Preparing for a productive 2017

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We are coming to the end of 2016. Can you believe it? But oh my what a year it has been! It’s safe to say that we have experienced all kinds of emotions this year. But I must be honest with you, 2016 was not necessarily a bad year for me. It was not great either – it was just Ok. I have managed to achieve certain things and fell short on some. But now it’s time to head back to the drawing board to make some changes for 2017.

I have jotted down eight points which I think will help you (and myself) to be a little more prepared for 2017, but more so to have a productive and fulfilling 365 days in it.

  1. Anything great starts with a plan

Planning prepares you for change. I don’t know about you but I become a nervous wreck when I don’t have a plan on anything – I like knowing that I know where my life is going. But more than that, I like the feeling of being on the driver seat more than being a passenger in my own life. Planning gives me that opportunity.

However people vary and short-term thinkers would rather take life as it comes, just wake up and follow the wind. But the truth is, when the realities of life happen, all that they will be asking from you is, “do you have a plan?”

Thoughts become lighter when they are on a sheet of paper than they are on your mind. I suggest that you start by taking a piece of paper and a pen, begin to map out areas of your life or your responsibilities. This will help you identify your goals and where you are needed.

When doing this exercise I have always used semantic mapping (also known as spider mapping) – just Google it. Also don’t scribble and throw away – keep a journal of your ideas,  your thoughts and the things you would like to do. I use www.evernote.com to make sure I never lose anything I write.

  1. Commit

Each goal you’ve identified needs your dedication and commitment. This is the hard part because you now have to start grinding. You now need to start making changes. You cannot delegate this part of your life or wait for some miracle – you level of commitment is the miracle.

If in 2017 you want to be fit – physically, spiritually, relationally, financially, emotionally or mentally? Then you need to invest your commitment.

Commitment is the gulf between where you are and where you need to be in whatever you desire.

If you cannot commit to anything that you know will improve your life – something you yourself have identified as an important goal, then you might as well stop reading right here and share this article with someone who wants to change their life so bad they are willing to do anything.

  1. Collaborate 

I am sure you’ve heard of the phrase, “There is strength in numbers.” Well it’s true.You cannot do everything all by yourself. You need people and people need you.

Collaborating with the right people increases your chances of success by improving your performance and speeding up the time it would have taken you to reach your goal.

The people we choose embrace into our inner-circles have a great influence on the people we will become in the end.

Look for people who are on the same mission in life as you are. Also work with people who have what you are aiming for, listen to how they got it and how they keep it.

Get rid of all the negative, do for nothing and good for nothing people. They will only pull you down. Drain your energy and help you quit. It’s better to have a few quality people than a quantity of meaningless relationships. Collaboration demands that you do a friendship audit. You cannot take everyone with you in 2017. I want you to collaborate with people who make plan to get things done,  these are fruitful people.  Walk away from people who have excuses on why their goals cannot be achieved.

  1. Reflect

Make time to pause and take breaks in between. This is a difficult one for me, I am a goal orientated person. When I zoom in on something I struggle to let it go until I have it in the bag. But the down side is burning out. Learning to take the time to pause and reflect has helped me to re-assess and make changes as I go along. I have learned to pace myself.

I am an ambivert, so sometimes I need to be by myself and sometimes I need to be around people.  So one of the ways I take time to reflect on where I am going and where I am, is through reading or going to the gym. In these moments I re-visit my outlook on things such as, my day, my week etc. How do you take time to reflect?

  1. Refresh

What energizes your mind? We work for a living but we seldom stop to benefit the life we’re working for. Spending time with the people we love can be refreshing – just goofing around,  having meaningless conversions and creating memories works for me.

I am a fairly  private guy (I would like to think), so for me my wife and daughter come first. Again,  what brings life into your thoughts? Do that.

  1. Accept and restart

Be easy on yourself, not everything you planned will happen. Find fulfillment in knowing that you had a plan to help you identify which goal did not succeed and why? At least you know where to start when you try again in 2017.

  1. Redefine failure

You will fail. You will fail badly,  miserably and publicly sometimes.  It’s part of the journey.

What I have learned about failure is that,  it’s not the failure that’s usually the problem.  But how we define failure. Your definition of failure determines how you will process your situation.

Some people cannot separate a failed situation from themselves – even though they may have had some level of influence to the situation.  The result is that these people end up labeling themselves as failures,  in all they do. This is when failure moves a situation to an attitude.

I define failure as a lesson. It’s a refining moment – unpleasant as it may be.

To learn more about dealing with failure I suggest you read a book called, Failing Forward by John Maxwell.

  1. Don’t wait for the finish line

Our best moments in life happen along the way to our destination.  Don’t wait until you arrive at your destination before you start celebrating. Be excited about the little wins yo obtain along the way – each day.

Destination disease can make you suppress your happiness and excitement. Don’t save it for the finish line. Have a big party when  you succeed.  But on the way there,  you need to find ways to celebrate your efforts.

When I started working out. It was hard and it’s still hard.  But everytime I go to the gym or choose to eat a little healthier I give myself a pat on the bag. I give myself small gifts to acknowledge my own efforts. I will not wait until I have a six pack. Likewise you shouldn’t wait for December 2017. Celebrate in the journey and celebrate the journey.

Please share with me what you think about these points.  May be how you prepare for each coming year. 

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