finish my book and experience every moment in front of me to the best of my ability. So, for right now, it’s all about the Possibility of Today :) But I will eventually get to goals for 2013.”


Celestine Chua

Personal Excellence

Personal Development Guru

  “What has been your biggest achievement and/or learning in 2012?”

“Biggest achievement in 2012: Finally turning Personal Excellence into a passive income business, with 95% of my income coming from passive sources and 5% from active ones. I can literally not do anything and still have income coming in every month. Of course, this isn’t the reason why I started PE of course—I do what I do because I love helping others to achieve their highest potential, and this is what I will continue to do till the day I die.


What is your biggest goal for 2013 and how will you achieve it?

I don’t set goals anymore. Since 2012, I’ve been living based on intuition and it has been going great. The reason why it has gone so well is because I have honed the logical part of my mind (associated with goal setting) for the first 27 years of my life, and I feel the next few years of my life is about developing the intuitive part of me.

My biggest intention post 2012 is to continue to expand the reach of Personal Excellence and perhaps launch my video channel to spread my message further. How do I intend to achieve it? By the steps that have gotten me this far today—sharing more of myself, relentlessly and in an unadulterated fashion, on Personal Excellence. I feel the rest will fall in place in their own time.”


Evita Ochel


Consciousness Expansion Author and Speaker

  “What has been your biggest achievement and/or learning in 2012?”

My most meaningful experience of 2012 was embarking on a long distance hike on foot—a BIG first in my life, down the Oregon coast of the US. This experience taught me to push my physical boundaries and personal comforts in ways that I never needed to, or had before, and ended up being one of the richest and most rewarding experiences of my life.


What is your biggest goal for 2013 and how will you achieve it?”

I do not actually set goals in my life as I do not seek to achieve some specific outcome, but rather live through conscious creation of each moment. I apply the power of focused intention to create my life consciously and for 2013 simply intend to do more of that, enjoying whatever creative expressions resonate with me in any given moment.”


Colin Wright

Exile Lifestyle .

Moves to a new country every 4 months and maintains an income while living that lifestyle.

  “What has been your biggest achievement and/or learning in 2012?”

“Something that I learned in 2012 is that I shouldn’t be afraid to write fiction.

It sounds like a really simple lesson, but I’d told myself for so long that I was a nonfiction writer that for some reason I wouldn’t even allow myself to try. As soon as I did, I realized how much I enjoyed the process and craft of it.


What is your biggest goal for 2013 and how will you achieve it?”

In 2013, I want to continue to hunt down and kill all the other little barriers I’ve constructed for myself so that I don’t spend another moment missing out on things I might enjoy!”


Maren Kate

Escaping the 9 to 5

Created a Startup of ‘Zirtual Assistants’ to escape the 9 to 5

   “What has been your biggest achievement and/or learning in 2012?”

The biggest achievement/learning experience has been fine tuning the art of diving deep into a part of my business, ensuring it produces epic value, and then systemizing that area and handing it off to someone else. 


“What is your biggest goal for 2013 and how will you achieve it?”

The biggest goal for 2013 is to be truer to myself, which in turn will allow me to become more true to my company’s needs.


Joe Wilner

Shake Off the Grind

Author and Life Coach

  “What has been your biggest achievement and/or learning in 2012?”

“The biggest achievement from 2012 was writing and releasing my first ebook Trigger Positive. The motivation for this book was about my journey to greater well-being and happiness. I have grown a lot but as I reflect on the past year I realize how personal growth and transformation is an ongoing process. Writing the book has helped me realize that happiness is something we can create if we are willing to work on ourselves.


What is your biggest goal for 2013 and how will you achieve it?”

For 2013 my major goals related to my online platform are to double my coaching clients and release an ecourse through Shake off the Grind that will help others live to their potential and be the best-version-of-themselves. This will be available next fall. I will be reaching out to experts around the web to offer their wisdom on cultivating potential in different areas of life.”

Barrie Davenport

Barrie Davenport

Live Bold & Bloom

Author and Career & Life Coach


“Whathas been your biggest achievement and/or learning in 2012?”

“My biggest achievement for 2012 was launching a new website, BarrieDavenport.com, an expert site devoted specifically to helping people uncover and live their life passions. This launch has been thrilling for me as so many of my readers on my original blog, Live Bold and Bloom, have expressed a real hunger to find something that makes them come alive. Also, while preparing the new site, I have written a book called The 52-Week Life Passion Project. It provides weekly lessons and actions to help readers learn more about who they are, what they want in life, and how to go about getting it.


What is your biggest goal for 2013 and how will you achieve it?”

