It is January 2017! It’s the time of year where we bundle up against the cold, enjoy hearty stews & hot chocolate, and make plans for the new year. I’m checking in with you to share some toasty tips for having an amazing year.
Recently, like most of this part of the country, Atlanta endured a ‘winter storm’. Okay….storm is a definite stretch. But it was cold outside, schools were closed, and residents were advised to stay off the roads. In preparation for Atlanta Snowpocalypse 2017, the grocery store parking lots were packed to capacity with shoppers who had the forethought to get everything they thought they might need in case they were holed up for two or three days. I am going to take a wild guess and assert that most people purchased groceries they really didn’t need in an effort to be doubly sure they wouldn’t be caught unprepared. Lucky for me, I’d just gone shopping the day before.
You do a lot to prepare for your physical needs, like having warm clothes and hot food. How well are you preparing for your personal and professional needs? Do you feel like you will go nuts if you open another email about goal setting? LOL. I promise not to disappoint, sit down, eat those nuts and stay a while. Of course, I have to share my perspective on successful goal planning and achievement, I’m a psychologist and a coach, for goodness sakes!
Take a few minutes to reflect on and then write what would make 2017 an absolutely epic year.
(Wait, a few minutes isn’t up! You’re moving too fast. Think some more)
Now that you have identified what will make 2017 an incredible year, how will you bring it to fruition? You know it won’t happen by clicking your heels together right? (unless you are Dorothy from Kansas and you were thrown in a twister). Much like we prepared for the Snowpocalypse of 2017 by flooding our local grocery stores, I want you to be fully stocked with the information you need to make it through the year successful and happy!
You have likely heard that your goals need to be S.M.A.R.T. That is, they need to be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based. It is true, you need all of that but you need more. If you haven’t set your SMART goals and want some additional help, click here for a great guide. However, if you are ready to move beyond SMART goals, keep reading.
For many of us, the best year possible entails having a life that is beyond satisfactory. A life in which you are not in a rut but rather you are meeting and exceeding goals. You look good. You feel good. Life IS GOOD. Now that you have already articulated what would make 2017 a great year, I am going to show you how to have an E.P.I.C. year.
The first step to having an E.P.I.C. year is to be able to Expound on your why. It is critical that you understand why you want this year to be great. Will this year be better than last year? If you are planning on a different outcome you have to do something different at the onset. (You have heard the definition of insanity right? Doing the same thing but expecting a different result). For your life change to truly be a life upgrade you must be aware of why the change is necessary. More than that, this insight into why you want change must motivate you. For example, losing 40 pounds is not a sustainable goal if your underlying why doesn’t motivate you. If you want to lose 40 pounds so you can fit into all of those clothes that are slowly dry-rotting in your closet, forget it! However, if you want to lose 40 pounds so that you can be healthy, live longer, and play with your children, that’s motivational! Your change will be underwhelming unless you have an emotional connection to your why. Fitting into clothes is nice but living healthier and longer so that you can do the things you love and do them well…THAT is an emotional motivator.
Secondly, to have an E.P.I.C. year, you must Prepare for it. I want to make you aware that preparing is different from planning. Typically, planning is more of a cognitive exercise. Planning often involves thinking and writing. Conversely, preparation suggests that you have not only planned your future but that you are actively creating space for it in your life. For example, planning my dinner is much different than preparing my dinner. When I plan my meals I am thinking about what I want or I am looking through my recipes. When I am preparing my dinner, the oven is on, seasoning is on hand and I am expecting what I produce to be ready soon. Furthermore, I am careful not to spoil my appetite by eating too close to meal time. So you see, I am not only actively putting together my meal I am making room for it by not filling my stomach with other things. Prepare for your E.P.I.C. year by actively constructing the life you want and making room in your life for it. An ancient Chinese proverb advises ‘The usefulness of a cup is in its emptiness’.
For introverts and extroverts alike, it is imperative to Interact with others. We are created to be interdependent. Stephen Covey explains in his book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People that interdependence involves us working effectively and efficiently with others to achieve optimal results. In my book, Choose You! Reignite your passion for life, I advocate for having a personal board of directors. These are your ‘go to’ people who provide wise advice to you.
In this social media and technological age, we are more isolated than ever. People see snapshots of others’ lives on social media sites and fear they are missing something, failing to realize that they are simply reading the highlights. When is the last time you saw a selfie with a ‘bad hair day’? Furthermore, did you know that high social media use is correlated with depression?
It makes sense that for a truly E.P.I.C. year, you should interact more with your loved ones. Friends and family who care for, comfort, make you laugh, hold you accountable and make you better are the ones you should make a concerted effort to be in more contact with. I mean really…can you imagine having an E.P.I.C. year ALONE?
Lastly, your E.P.I.C. year would be incomplete if you failed to Celebrate yourself. This year, be your best, most vocal, most loving, laughing, and dancing self. Think about it…it is nice when others celebrate us by why wait on someone else. After all, it’s not as if being our personal cheerleader is their job! Celebrate yourself by saying ‘Yes’ to your needs, pat yourself on the back, smile at yourself, applaud your effort and stop condemning your mistakes. Too often we second guess ourselves. In Choose You!, I discuss the phenomenon of ‘measuring twice and cutting once.’ If you were sewing or cutting, you would measure two, maybe three times but in life too often we second and triple guess ourselves and still don’t execute. After we have thought about it, googled it, prayed about it, journaled about it, talked about it, and researched it, too often we still fail to implement. Celebrate you, but recognize that you have done your due diligence, no more second guessing, it’s time to ‘make it do what it do!’. Have you ever heard the term ‘think long, think wrong’? Stop thinking and get busy doing. Nothing counteracts a good personal celebration like low confidence. Trust that you will succeed and when you fail you need only stand, dust yourself off, and do it all again.
Sometimes a guide is helpful to be sure we are on track with our goals. Get S.M.A.R.T about creating the life you want for a truly E.P.I.C. year.