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It has finally arrived. My favorite time of the year. Such exhilaration and excitement. No, this is not a late Christmas season post. I am referring to the kickoff of a new year. 2015 is upon us, and with it all the goals, planning, and strategies for a bigger year than 2014.
Yes, I may be a little off bubble, but this time of year excites me. Not sure if it is the ‘fresh start’ concept, or whether strategery (not sure if that is even a word) is in my wheelhouse but I love January. Realistically though, if you were anticipating any real planning, your preparation should have taken place long before now. I always muse at those shaking off holiday head in a hurry to try to find a buzz building brainstorm for the coming year.
Each year offers an opportunity for us to re-organize, or even re-invent ourselves. And yes, I am going full tilt cliché here, ‘Insanity is doing the same things and expecting different results!” If nothing is different, brace yourself for much of the same. Now if the same means success and happiness, don’t stress too much over how to re-invent the wheel. However, complacency could dictate radical changes at another time. What I suggest is not creating change for change sake. But, rather intentional planning to move out of yesterday and into tomorrow. Establishing goals is a healthy exercise no matter who you are. The scope ambition may vary, but life speaks of new challenge for everyone.
I believe successfully attacking the opportunity of setting goals for a new year requires three things:
- Honest Reflection: To avoid mistakes tomorrow, it is often best to learn from history. And do not be so insecure that you cannot admit that somethings just did not work out in 2014. In every journey there is a hiccup. And honest reflection helps us identify causes and correct them. Relationships, finances, career choices, decisions on the job or in ministry all deserve to be reviewed for what is right and what is wrong. You cannot correct what you do not inspect. And the exercise need not be depressing if you have intention of using it for a positive action plan. Look back so you can realistically look forward.
- Focused Preparation: Thomas Jefferson once said luck comes most often to those who are best prepared. Although, I am not a big believer in ‘luck’ per se, I do concur with our third president. When an opportunity comes, that is not the time to prepare. Recently an opportunity came my way and I was asked if I was familiar with certain software. Conveniently enough, in a little downtime preceding the inquiry I capitalized on the opportunity to study and learn the nuances of the program required. Looking forward means always seizing opportunities to prepare for what may happen next. Crossing a bridge when we get to it, often leads to someone else crossing it ahead of us.
- The Resolve to Execute: Blind goal setting with no real purpose in mind will frustrate you, and everyone around you. Any forward progress will be intentional. Simply writing it down or sharing it on PowerPoint will not be enough. Review your plan regularly. If your goal was to lose weight, wouldn’t you get on the scales now and then? Outline what your goals will take to succeed. And yes, you can get there from here.
Without these three, it is probably safe to say 2015 may be your next year of insanity.
Have a Happy New Year! Enjoy the journey. And here’s to an insanity free 2015.
-James Anderson, founder of Expecting More!