Have you ever watched a construction site? First plywood fences go up to establish a safe area and… nothing. Every day, you walk or drive by and nothing changes. This continues for months. You might even think, “did they stop this project?” Then one day you notice 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 make 2013 one of your best years ever, start now to build a solid foundation for success.
- Confirm You’re Working on the Right Stuff. If you have not 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.
Download this Core Values worksheet from my website to help you with the exercise.
- 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, Physical space, and your Spiritual self. Use this worksheet to discover where there are flat spots on your life wheel.
- 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 six 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 Reasonable (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? Use the time between now and year end to sit with your goals. Read them every day; notice which ones continue to keep you excited. Six weeks from now you’ll know which ones you want to carry into 2013.
Digging out the foundation is a messy business, and it can be discouraging because you don’t make visible progress above ground. Rest assured that if you do the work, get your hands dirty, and use this time to dance around and make friends with your goals, by the time you hit New Year’s Day you will be amazed at how fast you can build a successful year.