The beginning of a new year is a good time to review where we are, where we want to go, and how will we get there.
Something else of value is to compare the end of the year with the beginning of the same year and see if anything changed.
How does where you were in your professional and personal life at the end of 2016 compare with where you were at the beginning of 2016? Did you go where you wanted to go? Did you achieve what you wanted to achieve? Why or why not?
What do you have to do differently in 2017 to make the end of 2017 different from the beginning? Now is the time to develop and implement a plan.
Many people make New Year’s resolutions. Many of those who make resolutions do not achieve them.
I think one reason is that many of us do not learn from the old year. What did we do? Why did we do it? Did our decisions and actions achieve the results we wanted? If not, what could we have done differently? What worked, what didn’t? What have we learned?
If you truly want to achieve your goals for 2017, I suggest you first think very strongly and clearly about 2016. Use that knowledge to develop goals and plans for 2017.
May you learn from the old to create the new!
I like dogs, or, more accurately, I like dogs I know and I don’t dislike dogs in general. I’m more of a cat person. I can appreciate, though, how dogs get distracted by the smallest things, such as squirrels. No matter what the dog is doing, a squirrel shows up, and boom—she’s off chasing it. (Okay, cats are basically the same. We just can’t see some of the things that distract them.)
Unfortunately, we humans often “chase squirrels” as well. We can easily become distracted from what we need to do to achieve our goals. Little things constantly come up, and boom—we’re off chasing them.
If we want to achieve the professional and personal life that we want, it is important that we stay focused on our goals and ignore the “squirrels” that constantly chatter at us. It’s acceptable to tell people “no.” It’s acceptable to let unimportant things slide. And although some squirrels are fun to chase, does doing so help you reach your goals?
Are you a squirrel chaser? Could you achieve more if you ignored those darn squirrels?
2015 is completed. It’s over. Did you do what you wanted? Did you accomplish what you planned? Did you position yourself to be where you wanted for 2016?
If yes, congratulations! That is fantastic!
If no, then take what you can learn from it and move on. That’s all any of us can do. It’s a waste of time to moan about it or berate ourselves for it. Decide what you can do differently this year and do it.
What do you need to do in 2016 to position yourself to where you want to be in 2017? 2020? 2030? Setting goals for the upcoming year is great. But to really climb to where we want to be in life, we need to plan further out. If you want to finish a degree in five years, what do you need to do this year to make it happen? If you want to retire in ten years, what do you need to do this year to make it happen?
What do you need to do this year, next year, and the next, to achieve the life you want?
Accomplishing Your Dreams (Video Link)
Previously we discussed that commitment is what turns a daydream into a dream. Creating and implementing a plan is what turns a dream into reality.
We can tell ourselves that we are committed to a dream. Unless we create and implement a plan to make that dream a reality, however, we are not really committed.
How committed are you to your dreams? What are your plans for achieving them? How far have you progressed in implementing your plans?
Dream or Daydream? (Video Link)
We hear a great deal on how we should never give up on our dreams. I think it is extremely important, however, to determine if they are dreams or just daydreams.
Daydreams serve a purpose. They are fun. They can get us thinking about “what ifs.” If nothing else, they are cheap entertainment.
The difference between a daydream and a dream is commitment. If we are not committed to turning our dreams into reality, then it is just a daydream.
For example, I had a daydream since I was a child to go to Ireland. It remained a daydream until I made the commitment to make it happen. When I committed the time to planning and going on the trip and the money to pay for the trip, then it moved from a daydream to a dream. Finally, the dream became a reality.
What dreams do you have? Are they truly dreams, are you committed to them, or are they daydreams? If they are daydreams, do you want them enough to make the commitment to turn them into dreams, and ultimately into reality?
Road Maps and Signs (Video Link)
When we travel, we need a road map. We need a plan to tell us how to get from where we are to where we want to go. We also need road signs. The signs tell us where we are. By comparing the signs to the map we know where we are and what we need to do to get to where we want to go. If the signs tell us that we are somewhere that we did not plan to go, then we know we need to do something to get back on our route.
In our lives, we also need maps and signs. Our maps are our plans—where do we want to go, what do we want to accomplish, how do we get there? The “signs” are those indicators that tell us if we are moving toward our goals or not. For example, are we meeting our sales objectives for the week, month, and quarter? Are we meeting our objectives for contacting new customers? Are we meeting our profit objectives for the period?
Our objectives might also be personal objectives. Are we saving the planned amount each week for a major purchase? Have we made reservations for a vacation? Are we spending the time we had planned with family or friends?
Unfortunately, it can sometimes be very easy to continue to “drive” without checking the “signs” when it comes to our professional and personal lives. Just because we are busy does not mean that we are any closer to our goals. We might just be driving in circles.
Do you routinely check the “signs” that indicate where you are in relationship to where you want to go?