As this year is winding down, it is time to start a new year. As we begin a new year, I wanted to pass on some advice. In previous Viewpoints, I have talked about the value of using this time of year to change something in your life. There is nothing magical about using January 1 as a start date, but why not use it to improve yourself?
First, I would recommend you pick just one thing to change. If you try to change too many things at once, you are probably not going to succeed. And I would also recommend that you make it a specific, concrete goal that you write down. The more specific you are, the greater likelihood you will be successful.
Second, aim low. In previous New Year’s commentaries I have quoted from Tristan Taylor who encourages people to “strive for mediocrity.” Don’t pick something that it too big to achieve. Start small. After all, you are where you are right now due to dozens of small changes or compromises you made in the past.
I realize the motivational speakers challenge us to strive for excellence. We should pick a goal that challenges us. But also pick a reasonable goal so you can see and enjoy some level of success. Short-term success can lead to greater success.
Third, expect difficulties. It seems like the moment you start a diet, people around you start inviting you to banquets and all-you-can-eat buffets. The day after you join a fitness club, your life gets busy and you cannot find time to get to the gym. The moment you decide to do a daily quiet time, your boss asks you to come in earlier for work.
Fourth, accept failure. You might find that for every two steps forward you take one step back. Sometimes you even take two steps back. This is where dedication and perseverance come into play.
Finally, plan a reward. This gives you a goal to achieve and a reward for your dedication. Use this new year to improve something in your life.