5…4…3…2…1…HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!
Oh yes, for anyone that has been living under a rock, a new year was ushered in less than 72 hours ago. We are now in 2013. A new year means new opportunity. New opportunities to better our financial lives, health and relationships; both personal business. We make new year’s resolutions to help us better ourselves. This is great, but it is nearly impossible to become successful with our resolution goals without a plan of action. We wait and hope, but get no closer to our dreams.
I have come up with 10 steps to help all of us, reach our goals in 2013.
1. Clarity of purpose. For a dream to become a goal, it must be specific. While it’s fun to dream about being rich, it takes courage and hard choices to decide exactly how much money you want and how you are going to earn it. Being “thin” is an image; losing 23 pounds by your birthday is a goal. In life, we probably can’t have it all. You can lose 23 pounds, or you can have the cake and ice cream. Your choice. Be clear.
2. Commitment. There’s a story from ancient Greece about a general who landed his troups on the beach, then burned his ships. He wanted each soldier to know there was no turning back, no retreat, no alternative to victory. Once your goal is clear, emotionally commit to achieving it. There are no alternatives.
3. Talk about it. This is called “accountability.” Once you’ve defined your goal and committed yourself to achieve it, start talking about it! If you want to lose weight, don’t blame your spouse for buying ice cream if he or she does’t know and understand your goal! Talking about your goals makes them emotionally real and powerful. It allows people to help you reach your goal and support you along the way. Some people will also criticize or undermine you. Don’t talk to them.
4. Write it down. This is basic, and one of the oldest, simplest and most powerful techniques for achieving any goal. Write it down! Describe precisely what you want, how you will earn it, when you will have it and the benefits you’ll receive from achieving your goal. Write the details. Write the colors, the shapes and the dates.
5. Repeat it every day! Every morning, use a small card or a corner of your appointment book to record a short description of your goal where you will see it all day long. Don’t carry the same card day after day! If your goal is worth anything, it’s worth one minute of your time to write a simple sentence describing your dream and focusing on your priorities. Do this every morning.
6. Have a plan. Create a map for getting there. And put dates on it! A goal to retire at age 40 has no meaning without a savings and investment strategy. A goal to create your own business is just a fantasy without a plan to attract investors, find a location, hire staff and sell your goods or services. The beauty of a plan is that it shows you a path to your goal.
7. Take action every day! “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Any goal that is worthy of you is worth a few minutes of your time and some of your energy every single day. To write a novel, write a chapter this week. To open your own business, read a business magazine today. To create a more loving family, give someone a hug today. To be salesperson of the year, make a phone call right now!
8. Use constant affirmations. One of my clients is a PGA golfer. From the moment his ball lands on the green until he sinks the putt, he repeats over and over “I will make this putt!” He repeats that phrase as many as 200 times before every putt! Do you think he would be more, or less, successful if he spent those moments thinking, “I just hope I don’t miss it”? Tell yourself what you want to hear!
9. Review, and re-commit, often. Never be afraid to review your goals, evaluate whether you are still 100% committed to them, and re-commit to achieving them. If your values or your choices have changed, change your goals accordingly, and be honest about it! And if your goal still fits, run to it with all your heart!
10. Celebrate each milestone! Never wait to have a party! Each deposit in your savings account deserves a checkmark on the calendar and a hug from your partner. Each day without a cigarette deserves a smile and congratulations from your loved ones. Every step toward your goal should be documented and celebrated! When you get discouraged or have doubts, your record of past successes will quickly get you back on track. Not sure about this? Ask any marathon runner whether they count each mile on their run to the finish line! Celebrate each and every milepost on your path to victory!
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