New Year’s has come along once again! What is on our minds year after year is how we want this year to be better than last year. So we make resolutions to change things: ‘this year I will lose weight, go to the gym, stop procrastinating, accomplish business goals, get closer to God ….’ For many, by the third week in January the efforts towards our resolutions fizzle away. We then find ourselves making the same resolutions year after year!
Why does this happen and what can we do about it? What can we do different in 2013 to have staying- power? So that when New Year’s 2014 comes around we can look at our accomplishments of 2013 and set even higher goals for the next year!
First we need to understand something about human nature; Humans are creatures of habits, not of resolutions! Therefore, we must have an action plan, backed by strong reasons of WHY we MUST get it done, to fuel the plan!
Here are some of the things I do every year to enable my habits to change and reach higher and higher year after year!
Every year during the week between Christmas and New Years I work on an intense business and life plan for the New Year. I assess the previous year; what I did and did not get done, write out my accomplishments and search to see how I have grown as a person. I also look to see what habits I need to change so that I can accomplish anything I set out to do in the coming year. I believe having resolutions or goals without changing your habits is only wishful thinking. If we truly want to stick with our goals we need to understand that our nature is to do things with a consistent routine which we are used to and to do what feels “comfortable”. But being content doesn’t get us ahead. In fact it is the beginning of the downward spiral of our emotions.
As you can see in this diagram when we are content or comfortable we can go up or down. If we remain content it leads to boredom and being uninspired which starts the downward spiral. To continue going up we need hope and that is sparked by having big goals and dreams. Otherwise we are sucked into the downward spiral of our emotions and back to our old habits and ways.
“If you’re bored with life – you don’t get up every morning with a burning desire to do things – you don’t have enough goals.” – Lou Holtz
The first thing in starting a business life plan is figuring out Your Dream. Start by answering some of these questions. The more detailed the answer the greater the chances of you being able to visualize yourself actually being able to accomplish them which increases your ability to change your habits so that you can make them happen!
Part 1. The Dream: What is your dream? What are your tangible and intangible goals? Who do you want to become? What are the Top 100 things you want to do in your lifetime? What do you want to accomplish in life? What is your purpose?
Your dream should not only be monetary because money is not the end; it is only a means to an end. For example if you wanted to drill a hole in your wall. You would go to the store to buy a drill to drill the hole. But, is it the drill that you want or is it the hole? You really want the hole; you are just using the drill to get it! The hole represents your lifestyle, your dreams. The money is like the drill; which is the tool you need in order to get it.
“It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
Accomplishing your goals and dreams is a journey. More than the things you will accomplish it’s who you become in the process of hitting your goals that makes it so worth it!!
The second part of the plan is discovering who you are and who you want to become; ask yourself these questions.
Part 2. Self-Discovery: What am I about? What is my faith? Where is my spark? What is my life worth? What are my strengths? What are my weaknesses?
The great thing about discovering yourself is in knowing what to focus on. Which strengths to build up and knowing which weak areas you need to supplement.
“Goals are dreams with deadlines.” – Diana Scharf Hunt
In order to accomplish our dreams we need to have a timeframe, a deadline in which they need to take place. As we know, life “happens”! There is never a “good” time to start working on your goals. The only good time is: NOW!
Start with the end in mind. The end for all of us on this earth is the end of our time. Time is the most precious thing we have! We can’t get back the time we waste, we can’t purchase more of it and we don’t know how much of it we have left. To accomplish all the things you want to do in life you need to reverse engineer you goals starting from the end of your life to present day. What would you want read about you in your eulogy? What mark do you want left on this earth when you’re gone? What will your legacy be?
Part 3. Goals: Divide your goals into four sections: Material/Business, Personal Development, Family/Social, Faith/Contribution. In each of these categories break it down to: Long Term, Short Term and On-going goals. What is it you want to accomplish long term? What do you want to get done this year? What is it you want to constantly do while striving toward your goals? For example your long term goal might be to purchase a house. Your short term goal or goal for 2013 would be to save $20,000 for the down payment and your on-going goal might be to spend less money each month and keep a budget.
“Without goals, and plans to reach them, you are like a ship that has set sail with no destination.” – Fitzhugh Dodson
Once you have your goals for 2013; now you need to break it down to what you need to get done per month, week and day.
Part 5. Daily Prepare a daily checklist of things you need to do to accomplish your yearly goals. It’s also important to put together your affirmations & commitments to read daily so that when you come across adversity you can overcome it and go smoothly over the bumps in the road.
Make a list of your affirmations, daily reminders, true statements you live by, your commitments and your ‘whys’ and put it in a place you know you will see it every day. I laminate my affirmations and hang them in my shower because I know that is the one place I will definitely be every day where I can spend a few minutes reading them!
“He, who every morning plans the transactions of the day, and follows that plan, carries a thread that will guide him through a labyrinth of the most busy life.” – Victor Hugo
To make these goals happen you need to know what you are willing to sacrifice in order to achieve them.
Part 5. Sacrifice What are you willing to give up, in order to make your dreams come true? What good habits will you replace with the bad habits you currently have that might prevent you from sticking with your plan? What routines do you need to change to create new habits?
We all have different things that can stop us from reaching our goal. For some it may be our associations and the people we hang around with for others it might be reading more books instead of watching TV. Whatever it is for you, identify the scenarios that cause you to get back into your comfort zone and come up with alternative things you can do when you get into those situations. Be ready for the challenge and know what you are willing to do!
“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.” – Jim Rohn
The last step is The Strategy – the “how to” behind our Dreams.
Part 6. The Strategy Figuring out this part will differ depending on your type of business and your goals. The important thing to keep in mind when figuring out your business strategy is making the distinct connection between your goals and exactly what steps you need to take to make them happen. How much money will you need to accomplish your dream? What do you need to do to make the money? The amount of action and activity needs to match the size of the goal!
Once you have all your plans in place it is the greatest feeling in the world! You will know exactly where you are at, where you are going and what you need to do to get there!!
Decide to make 2013 the best year ever!!! A real decision is measured by the action you take!
Let’s do it!!