It’s almost here. The tail end of 2012. You either loved it, hated it, or have no idea where it went. It’s that time of year: people start to think about what will be different next year and get jacked up sideways about starting a new business, getting a promotion, or losing 20 pounds, only to forget what they even resolved to do shortly into February. New Years Resolutions often involve picking your weaknesses and “deciding” to change them when the clock strikes midnight. Then, after seven days…or three weeks…or maybe even two months, “real life” settles in, your goals begin to change, you begin to make excuses, and before you know it it is December 31 and your life is mostly the same as it was one year prior. Sound familiar? Keep reading.
I’ve already talked about how 2012 was my favorite year. I wasn’t lying. Here is my advice based on how I made 2012 kick ass more than 2011 (which was seriously tough to beat) and how you can make 2013 crush 2012.
I’m a big fan of action. I discuss it often and take it daily. But there’s something about sitting down and really taking a long, deep, thought-provoking look at the past 364 days that will make it much easier to reach your goals in 2013. This is not time to sulk about goals you failed to meet, or how you’re ending this year single, AGAIN. Get real with yourself. Did you set goals for 2012? If yes, write them all down (since most of you probably lost the hypothetical piece of paper you wrote them on). Look at each one and reflect. A) Did I meet this goal? B) Why or why not? C) Is it still important to me?
Go through that list you just made and follow up on the third part: Is it still important to me?
If YES, and you did not meet it last year, list the reasons why. If your reasons are that you didn’t have enough money, support, or resources, the first thing on your to-do list when you finish this article is to go watch Tony Robbins – Why We Do What We Do. Come up with a solution for each reason on how you can make it different next year.
If NO, is there another goal that replaces that one? I’ve often heard (and sometimes used) the phrase “Change the plan but never change the goal.” The more I learn and grow, the more I realize this is not the best advice 100% of the time. For example, I failed to achieve a goal in 2012 but only because I made a conscious decision to change it. I knew that particular goal would, in the long term, not be the best business decision for me as I build my personal brand. So I changed it to a more solid short term goal that would lead to long term success without being detrimental to my reputation and success.
Develop new goals for yourself. What are some of the things you thought about recently that you would like to pursue but haven’t? Maybe you want to get your scuba diving certification, or try two new restaurants a week, or start a DIY Design blog (which my amazing friend Danna did in 2012 – Trimmed and Tailored). No goal is too big or too small. Write them all down. Are they realistic? Make them challenging enough that you will have to reach outside of your comfort zone to achieve them, but physically possible. A goal to beat Felix Baumgartner’s record of freefalling in space sounds fun but it isn’t exactly achievable for most of us (and if you can achieve that, please reach out to me so I can interview you).
Remember, your goals should be challenging but realistic. Make them SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time Sensitive.
My favorite word. Begin. Take action. Stop thinking and start doing. Most people honestly don’t even show up in their own lives. They go day by day by day, with little excitement and the same routine. If you want 2013 to be better, you’re going to have to do things you’ve probably never done before. Don’t even wait until Tuesday. Start right now. The difference between people who had a mediocre year in 2012 and those who had an incredible year is that the former spent most of their time thinking and the latter spent most of their time acting. It’s better to beg forgiveness than ask permission. Don’t be afraid to go out on a ledge and try something new. Fear is the enemy of action.
“If you’re not working on your best idea right now, you’re doing it wrong.” David Heinemeier Hansson, creator, Ruby on Rails @dhh @rails
Let’s say you start the year off on the right foot. You have your goals written down somewhere you can see them every day, you are taking appropriate action, you have eliminated excuses from your vocabulary, and then, life happens. Someone passes away, you lose your job, you deal with family emergencies, depression, substance abuse, health issues. This is the easiest time to forget about the promises you made to yourself and start “dealing with life”. How do you remain resilient through tough times and overcome obstacles, while still achieving your goals and kicking ass?
- Know your purpose. Your purpose will get you up and out of bed every morning.
- Be passionate. Have something that is driving you. If you have a passion, you will not allow life to “get in the way.” It will be part of the way.
- Be consistent. It takes anywhere between three to six weeks to create a habit for the average person, but just a few to break one. It’s much easier to stay on track than it is to get back on.
- Have a support system. A few key friends, family members, or mentors who know what your goals are and encourage you positively. When shit hits the fan, call them for guidance.
- Have a positive attitude. Any time you go to say something negative about how you can’t do something or have something you want, change it to an “I will” statement. I promise that whatever you focus on in your mind will control most of what actually happens to you in your life. Thinking you can’t is a sure fire way to ensure you won’t.
- Don’t get stuck in paralysis by analysis. Sometimes we spend so much time thinking about taking action and all of the things that could possibly happen, that we become paralyzed in thought and stop there. Do not fall into this trap. As scary as it is, sometimes, you just have to take a leap of faith.
- Have a solid work-life balance. Know the percentage of your time that you can devote to yourself, your family, your friends, and your j-o-b or business on a weekly basis to keep yourself balanced and when you find that this is not happening, ask for support and make the necessary changes.
- Decide how hard you can be on yourself and stay in a healthy range. I am the worst at this. I criticize myself daily. It’s helped me to become very successful but it has also held me back. For example: When I ride (I am a cyclist) in groups, I used to get extremely frustrated when I was trailing behind or drafting more often than other riders. When your emotions get stirred up, and you are on a bike, you will become physically weaker. I’ve learned to be OK with knowing I am riding with stronger riders, and just pushing myself as hard as I can. No one is as hard on me as I am on myself, but I’ve learned to not allow that to hold me back.
- Get uncomfortable. If you find yourself getting complacent because things are going well, it’s time to challenge yourself more or create bigger goals. Know your limits physically and mentally and push yourself without risking any real harm. Hang out outside your comfort zone.
- Give yourself a pity party window. I understand things sometimes get downright tough. I like to give myself a two day window. One day to think and another day to recover. This happens a couple of times a year, max. Only when something serious occurs that really shakes up my world. Figure out what is reasonable for you and stick to it.
What big goals did I achieve in 2012? I ran my first half marathon five months after coming out of Rheumatoid Arthritis remission, bought a bike, completed a 150 mile bike ride over two days one month after being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, was on two committees at The Arthritis Foundation San Diego Chapter, lived a life long dream of being a camp counselor, and started this blog. Yes, I’m blessed, but I worked extremely hard and I’m proud for all that I was able to accomplish in the face of adversity. Keep your eyes peeled and subscribe to my blog for some incredible changes to come that are meant to help you kick ass in 2013. If you have ideas for me, please share them in the comments below. Stay inspired and stay persistent.
Happy New Year.