What will it take to make 2017 a great year? The approach of a new year often makes us introspective. Something about how we are wired makes us want to look at the new year with renewal and hope. It only takes a look at the many New Year’s resolutions and the gym full of people on January 2nd to see this in action.
What are you considering as you look at 2017? You probably have not made a resolution to spend more time on Facebook. Nobody I know will admit to setting a goal to spend more time in the basement playing video games. I doubt you are planning to spend more time looking at your cell-phone, or more time working, or trying to find a way to eat more sugar.
Our goals for the New Year are often counter to our selfishness. With great ambition we determine to stop spending so much time on Facebook, or the computer, or gaming. We decide to eat better, get fit, run a 5K… or maybe just eat better. So often our goals require self-denial, which is not easy.
So what does it take to succeed where we have so often failed? What can we do to insure our success? Here are a few things I believe will bring us to the finish line:
- Have a higher purpose. You may have a goal to make more money in 2017. Some would say that is a selfish goal, but it does not have to be. If you see more money as a byproduct of doing the right thing, it looks a little different. Ken Blanchard says, “Profit is the applause you receive from taking care of your people and your customers”. If you set a money goal with this in mind, and with the goal to use that profit to help others, your purpose and motivation hold true. If you set a goal to get in shape so that you are around into your old age for your family, you have a higher purpose. Goals built-on a purpose beyond yourself are much easier to see through to the end.
- Ask someone to be your encourager. Sometimes we just don’t have the inner strength to push through to then end on a goal. It helps to have someone hold you accountable when you get off track. It helps to have someone that you don’t want to let down check in with you. Have you been working out? What can you do to get back on track? The goal is worth it! You can do it!
- Keep your goals in front of you. This is an easy one. We are naturally forgetful, but if we post that goal on our dashboard, on the mirror or on our lock screen, we will be reminded. Sometimes a reminder of the goal, or why we are stretching to reach it helps us to stay on track. A constant visual of that photo, that quote or that reminder will help keep you on task.
- Check in. Set an alarm each day to remind you to check in with yourself. How am I doing? It is easy to fool yourself. Make yourself dig a little deeper and ask the hard question that gets you past rationalization and past the surface answer. Am I really staying on track?
- Set a plan that will get you there in steps. Some goals are too big to attain without a plan. A good plan will have 3-5 steps with due dates. Trying to pass that certification test? I will study for 2 hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays for the next 8 weeks. I will take a practice exam on March 1st. If I get less than a 80% I will resume the study plan for 3 more weeks.
- Create a habit. Jim Rohn says, “Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines practiced every day.” Researchers have determined it takes 21 days to create habit. Set a time, set an alarm, set a trigger to kick off a habit. Do it, follow through, and stick with it. New good habits will redefine who you are.
- Cut out the things that muddy the water. Often there are things that just get in the way. These things make you lose focus. These are often the things we use as an excuse. I went to Portillos today with the guys, and I just had to get the 700 calorie Combo… roast beef and sausage… yum! Maybe while getting the diet going I just need to take a break from Portillos?
- Live the dream. Having a dream and keeping it in front of you creates real motivation. Some of what is missing in our world is lack of a dream. Find your dream and make sure your goals line up with your dream, then make them realistic steps in the direction of your dream. You might not be able to feed one-hundred starving children, but you can start by feeding one. You may not be able to change the world all at once, but you can find some way to reach out to someone this week.
- Pray. Seeking guidance and help from God is strength, not misplaced faith as some contend. I believe strongly in our Creator and that he cares about us and our daily lives. I believe that he hears our prayers and answers. “…seek first His kingdom… and all these things will be given to you as well. ” Matthew 6:33 NIV
- Celebrate! Celebrating is so easily lost if you are focused on a goal. We move on to the next goal so quickly, or we make progress, but don’t make it quite all of the way, so we don’t celebrate. I am learning to stop and to recognize the victories even when they are small. Don’t minimize the good. Give that high five! Smile! Congratulate! Shout out loud (even if it is in your car)! We made it!
Thanks to all of you who were part of our 2016 at CTaccess! Here we are, facing 2017. Let’s face it with hope, with purpose, and with the goal of serving! Here’s to an awesome new year!