by Teresa VanDyk Marshall
Well, if we can just believe it, it’s a new year! 2016 has finally come!
Some folks are just glad to be alive at this point. After all, 2015 was (at best) a very hectic year.
For a lot of us, this is also a great time for a new beginning. How many of us are saying, “I’ll start exercising more…” or “I’ll improve my diet”? Then there’s the ritual of cleaning our office spaces and airing out the house. Well, why not? The weather, at least here in Florida, has been delightful for it!
Here’s a new resolution that we hope you’ll try with us—a resolution for endless success using multiple personal goals to drive improvement all year long in every aspect of our lives. A lot of us have a few, if not many, regrets or wishes. Let’s seize the chance now to make it all right! It starts with our determination. Then, it works through strategically planning future actions.
First—Define Our Own Success
The Latin root meaning of the word Success is described as “happy outcome” and “accomplishment of desired end.” So, it only follows that to achieve success we have to know what we value and what our “desired ends” are. Some examples could be:
- Do we want to draw our family closer?
- Are we contemplating popping “the big question” to a loved one?
- Is our health as best as it can be?
- Have we been content with our current occupation?
- Do we need to examine and reallocate our budget?
- Would we like to play a musical instrument? Take up a hobby? Learn that craft we always wanted to know?
- Do we need to diversify, improve or explore new stress management techniques?
- Are we content in our spiritual lives? Can we grow or further develop our spirituality?
These examples demonstrate the need for meditation and show that we have to take a hard and honest look inside. We must be able to see, listen to and understand both the person we are today and the person we want to be. In each area of our lives, what do we really want to be positively improved? Then narrow it down to which of these focus areas are within our control to take actions toward “accomplishing the desired end”? Once we’ve thought of something we’d like to improve—don’t forget it! Document these thoughts as they come to us.
We have just defined our goal(s)—our “desirable end.” Hopefully, we have defined them for each important area of our lives. Once we have identified each area of our life we want to work on, we have identified the doorways to achieving our very own personal success.
Forget Regret…Remove Barriers to Success
We’ve all heard those voices that say, “Well, I would have done this special something, but it’s too late now” or “I should have done it when….” Those voices say all kinds of negative things and are destructive, stifling voices that cause folks to miss their ship sailing in!
Regret should be left in the past where it belongs. Start a life resolution with forgiveness for ourselves: we have made decisions in our life that we know now we would have liked to have made differently. Remember, in this sense we are just like everyone else on Earth (unless they are one-day old and even then who knows?). Today is a new day, and we have full control over every action we take today, tomorrow and for the rest of our days to come.
So get rid of negative energy. There is no room for it in the bright days that are coming up quickly!
Okay. We have set our goals. We have tried to shush those pesky negative voices and are now ready to create a game plan that will take us through to achievement. With each step we create and then reach; we touch the reality of our success—our achievement more and more becomes reality.
If one of the areas of life we want to improve on is more complicated than say taking Doritos off our weekly shopping list, we should start with baby steps so that we do not set ourselves up for failure.
Do we regret not finishing our High School or College education? Is it intimidating to return to school? If so, we probably shouldn’t make step one “enroll in a class.” That could be overwhelming.
Ideally, step one is an exploratory step. For example, start by exploring options, searching local locations or online schools that offer a program to meet your personal education needs. Then, we go to step two—visiting the school or talk to their online staff. Step 3 could involve exploring financing options like student grants, student loans and employer tuition reimbursement with the experts at the school’s financial office. Once financing is in order, a fourth step could be to consult with a school counselor, determine our roadmap to graduation and select our initial class or classes. Before we know it, a major life goal is achieved, resulting in increasing success!
So, to recap steps for strategically planning out our follow through to success:
- Explore sources that can help us better understand or improve our area of focus.
- Initiate a small action item based upon our findings. It may be to do more exploring.
- Reward ourselves for each small action completed and continue to work toward the desired end.
- Don’t quit until we know that we have done everything in our power to make our success happen.
It’s important to be satisfied when we have truly done all in our power to achieve our dreams. If one area’s improvement is beyond our scope of control, then we need to peacefully accept this and switch our focus to something we can work on. With each area of our life improved, we inspire ourselves and perhaps even others to greater success. Who knows where that road will lead?
Whatever resolutions may come and go, we wish you all a life of success in all things!