Surely you have a secret goal you’ve never accomplished. I’m not talking about some dream that involves luck (like winning the lottery) but an accomplishment of some kind — like writing a book or building a log cabin or learning to fly. Three years ago, when I first suggested that ETR readers identify and pursue such a goal, I had an unfulfilled dream of my own — to make a movie. It was such an absurd idea. I knew nothing about making movies. I had no contacts in the movie business. I didn’t even have an idea for a screenplay.

Yet, despite everything that suggested my dream was foolish, I decided to make it one of my New Year’s resolutions. If you are a long-time reader of ETR, you know what happened. made a deal with a friend to work jointly on the movie and gradually bought the equipment I needed to do so. By summer, we were ready to begin. I took two weeks off of work and spent 18 hours a day filming a movie that I was actually writing early every morning. The experience was an extremely brutal one. I learned a great deal about my shortcomings.

But, at the end of the summer, I had a movie in the can. It’s not a great movie. In fact, it’s not even a good movie. But it’s a dream. And I did it. What is your dream? Writing a song? Driving a Porsche? Spend a few minutes right now giving yourself permission to imagine yourself doing something that your life keeps telling you that you can’t do. Imagine it and then figure out a way that you can do it. Make that today’s New Year’s resolution. You don’t have to achieve your dream entirely in 2004.

Just determine how much of it you can do in the next 12 months and make that your goal. If you did this last year — and accomplished your dream — I want to hear about it. Please let me know by going to the Speak Out forum on the ETR website (www.earlytorise.com). Your story will inspire other ETRs to do the same. If you resolved to accomplish some impossible dream last year but fell short of your goal in 2003, don’t despair.

Ask yourself: “Were my expectations unrealistic?” “Did I break down my one-year goal into doable monthly goals — and then break my monthly goals down into doable Important but Not Urgent daily tasks?” “Did I try to do too much each day and shirk these tasks because they weren’t Urgent?” Once you’ve figured out why you failed, resolve to succeed this time. Remember, success is what happens after you’ve learned from failing. Congratulate yourself for trying. Make a new, realistic resolution. Get going.