by Michael S. Clouse
The ball in Time Square has dropped, and brought to a close yet another year. Sadness for some—an ending, a conclusion, a finale. For others 'tis just the opposite... The beginning. A New Year. And indeed, one more chance to see if they can put it all together...
How about you? Were you able to kiss your true love as the clock struck twelve, or has life somehow left you wondering somewhere along the way? Wherever you find yourself, this can still become your best year ever. Even if you've broken a few New Year's resolutions in the past—even if you've broken them all!
Below you will find eight simple steps you can take to build a better life. And the good news is, that by investing about an hour per day—over the next 365 days—you can invent your own living masterpiece. After all, last year is history, and tomorrow without any planning will be a mystery...
However, if you will go to work on the present, the future will be an incredible gift.
Design Your Year With The End In Mind
Your first order of business is to take out pen and paper. Next, go find your watch or some other timing devise complete with second hand in tact. And when I say "Go!" start writing everything you have ever wanted in life. For this exercise you're limited to just three minutes. Therefore, speed is your only concern. Try for 25 to 50 separate items like: the car you desire, that perfect home to call your own, perhaps some new friends, how much money you have in the bank, an amount of free time available to enjoy life, your contribution to society, church, or a foundation, the size of your organization, how many new business-builders will be joining you this year, etc. Now remember, keep this to exactly three minutes. Ready... Set... Go!
Welcome back... Now take a good look at your list, and by circling those items, choose the ten most important to you. Next, take out a clean sheet of paper, and rewrite each goal in present-tense language—as if it already were your reality. For example: "I drive a Crossfire. My car is jet black with gray leather interior, and is equipped with every dealer option available." Keep in mind that every detail you leave out must be filled in by someone else, so unless you want to "drive a different car someday" be specific. Complete this exercise for each of the ten goals you've selected, and then move on to step two.
Set Aside 15 Minutes to Dream
We've all heard the sayings: "Crystallize your thinking." "We become what we think about." "Visualizing is realizing." And on it goes... Because nothing is stronger than a dream that pulls you right into the future. And what's the best way to add that absolute feeling to your dreams? You guessed it. Actual photographs, with you taking center stage.
Take your camera and go find your dream home, car, and life. Come up with your own way of uniquely placing yourself into the picture, and then have the photo lab print out some 8x10's. Plaster a wall in your home with this compelling vision of your future. And from that moment forward invest 15 minutes daily in front of your wall seeing every detail. Focus on what you desire. Discover, and then rediscover every dream, allowing them to entice you, mentally moving you forward with each passing day.
Read Ten Pages of a Great Book
Take your ten best goals, and decide which is the most important to you. Then go acquire a book that by its very title suggests it will draw you closer to the new vision of yourself. Consume ten to fifteen pages daily, until you have devoured and absorbed the author's knowledge. And immediately apply everything you possibly can, enjoying all the success this brings into your life.
Plan Your Work and Work Your Plan
The Quakers have a saying "When you pray, move your feet!" How true. Having a written plan, and even possessing the knowledge to carry it out, won't necessarily take you where you desire to go. You need to apply the "all out massive action" principle. You need to set up your calendar with the days and times you will plan your future, then read, dream, and work your business. Because sometimes it's easy to get faked out—always busy, busy, busy. But we must constantly be asking ourselves, "Busy doing what?"
Therefore, each night before you retire, decide in writing the six most important things you will do the following day. And in the morning ask yourself this question, "What is the most important task I can accomplish today?" With your answer in mind, go to work. When you have finished that assignment, move on to the next most important item, and so on, and so forth.
Spend Less Than You Earn; Invest The Difference
Pick up a copy of The Richest Man in Babylon and discover why "Money is plentiful for those who understand the simple rules of its acquisition." The seven principles revealed in this classic include: Start thy purse to fattening. Control thy expenditures. Make thy gold multiply. Guard thy treasure from loss. Make of thy dwelling a profitable investment. Insure a future income. Increase thy ability to earn. Because the simple truth is, it's not how much you earn, it's how much you keep. So if growing your financial portfolio is of interest to you, go get the book.
Invest Your Drive Time Wisely
As a society, we spend far too much time in our cars. And for most people that time is sadly wasted. In order to make this your best year ever, select your second most important goal and pick up a set of CDs on the subject. Commit to listening, applying, and growing as this new knowledge becomes a part of the very fabric of your mind. If you desire to earn more, you've got to learn more, and there is no better place to invest in your most valuable asset—you—than traveling up the road of life.
Always Move Towards Your Dream
With every decision you make this year, ask yourself two questions: "Will what I'm considering push me further from, or pull me closer towards my goals?" Only do those things that will draw you in the direction you've decided to go. And if your first answer is a resounding "closer towards," try asking this powerful follow-up question, "How would the person I desire to become, do the thing I'm about to do?" Deciding to act as the person you want to be will elevate your decisions to greatness.
Believe In Your Future
In 1948 Claude M. Bristol wrote an amazing book, The Magic of Believing. With a foreward from then Editor and Publisher of The Denver Post, Palmer Hoyt, Bristol's work remains to this day as timeless as it is profound.
In the author's own words you will find this commanding revelation: "Just believe that there is genuine creative magic in believing—and magic there will be, for belief will supply the power which will enable you to succeed in everything you undertake. Back your belief with a resolute will and you become unconquerable." And yet it was Eleanor Roosevelt who may have said it best when she uttered these now immortal words, "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." Indeed it does....
All the best,