Since the Great Recession began in 2008, millions of Americans have been affected by the financial tsunami that has now swept across much of the world. As we consider our fate for the coming year it’s important to differentiate between ‘the’ economy and ‘our’ economy. There is very little that we can do regarding the U.S. or international economies but we can exert great influence on our own personal economy. Here are my 5 steps for making 2012 your best year ever:
- Decide what you want. Most people don’t get what they want in life because they never take the time to decide just what they truly want. What is it that you desire so much that you’d be willing to fully commit yourself to achieve? It may have to do with fitness, or finances, or relationships or career but it must be something that rises to the level of ‘a burning desire’. Take a moment and make a list of what you want to achieve in the year and years ahead.
- Create clarity. Albert Einstein said, “Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.” Once you’ve decided what you want, you need to create massive clarity around that intention and this will require that you use your imagination. Begin with a visualization of your end result then take a pen and paper and describe it in as much detail as possible. Research indicates this act of ‘writing it down’ increases the likelihood of success by 200%. Finally, condense your description into a sentence or two on a three by five index card and place it somewhere where you’ll see it every day as a reminder of your commitment. This constant visualization activates your reticular activating system which sets your brain in ‘solution seeking mode’ where it both consciously and unconsciously seeks out solutions and resources to solve the ‘problem’ it has been presented.
- Develop your action plan. Don’t expect to know all of the steps needed to accomplish your goal but in most cases, your first few moves should be obvious. If not, find someone to ask. Someone who has already done that which you seek to do. Pull out another index card or start a list on your iPhone of as many of the steps or tasks as you can think of as a starting point.
- Find a lever. Accomplishing any worthwhile goal, in my experience, will require a unique amount of effort….let’s call it the price you pay to get the benefits you desire and deserve. Often, we start out enthusiastically fired up ready to jump tall buildings or smash through brick walls. Typically enthusiasm begins to wane quickly as it becomes clear that our success is more like running a double marathon rather than a forty yard sprint. To overcome this, you’ll need leverage. Leverage can come in many forms and one of the best is to have an ‘accountability partner’, someone who will hold you responsible for continuing to take the necessary actions to reach your goal. Choose someone who will support you in a positive way. My recommendation is a weekly check-in with your accountability partner.
- Execute your plan! Start now, today, executing your plan of action. Begin by completing steps one through four right now. Then, each Sunday evening outline the action steps you plan to take in the upcoming week and let your accountability partner know of your intentions. Schedule time for taking that action step directly into your calendar so that you’ve blocked out the appropriate amount of time for completion. Make this a Sunday night ritual.
As you move through the year, be sure to monitor your results. If you find that you are off course, which often happens, make a course correction and continue. Also, it’s very helpful to create ‘mini-rewards’ along the way for accomplishing certain predetermined mile-posts. Follow these five steps and there is nothing that you cannot accomplish. I wish you the most prosperous New Year ever!