It’s January and this year I’m ahead of the game. I finished my business books and am just waiting on my 1099 forms and other tax statements that are supposed to be in the mail by the end of January to be able to file my taxes.
I’ve not been this prepared in many years. Usually I’m scrambling to complete my business books by the end of February when the tax documents are all in hand. While it is something different for me – it is also one of my resolutions this year – to become better prepared to achieve success, rather than hoping in the first quarter, planning in the second, implementing in the third and wondering what in the world happened in the fourth quarter of every year.
Whether I wanted to improve my running times (when I was running), increase my bottom line or improve my parenting skills – it all happens more effectively and efficiently when I prepare for success and not just make a few plans.
Don’t get me wrong – planning is great. You need a plan to get from point A to B and through to point D. But planning only takes you so far. I find I need something that comes before the planning stage.
It comes before setting goals, making plans and setting that plan in motion. In the years I’ve achieved the greatest success, I’ve done one more step first. I have prepared myself to achieve the success I want.
And, that in and of itself, requires a bit of time and planning.
Success doesn’t just happen. It won’t matter the focus of your goals, strength of your plan or power of your actions – without preparation, these strategies may fall flat.
Sure, you’ll achieve some success – but nothing compared to what you will if you prepare yourself – mind, body and spirit – for accepting, achieving and enjoying success.
This isn’t some new age mantra, because if you’ve read anything from me, you know I believe that Jesus came, died for my sins and rose from the dead to walk this earth and rose to sit at the right hand of the Father. New age doesn’t come close to anything as powerful, as uplifting or as freeing.
God wants you to achieve success – however you and He define it together – but He also wants you to prepare for the experience and get ready for the challenges and obstacles that are sure to come your way.
So, while you’re dreaming about what you want to get accomplished this year, spend some time preparing your mind, body and spirit to achieve those goals. These are the strategies that I’ve used in past years that have helped me. I’ve never done them all in one year – but this time I am!
I am committed to achieving the lofty goals I’ve set for myself this year, and believe from past experience that I CAN. I’ve found it’s important to remember that achieving goals is a journey – some will happen in six months, some by the end of the year, and some may take several years.
What is important is that you stay the journey, keep your eye on the prize and never give up. You may fall, you may have to re-strategize how you’ll achieve the goal. You might have to change the plan – or even adjust the goal – but you should never, never, ever give up.
Understand what growth or success will mean to you personally or financially.
When times get challenging and you’re not accomplishing the goals you hoped you would, you’ll need to rely on the why of your plan. This is the reason you created goals, developed a plan and took action. When you understand and internalize what that growth or success will mean to you once you’ve achieved it – you’re more likely to jump the obstacles and face the challenges.
Get comfortable with the idea of success.
Sometimes you haven’t achieved your goals for so long that not achieving is your normal. Success then places you outside your comfort zone. Now you’re at risk of sabotaging your efforts. For example, if you’re goal is losing weight and you drop 15 pounds in the first four months of year – you might begin to feel uncomfortable with your new body, the way others comment on your weight loss or the way people look at you. In an effort to get back to “normal” you may be tempted to gain a few of those pounds back – or dress in a tent.
Take care of yourself.
Success, and the effort it takes to achieve it, requires time and energy. You might be tempted to grab a snack from a vending machine, forget your morning workout, or sit through lunch to work on a new project – DO NOT! Success is a task that takes a bit from you physically, so it’s important to get those seven to eight hours of sleep, your workout each day, eat nutritious foods and drink plenty of water. Amazingly, when you are healthy and well rested you’re also more creative, more productive and more capable of facing everyday challenges.
Prepare mentally for the days ahead.
Know you’ll face challenges, expectations, disappointments and discouragement. When you know it’s coming, you’re better prepared to wait out the “feeling” and rely on reality. Know WHY you’re working this plan, imagine how you’ll feel when you’ve reached your goal, and determine to keep pressing forward. If you know Jesus, determine to develop a deeper relationship with Him as He can lead you through the muck and mire when His goal is your goal.
Know the tech part.
You might not be a techie, but knowing and understanding the technical aspects of your aspiration is one of the ways you prepare yourself for success. You may not want to become an expert, but know enough to know who the experts are and if you’re getting scammed by someone you’ve hired.
Act like your successful self.
This does not mean that you “fake it till you make it,” as the MLM mantra advises. Rather it means that you act like the successful person you want to become. In fact, you become the success you want to achieve – but don’t live the lifestyle. For instance, if you want to write a book, write each page as if 50,000 people will be reading it the first week it hits the shelves. Acting as if you’ve achieved your goals will help prepare you mentally when you get there, and improve your output along the way.
Have a stake in the game.
You may dream about your goal. You may wish, pray and hope that it comes to pass. You might talk about it with friends or family. You might write it down, make a plan, and figure out what you have to do first second and third – but, unless you have skin in the game, you may not have the push you need to keep moving forward. Some people need more than a great reason why – they also need a reason WHY NOT. For instance, if you don’t apply for the new job you want your children will learn it’s easier to not try than to fail and try again. Or, if you never try to start your own business your friends and family will think you’re just a dreamer and not a doer.
In other words, have a stake in what you want that is outside of who you are. Sometimes that’s what you need to push you forward when it all feels a little overwhelming.