My biggest goal for 2013 is to continue to grow my readership at BarrieDavenport.com and to create and launch my course called The Path to Passion. Growing my readership evolves from writing really useful articles, connecting personally with my readers, and writing guest posts for other related sites. Creating the course involves the daily discipline to work on it over the next few months.Setting a public deadline for the course to launch helps keep me accountable!”


Corbett Barr

Expert Enough

Helping People Become Experts

  “What has been your biggest achievement and/or learning in 2012?”

“The biggest thing I learned this year is that beating yourself up over progress on a short-term (day-to-day) basis is unnecessary and counter-productive. Real, meaningful progress towards important goals happens over the long-term, and small consistent daily actions are all it takes to get there.


What is your biggest goal for 2013 and how will you achieve it?”

My big personal goal for next year is to build my business to new levels of financial success while simultaneously making the business easier to manage and more fun to be a part of. I plan to reach this goal by getting other people involved with the business who bring different skills and perspectives to the table.”


David Cain


Getting Better at Being Human

  “What has been your biggest achievement and/or learning in 2012?”

My biggest achievement was to become an outgoing person. One day I just decided I would release all attempts to control other people’s impressions of me. Overnight, I stopped caring whether people liked me, and suddenly almost everyone liked me. I lost my fear of speaking to strangers. I have twice as many friends, social engagements make me excited instead of nervous, and I have never had so much attention from women. The most interesting part was learning that a change like that can happen so suddenly.


 “What is your biggest goal for 2013 and how will you achieve it?”

My biggest goal in 2013 is to begin earning money from my business. I will create something my audience wants, and sell it. That’s my business model. I don’t need it to be simpler than that, and I think the simpler it is the quicker I’ll be able to gain momentum.


Therese Schwenkler

The Unlost

Helping the young and confused find their way

“What has been your biggest achievement and/or learning in 2012?”

My biggest (re)learning in 2012 has been that life isn’t a straight line– it’s a scribble-of-a-process, one that’s full of ups and downs, learnings and unlearnings, and forgettings and rememberings. I’ve (re)learned how safe it is to trust the process and to have faith in life, even when things don’t make sense in the moment.


“What is your biggest goal for 2013 and how will you achieve it?”

In 2013, my biggest goal is to center my life and my work around two words: transparency and community. I aspire to be transparent, honest, and real about who I am, what I’m feeling, and what I need– to live congruently from the inside-out and to build trust with each word I speak and each action I take. My strength this year will come from being rooted in community. I’ll be focused on building The Unlost community in new ways and in HELLA larger numbers!

Tim Brownson

A Daring Adventure

Author and Life Coach, helping people journey to a better life

 “What has been your biggest achievement and/or learning in 2012?”

“My biggest learning was that I am not impervious to stress and that I shouldn’t drop my guard or my meditation practice just because I’m a Life Coach, especially when things get hectic.

My biggest achievement was probably doing a parachute jump on my 50th birthday, something that had scared the living daylights out of me for two decades. It was awesome!


 “What is your biggest goal for 2013 and how will you achieve it?”

Biggest goal for 2013 is to get at least 10,000 downloads of my latest free ebook ’70 Amazing Facts About Your Brain’ that publishes in January. I’ll hopefully achieve that by some good old fashioned favor asking from other bloggers, an Amazon launch and being a total publicity whore ;-)”


Scott DinsmoreScott Dinsmore

Live Your Legend .

Helping others find their passion and do work they love


“What has been your biggest achievement and/or learning in 2012?”

“My biggest learning is to set goals that are in your control. Don’t set a goal to get 10,000 customers or followers, set a goal to write a certain number of articles a week for other sites, which will eventually get the word out and likely get you to that 10k. Same goes for fitness or anything. Do the actions consistent with losing weight but don’t focus on the actual weight. Eat the right things and put in the miles, etc. The other results will follow.


 “What is your biggest goal for 2013 and how will you achieve it?”

Big plan for 2k13: To give our community at Live Your Legend the tools to allow each member to become their own leader of our movement to get the world to do the work that makes them come alive and to have live in-person events held in 20 countries. That’s when we can really start to change the world.”


Sean ogle

Sean Ogle

Location 180 .

Helping people build a business from anywhere


“What has been your biggest achievement and/or learning in 2012?”
“I think my biggest achievement (although it’s not really mine) is the fact I’ve directly helped around 50 people quit their jobs this year.  That was one of my published goals in January, and to see the progress some of these people have made and how drastically different their lives are now really makes me feel like I’m on the right track.
“What is your biggest goal for 2013 and how will you achieve it?”

In 2013 I hope to continue doing more of the same stuff but on a greater scale.  This is going to get done by discipline.  Recognizing that I need to continue moving forward because as soon as I rest on past accomplishments it all goes away.”


