It's the beginning of a new year and a great chance to start over — but how? Here are 10 ways to gain a fresh start in 2014.
1. What's past is past. Wipe all the disappointments of 2013 and before from your mind.
What has happened before, whether by your own choices or the actions of others, cannot be changed. Any amount of dwelling and wallowing will not help. Pretend you have amnesia and that it never happened, while retaining the lessons learned from the experience. Then do this again every month, every week, every morning. When you reflect, reflect on what was good and on what you learned; let the rest fall behind you.
2. Define success. Whether it be money made, time spent, lives changed or experiences created, every person has a different definition of success. Do not worry if yours is different from anyone else's. Instead, worry if it is the same.
3. Think about long-term success, not short-term success. Nothing grand can be completed in a year, so don't attempt to rebuild your life in such a short time.
Write your obituary. What do you want said about you when you die?
4. Define what you can do in the coming year that will build a foundation to achieve your long-term goals. Is it getting an additional degree, paying off credit card bills, rebuilding relationships? What can be done in one year that will set the stage for long-term success? Now, write it down.
5. Survey the terrain. What are the strengths and weaknesses of your position? What is happening in the environment around you and is there any way to take advantage of the winds and currents of change that are already happening in your industry and in your life? Write down how you can take advantage of the terrain.
6. Take inventory of talent and supplies. What are the assets available to be used and are there any alliances to be made that might help you reach those goals and help your allies reach theirs? A full and complete inventory might allow you to recognize previously unused assets. Ensure that all assets and possible alliances are being put to use. Put this in writing.
7. Break your annual goal into subgoals that can be completed in individual months. Determine what needs to be done each month to make your annual goal easy to accomplish. Write it on a calendar for a monthly check in. That's the easy part; then make sure that the monthly check-in occurs in a timely manner.
Be truthful with yourself regarding whether you are making sufficient progress and re-evaluate your goals on a monthly basis. Are you making extra progress in some areas, but not as much in others? Once the monthly evaluations take place and the goals are recalibrated and written down, celebrate your successes, and forget your failures.
8. Translate the monthly goals into daily activities. In the end, all accomplishments are the result of daily activity. What should happen on a daily basis to make the monthly goal inevitable? Write these items down and review them every morning and night.
The morning review will remind you of what your goals are for the day, the nightly review will allow you to determine if the daily goals have been met. Recalibrate your daily activity, if necessary. Again, forget your failures and celebrate your successes.
9. Develop ongoing amnesia. Forget what did not work for you last year and your failures, (yes, we all had them). Celebrate your successes. Continue this on a yearly, monthly, weekly, daily basis. A large part of life is about momentum; positive momentum should be amplified and reinforced.
10. Enjoy life. Enjoy your family, pets, friends, clients, suppliers, and even the person who bags your groceries. We only get one life, and there is a good chance that it will be shorter than we might like, so enjoy the time that you have. Take time out every day — even if it is only 10 minutes — just for you. Take a hot bath, read a book, stare out the window.
In the end, it's important to remember that life is not about the accomplishments. It's about the relationships that we make along the way — including our relationship with ourselves.
Jackie Gingrich Cushman is the co-author, along with her father, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, of the book "5 Principles for a Successful Life: From Our Family to Yours." Read more reports from Jackie Gingrich Cushman — Click Here Now.
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