The turn of the calendar year brings on the best opportunity for change; it brings a fresh new outlook on life and the opportunity to form new habits and to create a new beginning. Whether it be in your personal life, your career, or a bit of both, don’t let this opportune moment pass you by without taking the time to evaluate your direction. Reflect on your previous year, consider your priorities for this upcoming year, set goals and take action on your 2007 path.
To know where you’re going, you’ll want to take a look at where you’ve been. Don’t hesitate to celebrate the successes and reflect on the failures of your past year; you’ll be better able to decide on what your priorities are with the big picture in mind.
Setting priorities helps you define who you are and what is important to you. Through the myriad of possibilities you can achieve in this lifetime, decide what is truly important to you at this time. Select approximately half a dozen priorities that you want to invest your time and energy in, and focus on those items to help you determine where to spend your time. For example, “My spirituality, my family, continuing my education, my financial growth and my health are priorities that are most important.” Try to then prioritize your priorities. Although difficult, it can be an interesting revelation to know what priorities take precedence over others.
Set your goals to be in line with your priorities. Remember that S.M.A.R.T. goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Trackable. Setting goals is like drawing your own personal map – charting out just what accomplishments you intend to put your attention toward. I’ve always said that written goals are already 50% done. This is because when you ink them, and review them regularly, they are constantly in the back of your mind, steering you toward the direction that you intend to travel.
Goal setting is one step. Action is another. If you wanted to run a marathon, you wouldn’t wait until the last week before the race to begin training would you? The best way to take action on your goals is to visualize the end result. Take time to be still, see it, feel it, and live it in your mind. From there, decide what progress you need to make monthly, weekly and daily to ensure that your new beginning manifests. The distance between goals and results is ACTION. Ask yourself what can you do right now to get where you want to go, then do it!
When you determine your priorities, set goals and take action toward achieving them, you are choosing how and where to invest your time and energy. We can choose how to spend our time, and in doing so, we feel better about our selves, and feel like we are in the driver’s seat, not just reacting to whatever life brings but actually creating the life we want and the happiness we deserve.
I have learned that there are two important ingredients to happiness. The first is passion. You have to be passionate about life, about work, and about your relationships. Be hot, hot, hot … not just lukewarm. The second is value. You must spend your time in ways that are in sync with your values. Be involved in work that you love, that you feel you can make a real difference with. If you think you’re “just a housewife", "just a clerk", or "just a CEO for a Fortune 500 Company”, you must either find value in the services that you are offering or get into something that you can feel passionate about, where you value your involvement and feel like you are living a life of purpose.
A new year brings so much potential for new beginnings. With some thought and reflection, some planning and some action, you can spend your time living the life that you design and the life that you deserve.
Happy New Year,
originally posted 1/25/2007