Planning Your Path to Success in the New Year


Many people set New Year’s resolutions, but how many people actually achieve them? 

In today’s episode of Retire in Texas, Darryl Lyons takes a unique approach to goal setting, offering valuable insights and personal anecdotes that have guided his journey to success. 

Show highlights include: 

  • The power of establishing attainable objectives and understanding the importance of having a well-structured strategy to reach them.
  • An in-depth explanation of the nine different areas for goal setting.
  • A breakdown of an experiment from Heidi Grant-Halvorson’s book, “Succeed: How We Can Reach Our Goals”.
  • Darryl’s experience with goal setting from a young age, and how it set the groundwork for his personal and professional success later in life.

If you enjoyed today’s episode, be sure to share it with your friends and family!


Hey, this is Darryl Lyons, CEO and Co-Founder of PAX Financial Group. Thanks for tuning in to Retire in Texas. This information is general nature only. It’s not intended to provide specific investment, tax, or legal advice. Visit PAXFinancialGroup.com for more information. Also, grab our e-book, Faith- Based Charitable Giving Strategies for 2024. And also make sure you pre-order, Biblical Responsible Investing. We’ll have a link in the show notes for you and that book will come out January 25th, 30th, somewhere around there. 

Okay, so I’ve done this show before, but I’m going to put a little twist on it. So, if you’ve heard the show on goal-setting before, tune into this one, a little different twist and I think you’ll pick up a few nuggets that are very, very important. Not just kind of important, very important.

But I’ve got to pause just for a second, because it’s been a long year and just say, man, this stock market is doing really, really good. If you haven’t been watching, there’s record highs being hit right now, and it’s enjoyable. Got to admit, it’s been a very, very hard year with all the turmoil and concerns, but in the day, hear me out, the market climbs a wall of worry. All the time. 

But that being said, I want to focus on today’s show, which will be about setting goals, and do not tune out because this is very important. Every year there’s organizations that take inventory of what New Year’s resolutions people are going to make and you would imagine, I’ll give you the top two. You’d probably guess what the top two are.

Number one New Year’s resolution is to exercise more. Number two is to eat healthier. And a new one that’s creeping up there is less time on social media. And so, I want to help you navigate this. I’m always careful to share this with you because it comes off as bragging, but I want to add some credibility to me, if I don’t have it yet, on why I think this process is so helpful. 

I’ve been using a process of goal setting since I was probably 18, that moved me out of a trailer park into getting two degrees, undergraduate degrees, and four and a half years. Paid my way through college, ended up becoming partner of the year, rookie of the year. These are all through goal setting exercises, being very focused on what I wanted in life.

Obviously, you know my faith. This was God opening doors because the Scripture says, “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his path.” You know, I’ve written four books, helped start an international nonprofit, helped PAX get to one of the fastest growing companies in the country, memorized the book of Hebrews. These are all because I’ve done goal setting exercises. Moved up in a very high rank in martial arts, Krav Maga. 

Trying to think what else there’s been, you know, none of that has been a sacrifice for my family. I have a great relationship with my wife. We’re passionately in love, four kids that I date. I just say all that because it’s not as though I have an exceptional amount of talent. It’s just I’ve been very intentional about thinking through life, and I really try to instill this type of behavior into other people, and it doesn’t always translate because I just realize we’re just people. 

We just kind of do what we do. We kind of go with the flow. But I hate to see talented people drift in life because they end up ten years down the road at a place that they didn’t expect. Like, how did I get here?

Well, you know, if you don’t know where you’re going, you’re probably going to end up somewhere else. And I love what Stephen Covey said, he said, “Begin with the end in mind.” And so, I took all this to heart. I guess I grabbed this idea of goal setting early in life, probably went to some motivational conference, ate it up because I was ignorant. I didn’t have a methodology to get out from the situation I was in, so I created some habits about thinking deeply where I was going and being very intentional about taking those steps and it’s been the framework for me to be where I’m at today. 

Again, I’m careful because I don’t want to reach my hand all the way to the back and give me a big pat because this is not done without God orchestrating and opening doors, and a wife that every time I wanted to quit, she told me to stop. So, there’s been a lot of people and a loving God that’s been involved. 

But the data is clear. Let me share with you a brief excerpt from a book I’ve referenced before because it is one of my favorites. Heidi Grant-Halvorson, Ph.D. She wrote a book called, Succeed How We Can Reach Our Goals and I’m going to read you an excerpt from that book.

It’s an experiment she referenced. It was shortly before Christmas break. These professors, teachers, approached students on their way to their final exam and asked if they would participate in a study of how people spend their holidays in modern times. 

Okay? Those who agreed were told that they had to write an essay while home on vacation, describing in detail how they spent their Christmas.

This essay had to be written and mailed within 48 hours of Christmas Day. Half of the students were giving one additional instruction. To decide exactly when and where they would write the essay. So that group, they wrote down this information on a piece of paper, handed it to the researcher, and went off to take their final exams. A few days after Christmas, the essay started arriving in the mail.

The researchers found that 32% of the students who had made no particular plan for when and where to write it, had sent their essay in. Astoundingly, 71% of those who did make a plan, completed their essays. More than twice the number of the non-planners. 

So, let me make sure that you digested that. 32% of the students who made no particular plan for when and where to write their essay had sent their essay in, But, 71% who had a plan, who said yes, this is when and where I’m going to write it. They got the job done. You can find this in Heidi Grant-Halvorson’s book, Succeed How We Can Reach Our Goals. I’m just telling you that when you sit down and say, I’m going to do something, you’d be surprised the power in that. 

