One of the best things about a new year is the feeling of starting over. The start of every year is a chance to turn it all around and make yourself a better person. It's important to evaluate the previous year and decide what you did well and what you would like to improve on not only as a person, but as a pool player.

One of the things that my mentor and I did at the start of every year, was to sit down and work out five to ten goals for the upcoming year. We made a strategic plan about what I needed to work on and what I would like to achieve, and we wrote it all down. Writing your goals down makes them real, and if there is someone you trust, it's even better to share it with them. There are many different ways that you can set goals in pool, so here are a few examples.

1. Win something.

The most obvious goal is a win of some sort. Maybe you think you could win a qualifier for Vegas, or to try to get MVP in your league. If you play a yearly tournament you can try to beat your finish from the previous year. If you gamble, you can try to make your bankroll meet a certain number at year end.

2. Make a weakness a strength.

Pick one thing about your game that you hate, and work on it relentlessly until it becomes a strength. One year I focused on kicking. Another year I focused on mechanics. This year I'm working on my break. In one year dramatic improvement can be made if you focus on one area of your game.

3. Time at the table.

We all lead busy lives and sometimes it's hard to get practice in. If you schedule it in as a part of your week, it's much easier to stay committed. Just like you know you have to go into work certain days at certain times, you should schedule your practice on certain days at certain times. This is especially useful if you have a table sitting in your house. It's very easy to put practice off until later, or get distracted then never get to it.

The most important thing about creating your goals is keeping them realistic, but challenging. Goals that are entirely out of reach will only set you up for failure and make you lose confidence. Goals that are too low will give false confidence, and not lead to any real improvement. An ideal goal should be something that you feel you can reach, but that you've never done before. In an ideal year you should be able to make most of your goals reality, and any goals that you miss should be put on the list again. From experience, I can tell you that nothing feels better than looking at that list at the end of the year and seeing all of the amazing things that you achieved.

Happy New Year!