It’s New Year’s Eve!! How are you preparing?
Anticipating a hardcore night of playing Wii with my family (Just Dance anyone?) and watching Ryan Seacrest try to fill the sizable void left by Dick Clark, I took a moment and sat down to consider the goals I’ve outlined for the past few years. I’ve sat down like this every year for the past 10 years and I’m happy to say that each of those years have provided some amazing results… and I see many reasons why all of them to follow will do the same.
What’s the difference between these years and all of those in the past that don’t provide such great memories? Those years that rank up there with a pile of hot garbage when I think of pleasant memories of my life.
I think I can summarize them in 10 habits I employ to develop and use my mindset consistently only a few years ago. If you will sit back and imagine the life you would like to have one year from now and then implement these habits, you will be on the road to ever-improving New Year’s Eve reflections, just like I am.
Top 10 Mindset Habits to make each year better than the last!
- See the Future - The biggest and most obvious handicaps people give themselves in attempting to build their ideal life is that they don’t really know what they want their ideal life to be! I see it over and over because I was guilty of the same thing. When I ask, “What does success look like to you?” you need to have a clear, concise answer. Things like, “Well… I’m happy and having fun,” just aren’t good enough. What is “happy,” what is “having fun?” Get detailed! Paint the walls, smell the smells, hear the sounds, and feel the emotions.
- Open your eyes… no, really!- Another tripping point for me in the past was an unwillingness to see my life as it really was. Depending on the area I was looking at, I always wanted to see it better or worse. The habit comes from looking into the past or future, but skipping over the present. It is also because we think there must be judgment attached to everything. Detach to the best of your ability and look at your position in life as critically (without emotion) as you can. Your willingness to determine your location accurately has everything to do with your success in moving toward your vision.
- Refuse to change… what you love - In my hyper-competitive state of mind (which is where I used to do most of my goal setting) it seemed like a sign of weakness to be happy with anything as it is. The logic was, if I want something more in my life, it must mean that what I have isn’t good enough. Ahh, the folly of youth. Now when I look to the future I acknowledge things that I would like to keep in my life as well. What am I grateful for right now that will only amplify what I would like to change? It is crucial to find gratitude in your current life or you set yourself up for a life of lack. If you think that gratitude only exists in this future life, you’ll never find it in the moment. And as we’ll discuss, the moment is really the only thing that matters.
- Be a kid again - Have you ever tried to explain something to a kid between the ages of 3 and 9? If so, you know that you have to break it down to sensible, concrete pieces or the job will never get done. If that same child looked at your vision or definition of success and asked, “Why is that important,” or “Why do you want it to look that way,” would you be able to make them understand? Or would you surrender to frustration and say, “You just wouldn’t understand! It’s complicated!” You have to be able to explain to a 9-year old why your vision is important or you’ll lack the clarity and drive to sustain an effort toward your goal.
- Map out your steps - Looking at the terrain between where you are and where you want to be is easy from the air. One of my favorite consulting cliche’s is the “40,000 foot view,” because it refers to seeing things in their entirety. From that perspective we can layout big intervals and map the basic tasks needed to make something happen. We do the same thing with our goals. In your 40,000 foot (and yes, I know that isn’t grammatically correct or sensitive to the metric system) view, we aren’t concerned with detailed movements. Only the big, obvious steps between here and there. We need those basics in front of us to get us moving in the right direction.
- Embrace your belief - The advantage of laying out our big steps is that we can more accurately assess potential hazards. The biggest of these hazards is the risk of standing still from lack of belief. We must look at our BIG GOAL and ask ourselves, “Do I believe I can accomplish this?” If the answer is a resounding “YES,” then cool! You’re ready to go. If the answer is anything less than that, we have the tendency to stand still and stare at the goal.
Instead, we start with where we are and evaluate each of the big steps between where are and where we want to go. “Do I believe, do I believe,” each step of the way until we find the spot that we don’t believe. Then we take one step back and use that as our focus point. Because we are now operating within our level of belief, our willingness to take action is unencumbered by fear and each step moves us closer to the BIG GOAL.
- Forgive and forecast - The sneakiest of all saboteurs is the team of resentment and guilt. “You couldn’t lose weight last year, what makes you think you can do it this year?” “Your parents didn’t give you nice things as a child, so it’s obvious you don’t deserve them now.” Ugly, untrue, and unnecessary. Mistakes of the past (yours or someone else) don’t have any bearing on the moment or plans for the future. Forgive yourself and everyone else. It’s only as hard as you make it. Then forecast success and grant immunity for any upcoming mistakes. The biggest mistake of all is to live attempting to never make mistakes.
- Get in the moment - The past is dead and the future will never come. Quite the motivational pep talk, huh? It’s a fact though and one that changed my life beyond measure. All I have is now. You too. So instead of sitting in fear of what might be or regret of what was, let’s engage the only place where power and influence exist. NOW! How do you do it? Answer this question. “What can I do right now that moves me closer to my vision and is in alignment with my purpose?” (Numbers 1 and 4) This is the concept of one step at a time. Step #2 is only speculation until you’ve taken #1. Do what you can in the moment and you’ll always find yourself more fulfilled and happy.
- Stay awake- Okay, not literally. I mean, stay aware. Do your best to stay on point by keeping your purposeful vision in front of you and making course corrections along the way. Evaluate your efforts, not just your results, and get better each time. The easiest way to do this is by employing the most common habit of successful people. Keep A Journal. Briefly, journaling is a simple but vital daily practice. You can do it throughout the day, but make sure to have a set time where you right out your thoughts. What happened that day, what’s coming up, and how do you feel about it? What did you learn, who did you impact, and who impacted you? How did you move closer to your vision and fulfill your purpose? This one practice alone will change your life instantly.
- Be willing - I’ve used the word “willingness” a few times throughout this list. The willingness I’m thinking of now is a little different. When most of us consider our dream life it involves daily use of our God-given gifts. The things that light us up and we lose total track of time when doing them. The lie that prevents us from moving forward has something to do with our qualifications or worth not being high enough to use those gifts effectively.
Here’s what I know. Qualifications and credentials don’t equal worth. The positive difference you make in the lives of others determines worth.
Here’s what I believe. Those gifts and desires to use them were planted in us by God Himself for His use, not ours. Once we feel the tug, and you know what tug I mean, our only job is to be willing. I know from experience that you don’t even have to understand what all of the steps are or exactly how it is going to happen. You just need take whatever step is immediately in front of you.
If you aren’t a person of faith, that last one will be hard for you to get your head around. But then again, so will a lot of the things I say. What I ask you to do is set aside your uncertainty long enough to tune in to what your body is telling you. Why do you desire to be more than what you are now? What purpose would cause you to risk your current comfort for a stretch in meaning?
To believers and non, my last thought about willingness is this… the potential of your gifts is not even about you. It’s about the rest of the world and what they get from the realization of your gifts. You and I get the fulfillment, but the world at-large gets the benefits. When you identify what the world will receive when you live willingly, turn it around. What does the world lose by your resistance? This isn’t about you.
If you are willing to consider #10, the other 9 can help you get there.
I wish you the blessings, strength, faith, and clarity you’ll need to realize your dreams in 2013 and beyond. I love you and thank you for being a part of my life.
Be your best,