New Year’s ‘Resolutions’ don’t work for most people.
Come January 12th and most goals, targets, and ‘Resolutions’ are long forgotten or completely ignored.
Don’t believe me? Just wait… you’ll see.
Even so, the New Year is a great trigger to pause, reflect, see what worked the previous year, what didn’t, take a temperature reading of where you stand, and make important adjustments moving forward (in any important area of your life, such as your finances, health, relationships, etc).
If anything, the New Year is a great reminder that you’re one year older and therefore have one year less to live life to the fullest.
So don’t waste 2019.
Below is a list of suggestions of where you may want to focus, or reflect, or make adjustments to improve your overall quality of life moving forward (just don’t call them ‘Resolutions’).
Take a Good Look in the Mirror …
Oftentimes when people screw up bad, or screw up often, in business, relationships, or in their health it’s usually because they don’t know themselves… well enough.
Are you an action taker? A planner? Are you expressive? Highly logical? What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Do you know?
If you don’t know, there are things like the Myers-Briggs test, the Kolbe test, and many others that can give you a reading of your personality and your natural behavioral inclinations.
Why could this be important?
In poker, they say that if you don’t know who the biggest fool at the table is… it’s probably you.
So if you’re not familiar with your personal tells, but everyone else is… that’s a bad situation to be in.
So know thyself.
Structure your days around your strengths… be aware of your weaknesses and account for them by delegating things you don’t enjoy and are not very good at… so they don’t take command of your life again in 2019.
Strong Mind …
To excel in any part of your life, it really helps to have your head screwed on straight — so you think, so you behave, so you achieve.
Have you ever been offended by someone’s innocent remark and snapped at them? Or has anyone done that to you?
Have you ever hung up a phone call or left a business meeting and kicked yourself thinking, “I should have said this… I should have said that,” and they would have bought my valuable solution and improved their life?
Or have you been in a tiff with your child and later thought, “I should not have said that,” and felt remorse or regret?
If something like this has ever happened to you, it’s probably because you weren’t thinking straight. You weren’t “in the zone” mentally. Some kind of mental fog was making you behave in ways that were inconsistent with the best image of yourself.
So make sure you take conscious control of your thoughts. It can be done.
Here are a few suggestions: Take up meditation. A good one is Ziva Meditation.
The book Psycho-Cybernetics has been a bestseller since 1960. And the related audio series Theater of the Mind is a solid tool for helping you clear your head and keep your mind strong and on purpose.
Strong Body …
“Fatigue makes cowards of us all” – a quote said first by either Vince Lombardi or General George S. Patton.
What’s it mean?
If you don’t have the physical stamina to keep up, you’re going to quit, and you’re going to quit too soon.
In business, you’re going to think, “I’m not going to make that last phone call because I’m too tired.”
Or I’m going to put off finishing this email campaign because I feel like crap.
Or, you snap at a loved one… Head fog? Possibly. It could also be because you’re physically exhausted and your patience is running low.
So what do you do?
Keep your body strong and it will keep your energy up.
Exercise every day. Walk. Swim. Join a gym. Eat healthily. Get sleep.
Habit force is both a blessing and a curse.
You can’t possibly thrive without autopilot, unconscious action and response, but things change, and you need to slow down from time to time and rethink.
“Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason so few engage in it.” – Henry Ford
He’s probably rolling around in his grave right now with so many people “hustling” and “multi-tasking”, swiping left on their phones and feeding their social media addictions.
If you’re always on the move Getting Things Done (GTD)… you have to be very careful you’re not actually suffering from HROAEWS (Hamster Running On An Electrified Wheel Syndrome).
If you’re always striving and pushing, you’re not giving yourself enough time to reflect on what’s happening, see what’s ahead, and course correct accordingly.
How else will you come up with your next breakthrough?
It’s not going to happen if you’re in perpetual Tasmanian Devil mode.
Rest, take naps, go to bed early… take more vacations, too.
You think I’m crazy?
You think you can’t let up because of all the competition you have out there? Or because you have to keep up with the 24-hour Internet commerce cycle?
Those who take this advice and sleep more will run circles around you.
I’ve written a lot on this subject here:
Connect And Network …
Don’t stay stuck behind your cell phone or laptop all the time, get out there and get analog with the natives.
Jim Rohn said, “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
So it’s okay to pick and choose who you decide to spend most of your time with during 2019.
