“Today is my best day!
– Billy Crystal from the movie “City Slickers”
A new year brings possibilities and potential. The key question is: Will you take advantage of it and truly seize the moment?
In order to do this, there are some critical steps that you need to take in order to fully embrace and engage in what the new year offers you:
- Learn From the Past – I have written about this in other blog posts as well as my Moments book. Success and impact hinge on our ability to learn from the past – both great moments and moments we did not expect – in order to move ahead. Our human nature often reverts to the bad moments, which can sideline us from ever thinking that we will have success in the future, while we discount and forget about the great moments that we experienced. As you begin this year, I would encourage you to look back at the previous year being grateful for all of the moments that have led you to where you are today. Record recurring themes in a notebook and use that as wisdom and inspiration for what you will set your sights on accomplishing this year and the impact that you will make.
- Identify Your Roles and Priorities – It is very important that you understand each of the roles that you play in life and what your most important priorities are. When we step away from our daily schedules and think about these, we realize that our calendar is often out of sync with how we should be investing our time. We travel day by day and week by week prioritizing and reacting to our schedule instead of scheduling our priorities. In this new year, make it a habit to weekly review your roles and priorities, and ensure that your schedule is in sync with how you should invest your precious time.
- Define Your Goals – Goals are important in that they give us a marker to measure our progress and growth. We can either aimlessly wander through life wishing that our dreams would become a reality, or we can write them down, review them often, and advance the ball toward them on a daily basis. The choice is up to you, but it begins with accurately and succinctly defining specific, measurable, achievable, results-oriented, and time-lined goals in order to provide a lane for us to travel. You are 4-5 times more likely to accomplish your goals by writing them down, because it reveals commitment and trust.
- Develop Your Action Plan – Dreams become goals, and goals must be supported by an action plan in order to give you specific instructions on HOW you are going to get there. I may set a goal of reading 24 books in a year, but if I don’t develop an action plan and break my goal down into simple measurable steps, I will be trying to read a lot of books on the last day of this year. You may want to train for a 5K or half marathon this year, but you have to develop a training plan to get there. Whatever your well-defined goals are, develop the proper action plan to help you achieve them.
- Engage An Accountability Group – This last step is for the truly bold. It is one thing to wish something would happen. It is another to write it down. When we tell people about it and verbalize it, our probability of accomplishing it go up significantly, because we now have people who will ask about how we are doing toward reaching that goal. They keep us accountable in the process and on the days where we don’t feel like going farther, and they cheer us on and remind us when we take positive steps toward reaching that goal. You may want to form a group or just reach out to a few individuals, but make sure that you incorporate accountability into your plan this year.
Embrace the opportunity of a new year and make each day count! If you properly prepare and faithfully execute your plan, you will have no regrets at the end of the new year. Moreover, you will see how much you have grown and developed which is even more important than the goals you set and achieved!