By now, many people will have wished you all the best in 2012. I’d like to take it one step further, and share with you a method which will ensure that 2012 will be a happy and productive year for you. It requires only a few hours of your time, and needn’t be done all at once.
The idea is to set a direction for your life, so that you can focus your energies on what makes you happy. This is not a reformulation of New Year’s Resolutions but if you approach it seriously, you may find you no longer need resolutions (especially the type that you think about only on January 1st, and never look at again).
First, take a moment to reflect on the events of 2011. How did you spend your time? Were you happy with the balance of work, family and social activities? Did you make any progress towards attaining your dream? If you’re pleased with your progress – pat your self on the back, and take pride in your achievements. If you’re disappointed about some things, then think about what you wish you had done differently. Remember, the past is your experience – it’s an asset to be used in your search for success. Don’t spend any time dwelling on mistakes and blaming yourself, because you can’t change the past. Forgive yourself and work on improving the future.
Next, think about what you want from life, and what makes you happy. Some people derive the greatest pleasure from their careers, others from their children. Only you can decide what is important in your life. Try not to let other people’s values determine what you strive for.
You will have several important goals for your life, such as:
• Physical well-being • Financial security • Quality time for family members and friends • Career achievements • Charitable work • Leisure time for hobbies or entertainment
Your list will probably include some of these, and others which are specific to you. The order in which you rank your goals is crucial, and will enable you to make difficult choices as they come up. The key to a successful life is achieving a good mix between family, work, social occasions and service. Once again, it’s time to be honest with your self. Don’t put family time on the top of your list just because you think it’s expected of you. Perhaps what you really want is to put some money in the bank first, so you can stop worrying about your family’s security, then you’ll be able to enjoy your time with them.
These are your goals, and they’re not carved in stone. You can change them to suit changing circumstances and, once you have achieved one, you can give another a higher priority. Picture in your mind what your personal success will look like once you’ve achieved it. Replay the picture often and get used to it. You will find the picture getting closer every day.
Now that you can visualize your destination, and you’ve set some priorities, the day-to-day decisions will be much easier. Happiness comes from pursuing your own dreams, and you can enjoy the little successes along the way. You don’t have to wait until you’ve arrived to be happy. If you wait for the “bluebird of happiness” to land on your shoulder, you’ll spend your life waiting for good things to come to you. Working toward your goals lets you reach out and take pleasure in your accomplishments.
Write your goals down on a piece of paper and keep them in a place where you will look at them often. Don’t give up on them and don’t leave them by the wayside after a couple of days or weeks. We live one day at a time, and it’s what we do today that counts. If we want to achieve our dreams, we can’t afford to wander aimlessly through life for weeks at a time. Challenge yourself to be the best that you can be. At first glance this process may seem selfish, but in reality it will probably improve your relationship with others. With this approach, you are taking responsibility for your own happiness, rather than expecting friends, family or employers to provide it for you. Happiness is contagious and most people prefer to associate with individuals who know how to enjoy themselves. It’s also a lot easier to be open with others when you’re being honest with yourself.
The same process can be used to set goals as a family. Each individual’s desires must be considered, and compromises made where priorities conflict. It may take some time to work through your differences, but, in the end, you can establish the guidelines for family decisions, such as vacations, car or home purchases, investments, college attendance, etc., etc. Talking about common goals will bring the family closer together and prevent possible conflicts in the future.
To live a full life while coping with the pressures & demands of today is so important. I encourage you to try it and see how it will help you to make 2012 a truly Happy New Year.
Broker/Manager – 1739 Bayview Ave