This week is my birthday week and if there is one thing I LOVE–it is birthdays!! Yes–I struggle a bit with the whole getting older bit (go away wrinkles and cellulite!!) but overall, I am enjoying my life and happy to celebrate another year on this amazing planet.
I also love the fact that my birthday falls during the middle part of the year because it makes for a good time to do some reflection and re-evaluation regarding the intentions that I had set for myself at the beginning of the year (to read about my awesome mid-year personal audit process click here). Regardless of whether I am on track with my goals or I need to do some re-calibrating, one thing that I have learned is that it is never too late to make the current year your BEST year yet and July is the perfect time to get back on track if you’ve drifted off course a bit.
If you are committed to living your most FabYOUlous life, then that means that you need to start having some pretty FabYOUlous years. In order to get the ball rolling and make this year, your best year yet, try these four FabYOUlous suggestions…
4 Steps to Make this Your BEST Year Yet
1.) Know thyself. The classical Greek philosopher, Socrates is credited with being one of the founders of Western Philosophy and he is the one who first stressed the importance of knowing one’s self as a vehicle to living a fulfilled life. In order to have your best year yet, you must be willing to move beyond patterns and habits that have kept you stuck in the land of the status quo–but in order to move beyond these limiting behaviors and beliefs, you must first be able to identify them.
Before you can plot the course for your best year yet, you must first know where you currently are. Make the time to give your current circumstances a thorough review. What areas of your life are causing you grief and what areas are bringing you joy? What are your strengths, gift, interests and talents? What are your weaknesses (it’s okay–we all have them)? What are your values? What energizes you? What drains you? What internal and external influences (both positive and negative) are acting in your life? Knowing these things about yourself will help you to better determine what changes need to be made in order for you to achieve a truly FabYOUlous life.
2.) Chart your course. Now that you have given yourself an honest review, you are aware of the potential roadblocks and pitfalls that might try to derail you in your efforts to create your best year yet. Fortunately, with knowledge comes power and the ability to chart a course that will steer you away from many of these hindrances. Obviously, there will still be some issues and difficulties to overcome, but having a strong sense of self awareness will enable you to use your strengths to help create strategies for pushing through these challenges.
Your next step is to decide what goals you are truly excited about (or recommit to the goals that you set earlier in the year) and get after them! Be warned though–the hardest part will be getting started. The hardest part is always getting started. I’ve discovered that (for me anyhow) the best way to master the “art of the start” is to JUST DO ONE THING. This will help to get momentum working in your favor and help to propel you forward on your quest. Click here for a great post that outlines my D.O.T. (Do One Thing) strategy and how to incorporate it into your life.
Other suggestions for helping you to reach your goals include…
- Set yourself up for success. The pressure to succeed can be overwhelming at times if we haven’t taken the time to implement strategies that will help to guarantee our success. Rather than running around in circles trying to do all, be all and achieve all; spend some time thinking about your strengths and limitations. How much time do you have to commit to a certain goal or project? Is the project one that is even in alignment with your long-term vision for your life? If a project is important to you but you feel as though you don’t have time to work on it, put some structures in place that will help you to be successful. Put a social media block on your computer so that you can focus, move your television from your bedroom to your less convenient basement so that you are less inclined to spend time watching it. Set up a weekly check-in appointment with an accountability partner to help you stay on track with your goals. If you are truly committed to living your best year yet, you will find a way. If not, you’ll find an excuse.
- Find ways to maintain your motivation. We all know what its like to be super excited about a goal only to have the excitement fizzle after three days on a cabbage soup diet. Motivation is a fickle thing and yet it is also the fuel that will help to propel us toward our goals. Learning how to maintain our motivation levels over a sustained period of time then, is a skill that we must master. Click here for great suggestions on how to maintain your motivation levels for the long-haul.
- Celebrate! As you start to experience successes as you work toward your goals, be sure to celebrate them. These celebrations don’t have to be anything elaborate or expensive but they should be meaningful to you. For example, every time I finish a chapter in the book that I am writing, I purchase and download a CD or e-book that I’ve been wanting. This isn’t something that is going to break the bank but it is something that I look forward to and that encourages me to keep going when I’d rather stop. Eventually (when the book is written and published) I will have a bigger, splashier celebration, but in the meantime, these small celebrations are what help to keep me going.
3.) Embrace change. To truly experience your best year yet, you will need to change and in order for change to really “stick” it has to come from the inside out. Once you take the steps to truly know yourself and start to make small, incremental steps toward your goals, you will begin to gain confidence and competence. This will gradually begin to change your sense of self-identify and it won’t be long before you recognize yourself as a butterfly as opposed to a caterpillar.
To get comfortable with the notion of personal change, give a few of these suggestions from Brendan Burchard’s book The Charge a try…
- Mix up your routine. Are you in a rut? If so, click here for some great rut busting suggestions. Often, we become so mechanical in our habitual routines that we don’t even realize that the way we are doing things is actually counter-productive to our goals. Try bringing a little novelty into your routine to help keep you engaged and to break your unconscious patterns. Sometimes a little bit of novelty is all it takes to spark a new idea or forge a new path.
- Try something new. Make it a point to seek out new and inspiring experiences. As you work toward a goal, engage yourself in uplifting activities that fall outside of your normal routine.
- Learn a new skill. What is something that you can learn this year that will help propel you toward your goals. Web design? Floral arranging? CPR? Square Dancing? No matter what it is that you need to learn, there is someone out there who can teach you. There are also YouTube videos, books, podcasts etc. that can help you to master new skills. Commit to being a lifelong learner.
- Meet new people. The kind of people that we surround ourselves with is one of the most accurate indicators of the type of life we’ll lead. If you want to live your best year ever, you’ll need to reach out and connect with people who are also committed to success. Find people who are willing to support you in your efforts and who have experience and expertise in the areas that you are striving to improve in your own life. If you want to lose weight, hang out with health conscious people, if you want to move up in your career, surround yourself with people who are good at networking. If you are the smartest person you know, you are hanging out with the wrong crowd.
4.) Commit yourself. No, not to a psych ward (unless of course that is warranted). Commit yourself to your best year yet endeavor. There is so much hype around motivation and I even discuss the importance of maintaining your motivation earlier in this post. The bottom line however is that there are going to be times in your life when the motivation simply isn’t there. It is these moments that truly separate the ones who will experience their best year yet from those who won’t.
It is in moments of discouragement and blahness that we must go beyond motivation and instead rely upon discipline. Yes–like it or not, there are going to be times during your quest for your best year yet when you are simply going to have to gut it out. Personally, I experience this most often as I work toward my ultimate goal of running a half marathon. There are days (plenty of them) when I just do. not. want. to. run. It is on these days however, that it is most important for me to run. I can’t rely on motivation to carry me through because my motivation is on hiatus. Instead I have to rely upon good ol’ self-discipline to get those miles logged.
Committing to your goals and exercising the discipline needed to reach those goals will practically guarantee you your best year yet.
Implementing these four steps will give you the tools that you need to ensure that next year, you are able to look back on this year with a great sense of satisfaction and joy because you’ll know that you truly lived life to the fullest and experienced your best, most FabYOUlous year yet.