Why is this goofy guy pictured on our post this week? You'll have to read ahead to find out!
So, how are those New Year’s Resolutions going? Statistics (and gym traffic) show many don’t usually get past the first 3 weeks of January!
To get some advice on the subject, I had a chat with Mark Hundley who’s been a Licensed Professional Counselor for 20+ years (no, that's not Mark in the picture!). Mark is qualified to give us some advice because he’s also the author of many books and short stories including Awaken To Good Mourning, the Essential & Practical Guide for Coping with Grief. His newest book, Simply the Best – Strategies for Creating the Best Year Ever, is right up our alley!
Here’s the good news he shared: “you can start a new year every day!” Most of the time we think of a New Year in terms of January 1, a “New Year” can actually begin at any moment in time we choose! One year - 365 days -can begin TODAY!
Here are his 4 simple tips for your “new year”….
1) Take Inventory
How many times do you really sit down and “count your blessings”? Mark suggests taking an inventory at the beginning of any new project, new year, new job, new life change, etc.
Ask yourself “what have I accomplished and what do I have?” Many times we talk ourselves out of pursuing something because we THINK we don’t have the resources. So take the time to list the resources you have. As for skills - are you a good listener, writer, organizer, leader, researcher, teacher, problem solver, arbitrator, strategizer, communicator, people unifier? What about personal assets - do you have money in the bank to fund a project, relationships in an industry? And then there are things you’ve learned – do you have a degree, special training, experience. Have you received any awards - why did you get them?
These are all personal assets only YOU have! And, you can only grow by investing what you have. Mark points to the Biblical principle of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30; Luke 19:12-28) and says we should ask ourselves: “Am I using what God’s given me to advance or am I stationary because I’ve buried my talents?”
TIP: Instead of saying “if I just had X, I could do Y,” take time for a true inventory of what only YOU have!
2) Re-visit Your Dream
Have you lost sight of your dream because you’re stuck in a rut doing your day-to-day thing? Do you even remember what your dream was? Sometimes, it becomes fuzzy or cluttered with other people’s dreams for us (parents, boss, friends, etc.). And this brings us to the goofy guy pictured on our blog post. There was a Love Boat episode where Captain Stubing’s only heir – his 6’7” VERY clutzy nephew – dreamed of being a ballet dancer! Everyone was against him and had a “better” plan for his life (until the end of the episode when it all ends perfectly, of course).
So take time to think about it! What is YOUR dream? Where did it come from? What do you hope to accomplish? Get specific…who is with you, what does it look like, taste like, smell like? And WRITE it down! Studies show that those who write their goals accomplished significantly more than those who did not.
This is a good time to note that a dream is different from a fantasy! Dreams can be tied to very specific thoughts, feelings, goals. For example, a goal is “being debt-free by the end of 2014” and a fantasy is “winning the lottery.” Make sure your dream is about something YOU are doing vs. something that’s happening to you.
TIP: Mark recommends another great book called The Path by Laurie Beth Jones. In it, Laurie outlines how to create a mission statement for your work and your life.
3) Determine Goals
Now, how are you going to get to your dream? To continue with our example from above, becoming debt free happens in a set time frame and there are very specific actions needed to make it happen.
Be sure to place goal markers on the way to your dream. I want to be at X by 2014, so I’ll need to hit Y in 3 months, at Z in 6 months. These help you to know if you’re ON schedule or OFF schedule and help you track your progress.
TIP: Here are four great pieces of goal-setting advice from Mark:
a) don’t be so detailed that you lose site of the end goal.
b) KISS (Keep It Simple, Sweetheart)! It doesn’t have to (and shouldn’t) be a 50 point plan.
c) Don’t get so wrapped up in creating the perfect goals that you don’t ever take action!
d) Make sure each goal is actionable so you can do something on a routine basis.
4) Do Something EVERY Day
Now you have to DO something daily and this is where it gets simple. Determine what you’re going say, do, schedule, etc. on a daily basis. Don’t over-commit by telling yourself, “I’m going to do 5 things every day!” If you commit to doing just ONE thing, then you’ll want to do 2 or 3. But, at least accomplish ONE thing.
Jack Canfield, author of Chicken Soup for the Soul, had a goal of doing 5 simple things each day to promote his book (make a phone call, mention it in a conversation, write a card or letter, schedule a personal visit, etc.)
TIP: When making daily goals, don’t focus on the outcome - focus on what your action is going to be. The results will come! It’s like a pipeline – you can’t focus on what’s coming out, you only have control of what’s going in!
Are you upset about your mid-January New Year’s resolution failure? Remember! You can start a new year every day! Your next 365 days start NOW!