But don’t be too calculating either.
In Thou Shall Prosper, Rabbi Daniel Lapin writes, “Learn to develop new relationships. This will help you succeed not only in business but also in other aspects of your life. Try to win friends, not in order to influence people for your benefit, but for the sheer joy of forming and maintaining human relationships. Paradoxically, only in that way will you stand the best chance of enhancing your life.”
“But Robert,” you say. “How do I take action and avoid catching the HROAEWS disease?”
Leverage yourself and apply 80/20 to the actions you take.
In other words, HROAEWS happens when you waste time and energy on things that will not move the needle.
It makes you look busy, but you’re not accomplishing anything important. (Do you really want to get to the end of 2019 and have it look just like the end of 2018? That’s HROAEWS.)
So use your thinking time to zero in on the few actions that, when done well, can produce meaningful results.
Instead of GTD (Getting Things Done), you want GTRTD (Getting The Right Things Done). There’s a BIG difference. Yuuge.
To help you out here’s a question to ask each morning before starting your day (I believe it’s from Richard Koch, author of The 80/20 Principle):
“What one big goal can I achieve with relatively little effort today that will justify my whole week’s work?” (Must take less than a day to complete).
Often when New Year’s ‘Resolutions’ get tossed out the window it’s simply because the Resolution-er forgets to remind him- or herself, often enough, of the Resolution.
The remedy then is to continually keep your eye on the prize. Become one with your goal, as though you’ve already attained it. If you drift off to one side, steer yourself back into the sweet spot of achievement.
Because if you lose sight of the target in your mind’s eye, you ain’t going to hit it.
And like it says in Psycho-Cybernetics, self-image is ALL.
If your goal does not become part of your very identity, it will be literally impossible to achieve, no matter how hard you try.
There is no such thing as failure, only feedback.
That’s why “What’s measured, improves” is such a powerful mantra in direct marketing circles.
And it works just as well for weight-loss, earning money, building strength, learning a new language, etc.
Another concept that can help you tweak more powerfully is using positive and negative feedback.
Negative feedback – It’s like a heat-seeking missile. When it’s off target it zigs back on target. When it’s off target again it zags back on target. Therefore, it zig-zags in tighter and tighter moves until it hits its target dead center.
So don’t be disappointed if you fail to move in a straight line toward your 2019 goals. You’ll probably move more like that missile zigging and zagging until you achieve them.
Positive feedback – It’s that groove on the stepping stone in the yard that collects water after each rain and snowmelt and gets cut deeper and deeper after each rain or melt.
So remember to look back at what went well in 2018. What worked? Did you find a profitable traffic source? Gain traction promoting a particular product?
Go back to it and do more of it, get better at working it, and it’ll get easier and may bring back exponential returns in 2019.
Apply positive feedback in other areas of your life, too.
Did you work with an effective personal trainer who helped you lose a few pounds? Work with him more often and get even better results. Did you find that you like writing sales copy and you’re pretty good at it? Polish those skills, get better at it, and sell more merch.
Add Spice To Your Life …
Staying focused on your 2019 goals and targets will help you achieve them.
But don’t forget to leave a little room for unpredictable quantum leaps.
You just never know where it might take you. Maybe somewhere even better, a new destination you never knew existed.
Take the story of actress, Audrey Hepburn…
She was the Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Michael Phelps, and Serena Williams of her era. She was the first actress to win an Oscar, Golden Globe, and BAFTA Award for one movie – the romantic comedy Roman Holiday. And she’s one of 15 people to win all of the ‘Majors’ – an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony.
She could have zeroed in on her acting career and pumped out a ton more romantic comedies, won a semi-truck load of acting awards, and piled a mountain range of cash…
But Ms. Hepburn decided to take a small quantum leap, and add some spice to her life.
She quit Hollywood cold turkey to volunteer for UNICEF (the part of the United Nations that provides food and healthcare to children in war-torn countries).
After decades volunteering for UNICEF she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom… the highest civilian award of the United States.
Would Hepburn have won the Presidential Medal of Freedom if she stuck to her Hollywood knitting? And, did she achieve a bigger mission taking that sharp left turn to care for and feed war-zone children with UNICEF?
And where will 2019 really take you?
That’s one to think about on New Year’s Eve…
Happy New Year!