The start of a New Year is as good a time as any to make resolutions. Every business leader should have new goals and make sure they achieve those goals on an ongoing basis, anyway. But the New Year gives us an annual opportunity to review our priorities and make fresh commitments. It provides us with an occasion to focus on what is truly going to make a difference in our lives. It gives us the chance to reflect on everything in our lives for which we can be grateful and make new commitments for the year ahead that reflect our greater purpose in life.
My first piece of advice is simple: Don’t do it. Don’t make resolutions, that is, unless you are absolutely determined to keep them. Research shows that while 45 percent of Americans make resolutions, only 8 percent actually succeed in keeping them. That’s a really small percentage. But when you think about it, it’s a reflection of the number of people who are the winners in life; those who make the extra effort and who have the strength of their convictions. So if you’re going to make resolutions—resolve first of all to keep them!
I believe in making resolutions as I’m a very goal oriented person and I’d like to share some with you. I’m not talking about “losing weight,” “getting fit,” “spending less, making more”—the kind of resolutions most people make. I’m talking about resolutions that will help you steer your enterprise to greater success while having some balance in your life; resolutions that you can be proud of that are in harmony with your family values and your God. Whatever you decide to do, please do it with a passion and appreciate every moment you have been granted of this life.
Remember, too, that resolutions should be much more than ‘fixing’ something or getting something. They should be more than thinking about doing something out of a sense of duty or obligation. Resolutions should be something you want from the bottom of your heart. There has to be a deep meaning—because born out of deep meaning is the motivation to succeed. Resolutions should also be about pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone.
So, here are my suggestions:
Resolve not to make too many resolutions. Target a few key priorities and you are much more likely to achieve those goals. And 100 percent success will be yours. If you create a laundry list of resolutions you’ll be bouncing from one to the next. You won’t have the focus you need and you won’t get anything done. Don’t make those resolutions unrealistic. It’s great to have big dreams and reach for the stars as long as you’re sure you can get there.
Resolve not to make the same mistakes that you made in 2013. Admit it. You made a few mistakes. We all do. But the secret is to learn from those mistakes and not repeat them. Perhaps you put your trust in someone and it didn’t prove to be justified. Perhaps you got talked into hiring an individual against your better instincts. Maybe you allowed some negativity to intrude into your life. Think back over the year. Celebrate your mistakes because they’re part of life’s great journey and there was a greater unknown purpose in making them at the time. But be honest with yourself and compile a list—even if it’s a short list—of things you did wrong in 2013 that you’re not going to do in 2014.
Resolve to let the world know about your business and your accomplishments. Don’t hide your light under a bushel. Communicate often, effectively and truthfully. Don’t let untruths get in the way and always correct any misconceptions. Get the word out about the growth of your company and your specific successes. If you don’t personally take the lead in promoting your business why should anyone else? News of your achievements will attract more investors and more talented employees.
Resolve to learn something new. The world is changing at an accelerated pace. What you learned at school and university is rapidly being outgrown and sometimes made redundant. Technology, of course, is a major driving force behind this change. What you learn today and tomorrow in the real world and at a real job is going to become much more relevant in the years ahead. You should never stop learning if you want to keep up—never mind get ahead. Cherish every opportunity you have to improve your mind.
Resolve to take time for yourself. Many entrepreneurs, in their drive for success and passion for their business, fall into the trap of working morning, noon and night. I totally understand that. But you need to carve out some time to recharge your batteries. You need some ‘me’ time. Exercise is a perfect option. It makes you feel good, strengthens your body and refreshes your brain. But don’t make a vague commitment to exercise. Make it part of your daily schedule at a fixed time. It will be good for you and good for your family.
Resolve to give back. Helping others, especially those less fortunate, is an essential part of life. Particularly so, if you have been blessed with success. Donate any way that you can to a cause that’s close to your heart. Give financially and, if possible, give your time and the benefit of your experience. Mentor someone. Volunteer. Make an effort to channel some of your talents and energy into contributing to your community and society. That’s why we have been placed on this Earth.
Those who bring positive energy into the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves. Energy is magnetic and only multiplies back into your ultimate happiness.
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