By Phoebe Farag Mikhail

Read to the end to find out how to win a giveaway copy of Your Best Year Ever by Michael Hyatt, and how to access my newly updated Annual Reflection and Planning Journal tool, which is free to all my email newsletter subscribers.

I must admit that as an avid reader of all things productivity and goal setting, I did not think I would have much to learn from yet another book about goal setting and planning. I especially did not think that a book by a male CEO with several staff to delegate to, a wife at home to care for his children, and the time and resources to devote to extensive goal setting and strategizing would have much to say to me.  I’ve become more selective about the productivity writing out there, navigating towards authors like Laura Vanderkam and Gretchen Rubin, because they, as mothers balancing work and life, are more likely to offer advice that would apply to my situation.

Nonetheless, when offered the opportunity to review Michael Hyatt’s new book, Your Best Year Ever: A 5-Step Plan for Achieving Your Most Important Goals, I signed up. Michael Hyatt is highly respected in the leadership coaching field, and I found his book Platform: Getting Noticed in a Noisy World a useful book as a blogger. I figured it would be an overly optimistic review of time tested goal setting strategies. Instead, I found a very readable and useful book of steps for effectively achieving both personal and professional goals based on some of the latest research on human behavior and motivation. I did learn a few new things, and came away with some useful tools for achieving my own goals in the upcoming year.


First, I learned that regret can be used as a force for change. Drawing on case studies and research, Hyatt discusses regret as part of the “Opportunity Principle.” “Regrets not only goad us toward corrective behavior. Studies show we also tend to feel regret the strongest when the opportunity for improvement is the greatest.” To help readers along with treating regret as “a road sign that points the way to a better future,” Hyatt provides a free online LifeScore Assessment that surveys users on their place in 12 life “domains” (you can take this assessment here).

Second, I learned gratitude can contribute to goal achievement. I have long been aware of how important gratitude is for us spiritually and emotionally, but I did not know that studies show gratitude also contributes to productivity and goal achievement. In this section, Hyatt cites a study by two researchers, Emmons and Mishra, on “grateful and non-grateful goal striving.” The researchers had all participants provide a list of goals for a two month period. Some participants kept a gratitude journal over the same two months.

Ten weeks later Emmons and Mishra checked back and found the grateful participants were significantly closer than others to achieving their goals. Gratitude does not make us complacent, they said. Instead, “gratitude enhances effortful goal striving.”

Hyatt has several explanations for why this might be. My favorite: “Gratitude moves us into a place of abundance – a place where we’re more resourceful, creative, generous, optimistic, and kind.” May Designs has a “gratitude first” notebook that I use as a great daily tool for journaling gratitude and setting daily priorities. Now I realize the science behind why this notebook works.

Gratitude also opens our eyes to the people around us who help us along our path. As we realize the communities we have to support us, we also recognize how we can lean on them (and welcome them to lean on us) for helping us achieve our goals. In Chapter 12, “The Journey is Better with Friends,” Hyatt describes the friendship between C.S.


Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien that led to the publication of The Lord of the Rings (More on their friendship can be found here and here). He points out that while some research shows that sharing goals publicly sometimes backfires because it gives us the sense that we have already accomplished our goals, new studies show that sharing goals with a select community of people that can encourage us and hold us accountable, we are more likely to achieve our goals.

I experienced this firsthand in 2017 when, feeling very much like I needed a writing community, but unable to join face to face groups in my area, I started a small, secret Facebook group with friends who write. Starting this group coincided with my most productive writing year. There are similar types of online and face to face groups for all kinds of goals, such as getting out of debt, reading the Bible in a year, getting fit, and so on.

Your Best Year Ever has many other useful sections. After reading it, I reviewed my goals for 2017 and could figure out exactly why I achieved some but not others, and this has led me to make some changes as I reflect on 2017 and look forward to what I hope to accomplish in 2018. Hyatt also provides templates for goal setting and habit sitting to use as examples. Overall, I highly recommend this book for its insights and tools.

Your Best Year Ever releases today. I have one giveaway copy of Your Best Year Ever. To enter the giveaway, subscribe to my email newsletter and make a comment below on what your favorite advice is for setting and achieving goals. The giveaway closes on January 12th, 11:59 pm, EST. US and Canada addresses only, please.

ALL subscribers to my email newsletter get access to a FREE printable Annual Planning and Reflection Tool. I have updated this tool for 2018, and if you use it, I would love to hear your feedback.

Happy new year! May 2018 bring you many blessings.


Some of the links above are affiliate links. If you choose to make a purchase via those links, I will receive a small commission for referring you at no extra cost to you. You are under no obligation to purchase the items through my links, but if you do, you will be helping support the cost of running this blog and providing you with the writing and reviews you enjoy. Your support is much appreciated!