Tag Archives: new year

Three Books to Read as You Start the New Year

It’s a new year, and no doubt you have some ambitious goals you want to accomplish. This is the perfect time of year to reset and determine what is important to you to focus on this year.

I didn’t achieve all my goals last year, but it was still my best year ever. I used to feel like I failed if I didn’t accomplish all my goals, but that just put me in a negative mindset when the new year would start. It’s important to have goals that stretch you–people who have written goals accomplish more–and it’s also important to keep things in perspective and realize that you should focus on doing the best you can.

My  mantra for this year is “progress, not perfection.” I’m focused on making progress over last year, just as I do every year. As someone who values achievement, I often have to remind myself that it’s not just about the destination; that the journey is what life is about, the small moments every day that contribute to a fulfilling life. And while I have some lofty goals, I’m not expecting myself to be super human.

If you want to make great progress this year, there are three books I recommend putting at the top of your reading list. These three books will create a positive mindset and inspire you to take action, accomplish many of your goals, and make this year your best yet.

  1. The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy. This book will not only give you the principles for multiplying your success, it will motivate and inspire you to become greater. There is no magic bullet or secret to becoming successful. It all happens as a result of the compound effect. Small daily choices and habits lead to significant results. Darren says that you already know all that you need to succeed. Learning new strategies and tactics is not the issue. You just need a new plan of action. Although the concept is not new, the book is full of inspiring stories and impactful exercises that will motivate you to elevate your life. I couldn’t put the book down, and I reread my notes at the beginning of each year.
  1. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. This classic personal development book is as relevant today as it was almost 30 years ago. Covey writes that our character is a composite of our habits. The seven habits are: Be proactive, Begin with the end in mind, Put first things first, Think win/win, Seek first to understand, then to be understood, Synergize, and Sharpen the saw. These habits will help you to be a better leader, partner, parent, and employee. The principles can change your perspective and change your life.
  1. The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be by Jack Canfield isn’t just a book about professional success; it’s a book about life success. Canfield shares 67 principles that will propel you to success. That may seem like a lot of principles, but some of them are so simple, it’s a matter of making a decision and sticking to it. Whether you want to become more clear about your purpose in life, achieve greater levels of success, become a better leader, increase your confidence, or become a better parent, this book will transform your life. I felt so motivated and inspired by this book, that I signed up for Jack’s training on how to teach these principles.

I’d love to hear from you. What books do you think are great reads for the beginning of the year? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

A Vision Exercise for the New Year

Organizations that have a vision of where they want to go and can align the entire organization around that vision create momentum towards their goals. Just like it’s important to create a vision in an organization, if you want to make positive changes in your life, creating a vision for each area of your life can be a powerful way to get clarity around what you want.

One of the main reasons why most people don’t get what they want is that they haven’t decided what they want. A vision is a mental picture of a preferred future.

As you prepare for the new year, first take a look back on the past year to set yourself up for continued success. Following are some questions to contemplate.

  • What were my biggest achievements, both personal and professional, in the past year?. This sets you in a positive frame of mind and creates energy around progress and accomplishments from the year.
  • What were my biggest learnings in the past year? Once you have reflected on your accomplishments and learnings from the past year, turn your attention to the coming year.

Imagine it is December of next year. What would you like your life to be like, both professionally and personally, one year from now? Close your eyes and let your mind wander about your ideal life one year from now. If you find it challenging to visualize your ideal life, take one area of your life at a time. Following is a list of the seven most important areas of life with a few starter questions to get you thinking. This is about what you want, so let your mind visualize what would be ideal for you. Take one area at a time, close your eyes and visualize for a few minutes, then open your eyes and write down your vision.

Financial: What is your ideal annual income and monthly cash flow? How much money do you have in savings? What other financial goals would you like to achieve in the next year?

Job/Career: Where are you working? What are you doing? Did you receive a promotion that you have been working toward? Are there other job achievements you want to accomplish?

