Matthew Ferrara, Philosopher

Thirteen Ideas for Success in 2013

 What will it take to reach your goals in 2013? Matthew Ferrara offers 13 ideas.

What will it take to reach your goals next year? Well, you could wait around for the politicians, economists and technology geeks to dream up with some fancy new program, but really, if that’s your plan, you’d be better off hitting the casino for the holidays. Don’t worry – we have a better idea – thirteen of them, in fact. Even if you only try half of them, you’ll have a better chance of reaching your dreams than, well, just dreaming.

So, let’s get started!

  1. Write down four goals. One for each quarter. Be specific. No fuzzy “have more time, make more money” stuff. Identify targeted, measurable goals: A new car, paid off credit cards, fourteen sales, more sleep.
  2. Do a time study. Manage your time, not your task list. Study last month and analyze what you did each day: Know where your time goes, exactly, so you can use it, purposefully.
  3. Talk to one influencer a day. Pick a past client or a current one, or maybe someone in your industry. Build a “listening period” into your schedule – a few minutes regularly to hear important feedback and see potential growth opportunities.
  4. Measure something. Stop just doing things, and start measuring them. How many leads did you generate? From where? Who were they? Why did they contact you? Learn about what’s happening, to discover how to do it more, or better.
  5. Try four new things. Like goals, set a quarterly learning objective. Adding four new skills or techniques to your personal or professional abilities is an ambitious plan for any year.
  6. Take time off. Humans are not machines. We don’t compute all day, all night. Turn stuff off. Take a break. Make recharging your body and mind as important as any other activity in your growth plan.
  7. Be yourself. Whatever job you’re doing, it’s made better because you’re you. You’re not a brand or a logo or a flyer. Incorporate yourself into your job. Lead, manage, sell or service with all of yourself, not just the part that was trained for your job.
  8. Systematize. Take time to “un-chaos” any part of your day that have become harder because they’re disorganized. Get control of paperwork, task lists, even co-workers, by establishing a process and sticking to it.
  9. Practice focus. Work on one thing at a time. You might be surprised how hard it has become. We’re used to “being distracted” by writing, talking, eating and watching simultaneously. Slow down, my teacher used to say, and you’ll get more done. More important stuff, at least.
  10. Mentor someone. An excellent way to improve your own actions is to teach them to someone else. As you explain the “best” approach to them, you often realize ways to spiff up your own performance, too.
  11. Team up. Find someone who will has similar growth plans and collaborate. Team up while prospecting, marketing, and learning new technologies. Practice, motivate and support each other as you grow.
  12. Plug in. Every day there’s a new and exciting way to leverage technology to work smarter, healthier, more effectively. Or to simply work less. Find one or two and master them next year.
  13. Create. Don’t just produce things, like sales, deals, reports and websites. Create something every week. Leverage your non-work passions: Cook, dance, sing, photograph, write, paint. Make something, express something, and you’ll find it easy to create better outcomes at home and work, too.


  • Great suggestions here Matthew. Oh, how I long for the days of 2003 and ’04 when we only had to come up with 3 or 4 ideas so our lists would match the years. It’s going to be difficult to keep up in 2026:-)
    My new idea this year will be to decide whether I will continue reading a book after the 20th page and 13th line of the 21st page. As I begin a new book, I will put a post-it not at that spot asking – “Stop or Go?”
    I have wasted too much time struggling through books that don’t capture me and make we want to proceed but I’ve always felt I was being undisciplined or a quitter if I stopped. I need to find more books like the Harry Potter series (which I read to my son) or John Grisham and Lee Child thrillers that make me want to wake up early and dig in again. Some books do that, others don’t.
    I need to decide quicker if they do. So fair warning to authors – start with a good stroy, posit a good argument or make your book 19 pages long.
    Happy New Year

  • How fortuitous I found your article Matthew! I’m about to take a career break and needed a little guided inspiration. I love your ideas and will certainly be using them as a framework – thank you!

  • Hi Leona: Good luck on your career break. I’m so glad my ideas might be of help!