It’s been a tough year for far too many people. Nations have been decimated by the scourges of natural and man-made disasters. Families are mourning the losses of loved ones. Fairy tale weddings full of hope have ended in betrayal, pain and divorce. Children have been displaced, their once idyllic lives now fraught with tension and the never-ending struggle of who they must pay allegiance, and fears of losing the love of a parent. Businesses closed down, people got fired, homes were foreclosed on, cars repossessed and many were devastated by illness.
Through it all, if you are reading this, YOU are still alive and that means your purpose is not quite done. Whatever transpired in your life this year, you still have an opportunity to make a positive impact with your life. So, dust off those cobwebs. Stop playing the blues. Quit re-hashing that same old sorry story that robs you of your chutzpah. Give up those things that you already know are not good for you. Put your chin up and decide that you will look for and embrace every opportunity God has for you. Learn from your past and go teach others what you’ve learned.
Maybe for you this was a fantastic year. Maybe you got married, earned a promotion, welcomed a child, bought your dream home or car, or achieved a dream. This may have been the best year of your life and you don’t want it to ever end. BUT … it will. So, it is best that you too begin to think about how to make the New Year as great, if not greater, than this past year.
Whatever your feelings, now is the time to be strategic about planning for and positioning yourself to have an exceptional New Year. There are some simple steps you should take. Make time to plan for a better year. Get your writing material, eliminate or limit your distractions and get to work.
First, take an inventory of your year. How was this year? What went well? Be sure to examine the various categories of your life including your relationships, family, career/vocation, health, finances, spiritual health, personal development, etc. Be honest in your assessment, not glossing over things, but not being negative either.
Next, begin to paint a vivid and specific picture of what you would like to experience, be, have, do, and give in the New Year. It’s harder to hit a target you have nor clearly identified. This is your time to dream big and to resurrect those goals that you previously discarded due to fear or past disappointment. This is the time to break past those mental barriers and the voices of your naysayers. In this state, you can be ALL you imagine.
Now, review your list and determine your reason (your why) for any of the things you have identified. This is a very important step that should not be overlooked. Unless you have a compelling reason for accomplishing each of the things on your list, when the going gets tough, and every worthwhile goal will challenge you, then you are more likely to quit. So, take the time to write down exactly why accomplishing that goal is so important and beneficial to you.
Your next step is to create a plan for the achievement of each goal. For many, this is the most painful aspect of planning for success, and yet this is essential for any lasting success. You must have a plan of action and you must be committed to following through on that plan. This portion may require you to do additional research or to employ the expertise of another. For instance, if your goal is to get healthier, your action plan may include consultations with your physician, a nutritionist and maybe a personal trainer. A plan to get out of debt may include your most up-to-date credit report and a meeting with a debt counselor to give you specifics on what actions to take.
Once you’ve hashed out your action plan with measurable benchmarks, post your goals where you can review them daily. Find an accountability partner or two and plan your celebration when you accomplish your goal.
Maybe you are skeptical about all of this. You’ve gotten by just fine without ever being more intentional about the kind of year you want. That is certainly your prerogative, but as good as you are, isn’t there always room for growth? Here’s what I know for sure, when we fail to plan, we plan to fail.
People who choose not to set any specific goals are more likely to spend a considerable amount of time and energy battling their fears, being at the mercy of other people’s demands and seeking pleasure as a means of escape. The choice for how we live our lives regardless of our challenges is always ours. Plan ahead and jumpstart your triumphant year. I wish you a Happy New Year as you live your abundant life.
Aya Fubara Eneli is the CEO of Aya Eneli International, a best-selling author, certified Christian Life Coach and a sought after speaker. She, her husband and their five children reside in Central Texas. Join Aya for a webinar on Results-Oriented Goal Setting on January 11, 2015. Visit her at www.ayaeneli.com to register or follow her on Twitter @ayaeneli, like her at facebook.com/ayaeneli or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pre-order her upcoming book, Reclaim Your Life: Guidance for Wives at the Crossroads and download a Free devotional for married couples at www.ayaeneli.com/crossroads.