Henri Juntilla

Henri Juntilla

Wake Up Cloud .

Helping People Turn Their Passion Into a Thriving Lifestyle Business

 “What has been your biggest achievement and/or learning in 2012?”

“My biggest learning in 2012 doesn’t have anything to do with goal-setting and success, yet it has everything to do with it. The learning is about breaking free from the shackles of your mind. We all have fears, desires and everything in-between, and they make us suffer. We live in the future, hoping for a better today. The problem is that while we live in that dream world, we miss out on the present moment, which is all we’ll ever have.

When you see that you are not your thoughts. You are not the dance, but the dance floor. Everything changes. You can let worries, fears, and anxieties be there, but you don’t have to do anything about them. When this shift happens, that inner voice of wisdom becomes stronger, and with it, no goals are really needed. And external success becomes less important, because you already have everything you seek, which is happiness and peace of mind.

You can still set goals, of course, but don’t think that anything external can make you happy, because what you seek, you already are.


Farnoosh Brock

Farnoosh Brock

Prolific Living .

Helping People Create Smart Habits for Rich Living

“What has been your biggest achievement and/or learning in 2012?”

2012 marked my first full year in business (April since officially starting my company) and it marked a year since I had left my corporate job. It was a big milestone to know that every month and every day has been a progress toward the kind of success I envision for my business, but one of the big struggles I wanted to overcome was the emotional roller coaster of having your own business. It’s much better than what I call the “corporate numbness” but it still gets to you.

I wanted to be OK with not clearing a certain amount every month and to let my creativity take form and shape before I unleash it, I wanted to be OK with getting criticism and with making bolder decisions, I wanted to be OK with failing even after I’ve been at it for a while, and with pushing myself harder, and I wanted to be totally OK with who I was becoming through my business and my writing and I have to say that’s my biggest learning and accomplishment. I did much better than 2011 and that’s what we can aspire to, doing better than the day before.


“What is your biggest goal for 2013 and how will you achieve it?”

For 2013, I am moving into it with a big chain. My husband just quit his corporate job to come work for me full-time, so we are going to take our business to a brand new level. We have a terrifying and adventurous road ahead and my goal is to build a thriving business while building a partnership around work with my soul-mate.”

Peter Clemens

Peter Clemens

The Change Blog .

Helping People to Change Their Lives

 “What has been your biggest achievement and/or learning in 2012?”

“The highlight of 2012 was without doubt the birth of my twin boys in May. Apart from this event, 2012 has been a year of steady growth without any major changes. Importantly, though, I’ve gained a lot of clarity about my future and have begun to lay the groundwork for some big changes.


“What is your biggest goal for 2013 and how will you achieve it?”

So 2013 is going to be about focus and execution around my plans – I’m really excited.”

Alex Blackwell

Alex Blackwell

The Bridge Maker .

Helping People Find Simple Paths for Positive Change

 “What has been your biggest achievement and/or learning in 2012?”

“My biggest “A-Ha” moment in 2012 was when I realized that I wasn’t always following the same advice I give so many readers. The first step I took was to replace the time-wasters from my to-do list with things that are more honest, true and full of love.


“What is your biggest goal for 2013 and how will you achieve it?”

My plan for 2013 is to stay grounded with what are the most important things in my life – my family, marriage and health, and to stay away from the things that distract me or waste my time.”


Thank you so much to all the individuals above for their contributions, it was fantastic to gain an insight into your own goals and personal lives!

I’d like to open up the conversation to all The Start of Happiness readers.

What has been your biggest achievement and/or learning in 2012?

What is your biggest goal for 2013 and how will you achieve it?


P.S. Next week is the big one! The Change Your Life program launches next Monday, 14th January. Be sure to check in as there are some giveaways during launch week. Here’s to making 2013 your best year yet!


* Locke, Edwin A.; Shaw, Karyll N.; Saari, Lise M..; Latham, Gary P. (1981), “Goal Setting and Task Performance: 1969–1980”, Psychological Bulletin (American Psychological Association)


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  1. says

    Love the different but clear advice dished out. I’m currently working on Scott’s recent workbook on goals and such!

    Best achievement for me: It took many months but finally started my site in early September to share my findings and ideas. Worked on solely building a community, not monetary.

    Goals: Continue to work at community. Provide at least 1 value piece for just subscribers to build up value for them. Also want to start some side freelancing to build up a side income. This is going to be a growth year-!

    Love it Brendan!

    • says

      Hey Joe,

      Congrats on getting up and running and building your community!

      It’s great that you’re doing something you love and you’re going after it. I’m keen to track your progress… keep it up!

