Have you ever watched a construction site develop? First plywood fences go up to establish a safe area and then… nothing. Every day, you walk or drive by and nothing changes, there’s no movement. This continues for months. You might even think, “did they stop this project?” Then one day you see some progress, a few steel girders peeking above the fence. And in what seems like no time at all, you are looking up to the sky.
You see nothing happening because the initial work is underground. Once the foundation is poured and the utilities connected, a new building can appear to spring from the ground.
If you want to personally spring from the ground and prepare for one of your best years ever, start by building a solid foundation for success.
Five Steps You Can Take Now to Make 2018 Better
- Confirm You’re Working on the Right Stuff. If you haven’t already done so, sit down and write out your personal (core) values. What is truly important to you? If you don’t know, your foundation will be shaky.
- Examine Your Current State. Divide a sheet of paper into three columns. Label them Stop, Start, and More. Capture your responses to the following three questions:
- What do I need to STOP doing that is getting in my way or draining me?
- What do I need to START doing because it is missing for me?
- What do I need to do MORE of to support me in my life and work?
You can do this in an hour or over several days. Notice what themes emerge as you scan across the columns. That’s what you need to work on next year. (You can also do this on a wall with sticky notes.)
- Strive for Balance. If you notice tension in your life, it may in part come from lack of balance between your different parts, e.g., Relationships, Family, Career, Finances, Health, Fun and Personal Development, Physical Space, and your Spiritual self. Rate your current level of satisfaction (1-10) in each area, and consider which to work on to even things out.
- Dream Big Leaps; Plan Small Steps. Great goals inspire, so don’t be afraid to imagine big differences and bold moves for yourself. Be careful, however, that the Big Goal does not frighten you into paralysis.Instead, break it down into tiny pieces. Use the next few weeks to write, rewrite, and flesh out the details of your goal(s). What will success look like? What is the first step you will take? The second? The 20th? You only need to take one step at a time to complete a long journey.
- Keep It Feasible (for you). After you write down all possible goal ideas, narrow down the list to no more than three. The strength to say “No” to a glorious and inspiring goal is just as important as the courage to say “Yes.” You cannot do everything, and it will be better if you strive for and achieve one goal than if you work on ten, yet finish none.What if you love them all? Take time to sit with your goals. Read them every day; notice which ones continue to keep you excited. In a few weeks you’ll know which ones you want to carry forward.
Digging out the foundation is a messy business. It can be discouraging because you don’t make visible progress above ground. But rest assured that if you do the work, get your hands dirty, and set aside time to engage the promise of your new goals, when it’s time to move forward you’ll be amazed at how fast you can build a successful year.