Recreation: How do you spend your free time? Are there hobbies you are pursuing? Is there a family trip you want to take? What do you do for fun?

Physical health: Do you exercise and eat healthy food? Are you disease free or pain free? Are you taking a class at a local gym? Exercising outside? Drinking more water? How does your body feel? Are you flexible and full of energy?

Relationships: What are your relationships like with the important people in your life? What kinds of things do you do together? Are your relationships loving and supportive?

Personal: are there areas you want to develop in? Are you going back to school, taking a cooking class, or learning a new language? Are you traveling to other countries? Running a marathon? Meditating regularly?

Service /Community: Are you volunteering in your community or involved in other work that makes a difference? Who are you helping?

Based on what you visualized, what are three to five goals you would like to focus on for the next year? Is there a specific area of your life you would like to improve?

Once you have determined the most important goals you want to set for the new year, the next step is to create specific actions and timelines. One of the main reasons why many people don’t make traction on their goals is that they are too vague. Goals should be specific enough to create clarity so you know exactly how to take action. There is a difference between an intention and an effective goal.

  • Intention: Improve engagement on my department team
  • Goal: I will meet with each of my employees and ask them how they like to be recognized by February 15, 2017

Once you have taken the time to visualize your ideal life one year from now and created your most important goals, spend time each day visualizing your goals as completed. This will keep you energized about your goals so that you can stay connected to them and create momentum toward achieving them.

Now I’d love to hear from you: What is the vision you have for one area of your life, one year from now?

Share your vision in the comments section below.

Making The New Year Awesome

Only 8% of people achieve their new year resolutions. Is it even worth setting goals? I believe the answer is yes. There is a way to set realistic goals and make significant progress in the new year.

Like many people, I take time to reflect and make commitments for the fresh new year approaching. I believe in setting goals and improving, and over the years, I have enhanced and changed my process for creating “resolutions”. I’ve figured out what works for achieving my goals, and most importantly, what doesn’t work. I don’t believe there is one formula for making changes;  each person is different and will respond differently.

Here are the lessons I have learned for achieving new year goals:

Lesson 1: Less is more

I used to make a laundry list of goals for the new year: learn Italian, improve piano playing skills, exercise more, etc. You get the picture. What I found is that when I set too many “stretch goals,” I become overwhelmed and just give up. I end up feeling worse about myself because I failed to achieve the goals I set. A few years ago, I started taking time to imagine my ideal life. What would the ideal look like in health, relationships, and business? I keep my goals realistic. I really take time to think through what resources and time I have and I focus on making progress instead of achieving a list. I would rather make significant progress on three goals than very little progress on ten goals. I have learned how much I am capable of taking on and create my goals accordingly. This creates freedom. Rather than being  chained to a list, I work on making incremental progress.

Lesson 2: Measure each day

I find small steps lead to bigger progress for me. I switched from setting weekly goals to setting daily goals. I take the ideal life I envisioned and think about ways I can close the gap. I focus on making an impact in this day. Focusing on today takes the overwhelm and judgment away and gives me permission to make choices that feel good now. Inevitably, I end up succeeding with more of my goals when I focus on today. At the end of the year, if I can look back and see progress from the year before, to me that is success. The compound effect is very powerful.

Lesson 3: Focus on the being, not the doing

I am a doer. I love lists and crossing things off. I love the feeling of accomplishment. And when I focus on checking things off, I often lose the intention of my goal. For example, for years I have wanted to incorporate meditation into my ritual. I read books on meditation and tried to meditate, and my mind was racing. I was trying too hard to “do” meditation correctly. I often found myself wanting to check it off my list rather than get the full experience and benefits. And that’s just pointless. This past year, I focused instead on the “being”. The purpose of meditation is to clear and quiet your mind. So, I sat quietly with music, closed my eyes and kept quiet. I am not great at it, but I get benefit from it, and I am improving over time.

What has worked for you when setting goals?

Wishing you an awesome year!