What does the New Year have in store for us?
Really, the New Year is only a calendar concept; it has nothing to do with how your life is going to turn out to be; or your business. However, the power to make 2015 is truly in your hands.
There, I have said it, the standard, worn out cliché advocated by so many self-help gurus. But then, I am neither a guru nor a self-help wizard and so I don’t want to bore you with the usual list of do’s and don’ts.
However, all of us want to improve, grow, achieve, etc., and want everything and every situation to be a win (or win-win!) going forward.
So consider this as a few basic suggestions to make 2015 a “breakthrough year”. Here goes.
New Year Resolution(s)
New Year resolutions usually tend to be negative, in the sense that they are resolutions made not to do something. They go something like the simple yet difficult “I should quit smoking” or “I want to lose a few kilos” to more complex “I should not …” stuff.
It is always negative or “not”!
What tends to happen here is that the negative stays in the mind and consequently there is little thought on the positives. And it is also very difficult to check your “progress” because it involves monitoring something that you are not supposed to have done, like “x days since I last smoked”, etc.
And that’s why these “New Year Resolutions” quickly lose focus and get forgotten a couple of months down the line.
What I am suggesting, instead, is for you to do something positive such as “I will do …” stuff that will help you set goals of a more positive nature and, therefore, something that can be monitored and rewarded by you in a progressive way!
Set Your ONE Goal
This is a very simple task and it requires a few minutes of attention at most, not hours or days. Set yourself down in a quiet place at home or work, where no one will disturb you; turn off your mobile devices, the internet, and every other electronic item that can likely distract you. All you need is one single piece of paper and a pen or pencil and you are all set.
Now before you go crazy writing out all your objectives and intentions and actions, sit comfortably and do some calm yet serious & open minded thinking to figure what you want to do. You might reflect on the past years but don’t dwell on them too much. The trick is to use all that information from the past to mentally list out the few things that are important going forward. And then collapse that short list of important items and shape them to the ONE KEY ITEM that would be your goal.
There will be many mental distractions and the mental monkey will jump from topic to topic all over the map. But be resilient, and calmly stay in control. Don’t spend too much time on any item irrespective of whether you want to list down or disregard that item. Just think smooth and swiftly zero in on just the one key thing that you want to do.
Think and write down the ONE thing that you want to do.
Not what you don’t want to do; not how you want to ring in the new year, nor the many positive actions that you want to undertake; not how you want to do nor who’s help you are going to take; not what’s it going to cost – No!
Just simply write down the one thing that you want to do. Your goal.
Thinking about your desires and finalizing on the one important that you want to do will take, maybe ten minutes. Writing it down will take a few seconds.
You should be done in under 15 minutes!
Here’s a neat trick – don’t do anything more at this time. Just let that one single desire, goal, objective or dream wash over you, fill your senses and seep into your system. Your mind should be locked on to it and you should be committed to it.
Let just the ONE objective remain with you for a day or two. Don’t sweat the how, where, and the other stuff yet, you can do it after a couple of days.
Flesh Out Your ONE Goal
Now that the one objective is set in stone (so to say), it is time to figure the details of how, with whose help, when, etc. This activity could very well take a whole day or two but it will give you a roadmap / dashboard at the end of the exercise.
Creighton Williams Abrams Jr. was a United States Army general who commanded military in the Vietnam War. He famously said, "When eating an elephant take one bite at a time." which translates to a simple "When you doing something that is difficult, do it slowly and carefully".
In our context, we break down the big objective into smaller, manageable and quantifiable objectives that are easy to monitor, and create milestones and action items against them. And at every milestone, the questions could be “What can I do better?” or “What can I do to make things better?”.
As an example and to summarize the above, here are the steps:
1. Sit down to think calmly and to internally brainstorm, allowing the mind to flow from the past to the present and mixing up the thoughts to come up with a list of a few items like “I want to be implement this great idea”, “I want a job that I enjoy”, “I want to be the master of my destiny”, “I want to make money”, “I want to have a social standing” and “I want a balanced personal and professional life”.
2. These items can easily collapse to “I want to be an entrepreneur”.
3. Let that thought settle in for a couple of days to commit to being an entrepreneur. This is the big objective or dream.
4. Once the commitment is a hundred percent, hopefully in the next couple of days, create a plan with the next moves with quantifiable objectives and a clear time scale.
5. Define the scope of the objectives and detail the activities and cover what, how, when, where, with whom / with what resources, etc. These constitute the strategic processes to adopt to accomplish the objective.
6. Then define the milestones and review schedule with questions to address at those review points. These are hard questions that will cover “What can I do better?”, “What can I do to make things better?” and so on. These constitute the navigational aids to attain the objective.
ValueStrat Consulting @ValueStrat helps businesses understand where they are currently and what they need to do to get where they want to go. For this, we provide essential strategic plans and approaches, called “Keys”, to enable businesses to open up competencies and clear inefficiencies.
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