It’s something that, you know, people every year write these resolutions, or I guess, you know, think about them. I’m going to lose weight. I’m going to eat healthier. I’m going to spend less time on social media. They all fail. They all fall short. So, let’s talk a little bit about what these goals would look like. So, if you go to, I did discuss this in my first book, Small Business, Big Pressure. This is on page 41, for those who have read the book before.

I have nine areas of goal setting, and it’s important that you don’t overwhelm yourself with these nine areas. You can pick two. You can pick three. You can pick all nine. But the idea is to ask yourself, “If I wake up at this time next year am I going to be proud of who I am? If I have people looking up to me in various ways, whether it’s kids or peers, are they going to consider me a role model?”

And I think these nine areas of life kind of beg questions of maybe we’ve just been comfortable. Now, we’re the richest nation in the history of the world and we are comfortable. The irony of life is that you can be comfortable, or you can grow, but you can’t do both. So, let’s go through these nine, briefly. 

Spiritual- So, one year me and a couple of friends decided to memorize the book Hebrews. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, and like I said, I’ve studied a lot. I have a lot of letters behind my name. I’ve got, you know, my Master’s. This was hard. This was really hard. In fact, we didn’t even finish in a year. Took us beyond a year, but we finished. Do not ask me, do not quiz me because I don’t know it today, but we finished. Praise God. 

I’m not asking you to memorize a book. Maybe a scripture, a month. Maybe a book. I had a friend that said he was going to read a book about something antithetical to Christian worldview, something from an atheist, so he could wrestle with some truth. So that was a good one. Let’s move on to the next one.

Intellectual- This one kind of comes fluid to me, but not everyone. People aren’t reading books anymore. That’s fair, you know, life’s busy. You got your phone. But why not do audio books? And I prefer not to just blanket it. I prefer to identify one specific area and go deep in. That could be the Resurrection, I’m making stuff up now. That could be, I want to understand mutual funds. Again, making stuff up. I want to understand gardening. But go deep in one specific area.

Physical- This is easy, you know, you need to lose weight. You know it. You know, you need to work out more. You know, you need to eat better. This one’s relatively easy. 

Professional- If you’re in a professional field, maybe you work for somebody. You have goals there. This one should be relatively fluid because you have people that kind of put goals on your plate. You can adopt those, or you can add your own.

Financial- A lot of us have financial goals. I want you to get out of debt. The borrower is the slave to the lender, so a lot of us should start there. It’s a breath of fresh air to not have that consumer debt burden. 

Family goals- Some of us aren’t talking to our siblings enough, if at all. And so I think that’s a challenge for 2024. Maybe it’s just taking family members out on dates. That’s not happening enough.

Number seven. Social goals- You know, I’m not a real big social guy, of those that know me. It doesn’t fill me and I have a habit of leaving parties early. I apologize in advance, something I always work on. Some people this is easy, but I have to make goals here for social goals, and so that could be taking friends and family out, double dates. Neighbors, meeting your neighbors. Like a lot of us don’t even know our neighbors anymore.

Recreationally – Number eight. Just trying something new. I know one year I said “I’m going to go. I never shot a deer before. I was in my twenties. I was like, Man, I’m going to shoot a deer this year.” That was my goal. wrote it down, did it. I did it late in the year and then I enjoyed it so much, It’s now become a hobby. It’s kind of what I do every year is I go White Tail hunting or hunting in general. And so, it’s fun because when you challenge yourself even recreationally, you may find yourself kind of falling into a new habit. 

And the last one, altruistically – I’ve got to tell you today, because we speak to so many people about financial topics, I tell you with 100% conviction that people are carrying something heavy right now.

So, the idea of altruism means giving without expecting anything in return. The idea of you doing that and being committed to that process is not only going to benefit others, but obviously benefit you. 

So, I want to challenge you to consider those nine attributes. You can kind of go back and listen to this and write them down.

If you do this, you won’t be bored in your year. You’ll thrive. You write these things down, you share them with your spouse, you do with 100% conviction. Pray it. I pray through these things, and then you go for it. Now, just know that you’re not going to hit all of these. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve fallen short of being bilingual. I can’t tell you how bad I play the ukulele. I mean, there’s a bunch of goals out there that I’ve fallen short, but that’s okay. That’s okay. Swing through to the end of the year and then reassess if you need to build on it or if you need to rip it up. It’s okay if you don’t finish your book but do swing through.

So you set a goal. You’re going to hit some roadblocks, try to push through to the end of the year and then wake up at the end of the year, because these things are going to ebb and flow between where you feel conviction to move forward or you feel discouraged. Butt maturity sets aside those feelings and says, this is what I told myself I was going to do and I’m going to push through that. 

So, with that being said, there’s about a 75% chance that you’ll hit these goals. If it’s a 50% chance, it’s too easy. I’m sorry, it’s too hard. If there’s 100% chance, it’s too easy. So about 75% chance you hit these goals. 

Write them down. Share them with your spouse. I personally like to print them out at Kinko’s. Laminate them, put them in my shower. It’s kind of silly, but that’s kind of what I do. 

So there you go. There you go. 2024 is going to be a really, really good year for you. And it’s going to be because you’ve taken the time to think about what 2024 is going to be living a life by design, not by default.

Thank you for tuning in and remember, you think different when you think long term. Have a great day.

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