Happy New Year!
As you break out the 2016 calendar, you’re probably thinking about the year ahead and wondering what it will hold. You might even be deciding on those resolutions you need to make. Or you’ll get to them later. Or maybe you’ll just eat some leftovers. Looking back at the past and looking forward to the future can be stressful! But the great part about this is we can do this “dreaming” even under a pile of newspapers and sale ads, or a pile of laundry, old mail and wrapping paper.
I talk a lot about dreams on this blog and at LTD 7 (Living. The. Dream.) So what better time is there for me to reflect on goal setting for me and for LTD 7? We all know goal setting better as “New Year’s resolutions.” But whatever what you choose to call them, this January, 2016 is simply a time when we can reassess the past year and set goals for the coming year. Let’s open the new chapter in front of us and appreciate its clean white space. This chapter is called Opportunity and it starts today….
Most people, and I am one of them, tend to focus their goals in just one or two areas, like losing weight (physical) or getting out of debt (financial). But there are actually seven areas in which we can set goals and resolutions. I do okay with a few of them, and I get stuck on a few, too. Even if you don’t know what you want for yourself, yet, there are proven strategies that can help. I use them all the time! These techniques work no matter where you stand in your current situation or what you’re up against going forward, even if you have limited experience with self-improvement and personal development tactics. And even if you don’t know what you really want for yourself…yet.
Let’s walk through them.
Intellectual: Goals in this area might include reading more books or going back to school to get an MBA.
Physical: This one’s pretty obvious. You may want to lose weight, go on a diet, spend more time at the gym, etc.
Spiritual: This may mean spending more time in the Bible or getting more plugged in at church.
Family: Maybe you want to start going on a monthly date night or taking the kids out once a week.
Social: Goals in the social category might include putting yourself out there a little more—saying yes to more parties, or maybe occasionally saying no!
Dream: Is it time for a career change? Or maybe it’s time to start your career. You might also want to set a goal to finally get that promotion or a well-deserved raise. You might decide that this is the year you begin to LIVE YOUR DREAM.
Financial: We all know this one! Bills, budgets, goals, college, vacations, etc.
Here’s the truth about these seven areas. You won’t naturally feel like setting goals in all of them. Some will be easy. Other will be hard. I don’t have any problem with setting family, social and career goals. But intellectual goals and physical goals for me…well, that’s a different story.
Keep all of this in mind as you make your 2016 goals. Pay attention to these seven areas, and remember that it won’t always be easy! But if you make it a priority, you can accomplish what you aim for in the next year.
Let’s explore one particular goal in more detail. It’s the DREAM GOAL and it goes something like this:
Effective. Confident. Energetic. Successful. Connected. Clear-headed. Courageous. Comfortable in your skin. Free from habits that hold you back. Propelled by a sense of purpose. Secure in your zone of inner, creative genius. Driven by your true potential to the point of realizing your dreams. Awakened to the positive changes you’re making in your life and the lives around you on a major scale. Slim, trim, and uninterested in French fries. Yada, Yada, Yada. But seriously, how many times have you wished these qualities would just wash over you, and that you’d wake up one day as an unstoppable version of YOU-the one that is living his or her dream and is realizing their potential.
This year I am ready to push LTD 7 (and myself) even higher. So cheers to the year ahead and another chance to get it right. Write down those goals and resolutions. And then start working on them, one day at a time. A successful year is waiting.
Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other. That’s right, when it means enough to you, then you can do it. When you are willing and committed and persistent, you will get yourself there-every single time. It may take loads of time and buckets of patience, but it’s far better to be exhausted from lots of effort and learning, than to be tired from doing nothing.
I pull out this set of “instructions” I have put together over the years (from the internet powers that be) every January and they help me focus on my dreams and goals for the coming year. I wanted to share them with you. Here are a few of the things I use to springboard myself into what should be a big year for me personally and professionally.
Let’s call them:
LTD 7’s 2016 Inspirations and Kick Starts
Begin. – Remember the feeling you get from taking the first step is far better than the feeling you get from sitting around thinking about it. So get up and get moving. Take the first step this year – just one small step forward. The greatest miracle of your success will not be that you finished, it will be that you had the courage to begin.
2. Let mistakes stay where they belong. –There’s a reason the rearview mirror is smaller than the windshield. Looking at what’s ahead is more important than looking at what’s behind you. Yes, you need to take responsibility for your past, but that doesn’t mean you have to stay there. You can’t be excited about the future if you’re living in the land of regret!
3. Let experience teach you. –Whether it’s those mistakes you’ve made or the unexpected trials that knocked you off your feet, learning from them can be fuel for future success. When asked about his many failed inventions, Thomas Edison once said, “I have not failed 10,000 times—I’ve successfully found 10,000 ways that will not work.” Failure deepens your compassion, forgiveness and empathy. It can give you more self-awareness, improve your skills, and motivate you to work harder.
4. Work hard on the essential. – Don’t be busy, be productive. Don’t track your time, track your results. Put first things first and get them done. And don’t expect your goal to be easy; it’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard you would already have it completed, and so would everyone else. The hard part is what makes it worthwhile. In life there are no shortcuts to any place worth going.
5. Stay true to your path. – A successful life is one that is lived through understanding and pursuing one’s own path, not chasing after the dreams of others. You have to do what’s right for you; no one else walks in your shoes. Keep moving forward, beyond the negative rhetoric echoing from the peanut gallery. Do what you have to do, for you. Live a life you are proud of. And the moment you realize you’re not, find the strength to start over again on a new path.
6.Nurture your self-confidence. – You have everything you need within you to become the best possible version of YOU. Believe that you CAN. Believe that you’re capable of pushing harder and farther than you have before. Believe that you’re young enough, old enough, smart enough and strong enough to achieve your goals. Don’t let false beliefs stop you from moving beyond yourself. And certainly don’t get sidetracked by the people around you who are not on track
7. Be sincerely kind to those around you. – Kindness in words creates positivity. Kindness in thinking creates confidence. Kindness in giving creates love. Kindness is power. Through kindness you have the ability to make a profound difference in every life you touch, including your own. When you guide someone who is lost and confused, when you hold someone who is sad and grieving, when you hug someone who has lost all their hope, you too will feel yourself healing and growing stronger. Remember, the vast majority of positive changes come about in someone’s life simply because one other person cared. When you choose gratitude, you enjoy better relationships, feel better physically and emotionally, improve your self-esteem, and even sleep better at night. There are no downsides to seeing through the lens of gratefulness, but the benefits can radically improve your life!
Be that other person when you can. Set a good example. It’s not about what you say; it’s about how you live your life every day. The people who look up to you are watching you all the time. These people are like sponges – what they see or feel you do, they will imitate. So remember that your words mean a lot less than what you’re doing. Choose to believe that you can and will change lives with what you do each day, and you will. Let your actions speak for themselves. Let gratitude decide your outlook.
8. Accept the things you can’t change. – What you resist will persist. If you are resisting something, you are feeding it. Any energy you actively fight, you are feeding. If you are using negative energy to push something away, you are inviting it to stay. Choose to accept what is, be positive and proactive, let go of the need to control every tiny detail, and embrace peace in the process.