List makers unite! It’s that time of year again. As we eat and drink our way through the holidays the reality of another year drawing to a close hits hard. It’s inventory time.
It’s time to add up the wins and losses of the year. Are we better off than we were this time last year? Is our blood pressure up and our bank balances down? Or vice versa? Did we impress the boss and earn the undying admiration of our co-workers or are we one screw-up from oblivion? Have we said more ?I love you?s? than ?eff you?s??
This exercise isn’t easy. It requires courage, honesty, awareness, and insight. Most don’t even understand the importance and value of such an activity. Jim Rohn, speaker extraordinaire, suggests taking time not just at year end, but each week and each month, to re-examine where we are in relation to where we said we wanted to be.
Success coaches advise making a goals list and an action plan to get there. Studies have shown the simple act of making a goals list increases the odds of attaining them, yet only three per cent of the population ever put their wishes on paper. Some friends of mine have a slightly different spin on this that I’ve since copied.
We’ve each created a personal dream board?a visual, in-your-face reminder of where we want to go and what we want to have or be when we get there. Though some of the pictures represent things like dream homes, money, sports cars, and some outrageous bling, others signify intangibles.
I’ve also got images of books representing education and life-long learning. Adirondack chairs, footprints on a sandy beach, a Canadian passport, and exotic locales symbolize leisure. Flowers and a photo of a woman getting a massage speak of pampering. A photo of a gorgeous infant is the hope for a grandchild some day. Pictures of a middle-aged couple represent our long-term marriage. Others represent health and fitness. This project is a living, breathing work in progress. It occupies a prominent place in my office where It’s sure to be seen daily.
Having both a written and a visual list signals the universe of my desires and intentions. It solidifies what my next actions should be. It also sets in motion both seen and unseen forces that come together to make things happen. Doors open, opportunities appear, help is offered. In a word: serendipity.
Periodic re-examination of both the goal and the requisite steps to achieve it are critical to staying on course. Rohn calls it setting the sail. Rather than cursing the wind (read economy, in-laws, taxes, any external forces) we control what we can?ourselves, the set of our sail.
The start of a new year is a logical time to re-think both the goals and the action plan. Big or small, tangible or intangible, behavioural or materialistic, it matters not. The important thing is to just do it, from where I sit.