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Make This Your Best Year Ever

by Judi Moreo

As we start a new year, we have an opportunity to make some changes in our lives. If we want this year to be the best ever, then we are going to have to do some things we’ve never done. Here is my 5-step plan for succeeding this year at whatever it is you choose…whether it’s an organization, a career, or a relationship.

Step #1 – Decide What You Want

What would you like the end results to be? What is the dream? If money wasn’t a concern, and the world was perfect, how would it look to you? You are the architect and the builder of your life. And remember that there are not architects or builders that would go out and just start throwing up a building or a home without knowing what it will look like when it’s finished before they start. So, it is important for you to know what you want out of this year before you begin it.

Step #2 – Make A Plan

Look at where you are now, and where you want to go. The space between the two is called “The Gap.” How will you fill that gap? You need to make a plan of exactly what you will do. These plans are called goals, and the beginning of a new year is the perfect time to set some. Many people call it Strategic Planning. You call it whatever you want. Just do it.

There is an old saying that “None of us plan to fail, we just fail to plan.”

Be sure that your goals are smart, meaning that they are:

  • Specific
  • Measureable
  • Agreed upon by the people who have to help attain the goal
  • Realistic
  • Time framed

When we achieve our goals, our self-esteem goes up, and when our self-esteem goes up, our success goes up.

Step #3 – Identify The Pitfalls

Now this may sound negative, but we must look at what might go wrong so we can have a contingency plan.

We have to be willing to cope with, and create change when needed. Change is not a maybe. Change is the only constant we have. Everything is changing.

Think of change as a vehicle that is out of control and coming down the road. You are standing in that road and the vehicle is coming right at you. You have three choices about what you can do:

You can just stand there and let the change run over you and leave you in a worse condition than you were before you started.

You can jump out of the way and let the change go right past you. It’s a good possibility that you let it pass you by and it was headed right where you wanted to go.

Or . . . You can start to run along beside the change, jump in the driver’s seat, take control of that change, and drive it right where you want it to go.

If we want people to follow us through the change, then we must be the change that we want to see happen.

I was fortunate enough to be working for a chain of newspapers in South Africa during the end of Apartheid, and I had the opportunity to see Nelson Mandela released from prison. I also heard his State of the Union address. I watched as this great man demonstrated what he wanted his followers to do, which was “to forgive and put the hatred aside in order to move forward in peace.” He then demonstrated the change he wanted a nation to follow. And follow him, they did!

Step #4 – Take Responsibility for Yourself

What you get out of life is what you put into it!

Do you have knowledge that you can share? Are you good at decorating? Can you write a press release? Do you have beautiful handwriting? When you use any skill or talent that you have for the benefit of others, you will also benefit. Use your skills. Use your talent.

Surround yourself with positive people. Most of us hear an average of five negative statements every hour. It takes between 14 and 20 positive statements to overcome one negative statement. If you hear people being negative, get away from them. Or just say thank you for sharing, but don’t participate.

And remember this, about seventy-percent of the negativity we hear comes out of our own mouths. We say things like, “Ain’t it awful! No one cares about me or what I think. They planned another awful program. The speaker was terrible. It’s a wonder I even came, the traffic was so bad getting here. At one point, I just wanted to turn around and go home, but you know what’s at home. I just didn’t feel like I could deal with that tonight, etc., etc., etc.”

Your thoughts create your feelings. Your feelings create your behavior. When you are acting or talking negative, it tells the world that you are not feeling good about yourself, and the reason you aren’t is because you aren’t thinking correctly.

Change your thoughts. Practice affirmations. Practice empowering self-talk. Practice saying nice things to other people. When you say it, you are putting positives in your own atmosphere as well as in the atmosphere of others.

Step #5 – Be Thankful

We need to be grateful for what we have. We have been so spoiled for so long. Some of us get upset if we don’t have an Anne Klein watch, a Ralph Lauren blazer, or a Mercedes-Benz to drive. “It’s just not fair. Other people get those things. What about me?”

Start being thankful for what you have, and give yourself some gold stars. When I was 16 years old, my dad taught me to give myself gold stars when I have a good day. It feels really good when you stick that star in your daily planner each day. If you have more than one success that day, give yourself more than one gold star.

A few years ago, my life partner, John, gave me a necklace with a gold star pendant. On the back was engraved, “Until the 12th of Never.” As you know, that’s a long, long time. Not long after that, John had a heart attack and died. My point here is that I am grateful I had him for the time I did. He taught me what a really good relationship is.

Sometimes where we get to is not where or what we imagined. Be thankful anyway. There are people all over the world that would like to be in your shoes, would like to have your job, would even like to have your problems, instead of their own.

As Dr. Robert Schuller once said, “Today’s responsibilities are tomorrow’s possibilities.

So I ask, “Have you set your goals for this year? Have you made your plan? Are you prepared for the changes which will take place in your life?” If not, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got. If you want something that you’ve never had, you have to do something that you’ve never done.”

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