Step 1: Reflect
I know, it sounds obvious, but it’s not what you think. I am not suggesting you take a little time to think back on 2015, I am telling you to take an entire day… maybe two. When was the last time – if ever – you dedicated 8 hours to reflecting on the year behind you? Do it. Start with January 1 and the plans you made, then follow it through, day-by-day, and think about what transpired and what didn’t, what worked and what didn’t, the people who helped you and the ones who didn’t. Truly, deeply reflect.
Step 2: Give Thanks
Yeah, we are a month away from Thanksgiving, but let’s be honest, that was all about food, football and family… not giving thanks. And you need to give thanks. Give thanks to your spouse for supporting your craziness all year. Give thanks to your kids for understanding why you were not always home. Give thanks to your parents for still loving you. Give thanks to your co-workers who stayed late to help you get those reports done. Give thanks to the UPS guy who got your last-minute shipment out. Give thanks to everyone. Do it in person, send a note, shoot an email, post it on Facebook, whatever. But take time to show gratitude for all the good things that happened last year. There were more than you realize.
Step 3: Make a Plan
Whether you plan for it or not, 2016 is going to happen. But as I always told my kids, a man without a plan isn’t going anywhere. You want to succeed in 2016? Get a plan. Not an idea, not some general goal, not a list of resolutions. You need a plan; a written document that identifies very specific goals and very detailed strategies for how you are going to achieve them. Then print it out, fold it up and put it in your pocket or your purse or hang it on your wall, and read it every morning. Read it twice a day. Stick to the plan. And if circumstances dictate it, revise the plan and print out the new plan. Stay the course. Plan to succeed.
Step 4: Be Kind
Have you ever purchased or received that book, “Random Acts of Kindness”? If so, throw it away. Better still, burn it. The very idea of small gestures and random acts is insulting to our species. Be kind, but be bold about it. Be audaciously kind. Be shockingly kind. The one thing that separates us from every other life form is the ability to choose to be better, to be kind to one another – not just family and loved ones, but complete strangers. Much like giving thanks, being kind refreshes your soul, makes you better and improves the quality of life for everyone on the planet. It’s your choice. Choose wisely.
And that’s it. Congratulations in advance on a very successful year!