First and foremost, Happy New Year to you! 2016 was a very eventful year and 2017 is likely to be just as eventful!
Have you made any New Year’s resolutions for yourself? Whether it is related to improving yourself physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually or financially, it can be easy to fall back into old habits and put off the resolution until next year and then the year after that and then the year after that and then the year after…you see where this is going?
In my experience, having constant and consistent reminders of what I will get if I stay on a path to something better increases the likelihood of my goals being achieved. Here are some methods that I use that may help you make the change to make the most out of 2017 and beyond:
1. Understand WHY you want to be better
In my last accounting job, my boss was a “Why?” man. He wanted to know how things worked and the reason(s) that things were happening the way they were. When you answer a “why?” question, it usually begins with the word “because.” It may take a lot of “becauses” to get to the real reason(s) that you want something. For instance:
“Why do you want to lose weight?”
“Because I want to be healthier.”
“Why do you want to be healthier?”
“Because I want to live a long life.”
“Why do you want to live a long life?”
“Because I want to get all of the things on my bucket list done!”
This conversation may go on even longer! The point is, there’s often a deeper meaning or reason behind your goal. Once you understand the true meaning and benefits behind what it is you strive for, you will have newfound energy and drive to begin making your dreams a reality.
2. Establish ground rules for yourself
I know that I am, among many things, a visual learner. Once I see something, I can later picture, from memory, where it is and what it looks like. In my ongoing journey towards becoming my best self, I found that writing out rules of what I need to do and not do in order to be better has helped me tremendously. Furthermore, having the written rules posted on a large sheet of paper where I would see them often, such as on the wall by my bedroom door, helped me retain the information and live by the rules that I had established for myself. Some examples of rules that you might establish for yourself are:
-I create everything that happens to me. If I do nothing, I get nothing.
-I will not blame, complain or make excuses. Instead, I will ask myself, “What could I do differently?”
-The past is the past…the future is MY CHOICE!
The rules you make for yourself should not be broken…that’s why they are called “ground rules”! Therefore, you should be able to quickly identify if you have broken your own ground rules or are falling back into old habits so that you may take the necessary action to get yourself back on track at once.
3. Create a vision board
Continuing with the concept of visual learning, if you consistently and frequently view a picture or pictures of something that you desire in your life, you are much more likely to acquire it later. Whether it be a nice car, a beautiful house, a romantic destination, etc., it can be very empowering to have something to look at to remind you of what you are striving for.
With the new year ahead of us, it is the perfect time to put together a visual collage of what you would like to achieve or how you would like to live over the course of the next year and beyond. Here are the items you will need:
-One poster board (28″ x 22″ or larger size)
-LOTS of magazines of varying interests (fashion, finance, fitness, travel, sports, entertainment, etc.) that you are all right with cutting up
Look through the magazines for positive words in large print that describe you now and/or what you would like to be over the next year and beyond (“fun,” “strong,” “famous,” “healthy,” “wealthy,” etc.). Also, look for items you would like to own (clothing, cars, houses, etc.), places you would like to take a vacation (beaches, mountains, Disneyland, etc.), people that inspire you and that you look up to (celebrities, characters, superheroes, etc.) or any other word or picture that brings you joy and happiness! Use the scissors to cut the picture or word out of the magazine and then use the glue stick to put the picture or word onto your poster board. Repeat this until your poster board is full of pictures and words from magazines and there is nearly no white (or original color of your poster board) left to see.
Place your completed vision board near your large list of ground rules from #2 above so that you may see both items often and at the same time and remind yourself what is you are working towards and living for. These two items, placed closely together, will empower you to start living a better life over the next year and beyond.
In summary…if you change nothing, nothing changes. By taking a different approach towards achieving your goals, having many visual reminders of who you are and what you want and, above all, understanding WHY accomplishing this goal matters to you, you will likely have more success and a better year ahead for yourself!
A big “THANK YOU!” to Tami Lindahl, Wendy McKenzie and Brian Merdich for helping me establish my ground rules. A big “THANK YOU!” to Sue Brooke for helping me see the power of a vision board.