Starting your year on the “right foot”

First, let me wish you a Happy New Year.  It has been a while and I have a lot to say today.  I trust that your holiday season was a good one, mine was, and I hope that you are looking forward to 2014 with great anticipation.

2014 has the potential to be a banner year for you and for me.  I say this in all sincerity, not even knowing your circumstances.  I will share in this post today why I have this positive spin and I hope you are able to take some of this positive energy and use it to help get your year started off correctly.

Even though I am highly political, I strive to not be political in my writing.  My thoughts and beliefs are my own and even though there is very specific right and wrong in my world, I always strive to remember to “hate the sin”, especially my own, and not to hold a grudge against those who differ from me.  Life is too short to hold grudges or bear hatred and the amount of energy that it requires to dislike or hate someone is staggering.  I encourage you to take your energy and put it in a different place.

Here are a few basic steps I will employ to make 2014 even better than 2013.  Some, if not all, can also be used by you.  Let me know what you think when you read what I have to say:

  • Take a hard look at 2013 and write down what went right and what went wrong.  Most of us, my self included, take little time to reflect on what we are doing or what we have done.  Reflection can be a powerful tool when used often and well.  Those who do not remember history are sometimes doomed to repeat it.  Remember this.
  • When you have done step 1, write down the best thing you did and the most important learning you had from the past year.  Even if the year was terrible, something good must have happened or you must have learned something.  I cannot speak for you, but when things go bad I tend to learn the most.  I suspect the same will be true for you.
  • List your top 3 goals for 2014.  Make sure these goals meet the SMART criteria; specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-based.  Goals that do not meet these criteria will be hard to measure.  The time piece is especially important since you will need to know how to prioritize your time.
  • List at least 2 things you will reduce or stop doing in 2014.  Many of us have habits or patterns we need to reverse, reduce or eliminate.  Identify them and write them down.  Items not recorded have a tendency to be forgotten.  If it is important now you will want to measure your progress later this year.
  • Find an accountability partner or group to work with.  Many of us think we can do everything on our own.  Most of the time we are wrong.  This is one of my biggest shortcomings and I will proactively find someone, or several people to help me be accountable in 2014.  You may have to do the same for them as well.  A second benefit of involving others is that it provides more opportunities for you to give and receive feedback, a skill that none of us gets enough of.

This list is not exhaustive, but it is a good start.  I will begin my work today and will share my thoughts as I continue to write this blog.

I can tell you that one of my goals will be to have my first book published by June 30, 2014.  I have had this goal for several years, but I have continued to let is slide.  No more-this is the year.

Let me know what your major goal is for 2014.  Also let me know how I can help you be more accountable.  I may ask you to do the same for me.

Happy New Year!

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