  2. says

    Such great insight!

    It’s cool to see the different approaches each person takes with their own life. Some are big goal setters, while others prefer to follow an intuitive path. It just goes to show that there is more than one road to the top.

    My favorite quote comes from Lori Deschene: “As for how I plan to achieve these goals: intention, effort, connection, and course correction as I go!” Love it!

    For myself, my one goal for 2013 is to seek out challenge. I plan on following the path of most resistence to see where it leads. The easy path never led me anywhere, so it’s time to follow the hard path.

    Thanks for the great article!


    • says

      Hi Trev,

      You got it right… there’s always more than one road to the top. In fact, to get to the top you really need to build your own road. Each of these individuals have been successful in their endevours but are all from different backgrounds and doing different things.

      I LOVE the fact that you’re setting yourself up for challenge this year. Challenge is often difficult, but challenge is also where you see the most growth. And your steak and eggs diet… to me, that’s a challenge :)

    • says

      Thanks for sharing your mind, Tim!

      Agree. I just re-read Alex’s comment again. I think it’s something we all experience in human nature. We know the path and know how things get done, however it is hard to be switched on 100% of the time to take that action.

      Great call!

  3. says

    Hi Brendan,
    This is such a wonderful collaboration of voices and views to share with others. I enjoyed reflecting on the questions you asked, and reading the replies from others helps each of us expand our perceptions about how we can create and manifest in life.

    Thank you for your efforts in putting this together. I have no doubt it will be a valuable resource for many :)

  4. Brad Foster says

    Great post!

    My biggest learning from 2012 is that balance is key to happiness ( and success). I need to do this more.

    Goal for 2013 is to create that balance in my life! And also work on designing an app that is going to change lives.

    Keep up the great work! It’s awesome to be a part of this!

    • says

      Brad, you nailed it!

      Balance is the essential ingredient for happiness. Many people (myself included) start working so so hard towards one particular area of their life that it has a detrimental effect on others. We all have a certain amount of time to play with. Using that time and creating balance is essential for fulfilment and happiness.

      I’m excited to hear about this app as well. Keep us updated!


  5. says

    It was awesome that you were able to get so many examples and participants for this post. Great stuff – some good lessons here.

    Evita’s point about “I do not seek to achieve some specific outcome, but rather live through conscious creation of each moment.” is an interesting one. The great debate between goals and just having intention (Zen Habits). Always a fascinating topic.

    • says

      Hey Aaron,

      Agree :) I think there’s a balance between the two. My view is that you need to at least understand where you you want to end up longer-term to help you make the right decisions when ‘conciously creating each moment’. I’m not sure Evita does this but it would be interesting to find out.

  6. says

    Good stuff Brendan! While I admit I am still learning from my experiences in 2012, the most evident lesson has been that the best way to get out of my own head is to encourage others. Two years ago I changed the rules on annual goal setting and since January 1st of this year we have been chronicling the steps in a series called ‘New Years RESTITUTIONS’. Instead of setting your self up for frustration with unrealized resolutions, you can plan for small, incremental changes in your daily life that will snowball over time to create lasting improvements. It’s all about being honest and realistic with yourself, but most of all, being consistent.

    • says

      Hey Byran,

      I love your approach! Small incremental steps can lead to massive change. It’s great that you focus on returning back to the ‘real you’… that’s what it’s all about. Understanding and living the authentic you.

      Keep it up!

  7. says

    Hi Brendan,
    Thankyou for the article. I love to hear people who are already doing what I want to do or on the same path as me.

    My biggest learning of 2012 is that I just can’t conform and get a ‘normal job’ anymore, which I suspected but finally accepted.

    And my biggest goal of 2013 is making my income from my business sustainable and consistent.


    • says

      Hey Ben!

      That is seriously an AWESOME learning and goal! I love this… it’s purely following what you truly believe, following your passion and understanding yourself.

      LOVE IT!!! Let me know how you progress.. I’m very keen to hear!


  8. says

    Hey, great article. Really insightful to see the feedback from so many great figures. And a big thanks for introducing me to Colin Wright. It looks like he’s living a similar lifestyle to me and it’s great to find others like that.

    My two biggest achievements in 2012 were:
    – releasing my selfmade video clip for my new CD and having it get over 400k views! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dckA77QRztE
    – successfully moving to the south of france when I knew nobody and could barely speak the language.

    My biggest goal for 2013 is to maintain my lifestyle without getting a job… it’s going to take some ingenuity and real effort this year. But the effort I’ve put in over the past few years should help me along.

    Thanks for the post man

  9. says

    Wow that was unusual. I just wrote an really long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear.
    Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again.
    Anyway, just wanted to say wonderful blog!

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