I’m going to break away from my typical articles about customer service and experience and get personal. It’s that time of year when we make New Year’s resolutions that, while well-intentioned, we quickly fall short of and often forget in a very short time. Personal goals about working out and losing weight seem to be the most popular. Those resolutions can often be frustrating, especially if they become a pattern of failure that repeats year after year.
Instead of looking ahead into the New Year and getting frustrated, how about looking back over the past year at the accomplishments and things that happened in your life, both personally and professionally, that made you happy or proud? I have a little two-part exercise for you to do. The first part is to answer the following question:
“What ten things happened in the past year that you are most proud of or grateful for?”
Here are a few of mine:
- In business, I did 47 speeches for amazing clients.
- I had a great summer vacation with my wife.
- I performed a magic show at an off-Broadway theatre in New York.
- My son and I played guitar together.
- I had an amazing time with my daughters on a recent trip to New York.
- I watched the St. Louis Blues hockey team win the Stanley Cup—and was in the victory parade with the players.
You get the idea. These are some of my highlights of the year. Here’s what’s interesting; most of them are repeatable. Even the business accomplishment is likely to repeat itself, if not get better. The obvious exception is watching another Blues championship victory. That one is completely out of my control. I can only hope and cheer them on.
The other experiences I’m grateful for are completely within my control—making time for a vacation, practicing my sleight-of-hand for another magic show, taking time to be with my family, managing the business…. All of those happened because I made time for them and properly planned.
The second part of the exercise is to create a plan to repeat them.
In the investment world, there is a disclaimer that goes something like, “Past performance does not guarantee future performance.” While that may be true, the past gives you an example of what could happen. It’s the same with your accomplishments. You already achieved them—and you achieved them recently, within the past year.
Recognize what you are grateful for and proud of, and then find a way to repeat them. Don’t just think about it; commit it to paper. For business, you’ll make a plan. For your personal life, it may be as easy as taking out a calendar and blocking some dates. If you want to continue and expand on what you’re most proud of or grateful for in your life, first you must recognize what that is. Then, make a plan to repeat them. Make it purposeful.
Before I go, let me take this time to wish you the best year ever! May each year be even better than the last!