Here we stand, peering around the corner at the new year ahead. It came fast – as new years always do. Looking back at 2016 we all have some regrets for things that we did and things we left undone; for time that was squandered; for opportunities lost. Likewise we all have accomplishments, positive changes, and progress to be celebrated.
That’s why in the days running up to the new year we reflect and revel in the chance to start anew with a clean slate and new hope. The past washed away and the future unwritten.
It is at this pivot point that you have the opportunity to make key decisions that will shape your new year. Begin with the three questions that matter most:
• What do you want?
• How do you plan to get what you want?
• How bad do you want it?
Frankly, it is about honesty. It is about being true to yourself. Start with defining what you want, building a plan, and writing it down. Set goals. Not empty resolutions. Not fleeting wishes and hopes. Real goals that mean something for your career and life.
Most people won’t and don’t because defining what you want – articulating where you will be at the end of next year – is difficult. It requires you to think. It requires you to take risk. It requires you to be accountable to the only person in your life to whom you are really accountable – YOU.
So start here. Define what you want and write it down. This means gathering up the discipline to stop what you are doing, sit down, and actually think about your future.
Yogi Berra quipped that “If you don’t know where you are going you might end up someplace else.” I love this quote because it so succinctly describes how many people aimlessly walk through life. No plan, no direction, no idea where they are going.
Here is a brutal reality. If you don’t have a plan, you will become a part of someone else’s plan. You can either take control of your life or allow someone else to control you to enhance their life. It’s your choice.
Progress is made in small steps. To reach any big goal requires you to move through a series of small steps. These steps to success must be defined, written down, and measured against deadlines. So define what you want and then develop your plan.
Then write it down. Writing down your goals and plan makes you unstoppable. When you write down your goals, ink on paper, you tap into a powerful motivational force. A written plan forces action. Something inside of you begins to drive you forward constantly pushing you towards your destination. It is there, written in stone, and it cannot be ignored until it has been accomplished.
Desire is the singularity of all achievement. Desire is the only thing that trumps procrastination. It why the most important question in any endeavor is “How bad do you want it?”
Success is paid for in advance with hard work and sacrifice. More often than not, getting what you want is more about what you are willing to give up rather than what you are willing to do.
Success is governed by the Law of Congruence. What you want and what you are willing to do to get what you want must be equal or congruent. Goals and plans don’t matter if you don’t have the desire and unwavering will to achieve them. This is why New Year Resolutions are almost never met. They are wishes born in hope and carried away on the wind as soon as the tiniest hint of adversity is met.
You will face adversity in the New Year. There will be hurdles, roadblocks, and disappointment. There will be temptations that, like sirens, distract you from your goal, causing you to forget your plans and go off course. There will always be something more pleasurable in the short-term than sacrificing for what you really want. There will be a mountain you’ll have to climb and an uphill battle you’ll have to fight. There will always be an excuse for why you can’t do something.
Picture yourself at the end of next year. Where will you be? Will you be happy, content, and satisfied with your accomplishments or be left sitting on a big pile of should-have-dones and regret for the year you wasted?
The good news is your future has not been written. It is completely within your control. Take a moment today to answer these three critical questions and build your plan for the new year.
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