One of the best (and hardest) things about speaking on stage, is that it keeps me honest.
How can I stand up in front of hundreds of people and inspire them to make changes in their lives, if I’m not implementing those same things in my life?!
Which brings me to something that I absolutely love talking about on stage – the importance of continual improvement.
Just some of the questions I ask myself at the beginning of each year are ‘Where am I today, and where do I want to be tomorrow?’ “If I could be doing anything, what would I be doing?” “What is going to bring the biggest smile to my face?” I literally close my eyes and let my imagination go wild without any restrictions on money or responsibilities.
Almost always, I find something that I can focus on for the year ahead. Something that will undoubtedly bring joy to myself or those around me.
This is the beginning of a process I like to call meaningful goal setting.
I can already hear you screaming that there is nothing new about goal setting but you must understand it has to be goal setting with genuine purpose!
Not just “ticking the box” goal setting but meaningful, relevant (to you!), stretch goals.
Having a well-defined set of goals has the potential to completely shape your 2018.
Once you have a long hard think about what YOU want to achieve or change in your life, then you can begin the process of working towards that goal. This is where Martial Arts is such a wonderful metaphor for life as it gives structure to this process. I’ve put together 4 of the key steps that will keep you on track.
Step 1. Write your goals down!
This seems small and simple but it’s one of the most important steps. The second you write your goals down, they become real and tangible. Otherwise, they’re just a daydream in your mind. Remember - if you don’t write anything, you won’t do anything! Whether you write them on paper or on your computer, keep them in a safe place, so you can refer to them on a regular basis.
Step 2. Make yourself accountable!
If you’re serious about your goals, then you need to go out and tell the world. If you have started a new exercise program, tell the people in your office. Get them on board. Or if your goals are more personal, tell a close friend or family member. Not only will this help you push through when things get tough but will give you someone to celebrate with. That person can be a source of inspiration to you and hopefully you can inspire them to achieve their goals too.
Step 3. Set deadlines and congratulate yourself
Break your goals into small little steps along the way. Give yourself deadlines for when things need to be done. This places a little bit of pressure on yourself. Otherwise, you will continue to put things off. And once you’ve reached those deadlines, celebrate! I often fall into the habit of being too hard on myself. So celebrating the small wins is a great way to keep things fun.
Step 4. Be patient!
You can’t become a Black Belt in martial arts overnight. Trust me, I know! Goals, especially those goals with life changing results and benefits take time to achieve. So be patient in your progress.
So take some time-out, write some things down, and start making 2018 the best year yet.
The focus is on being better tomorrow than you are today. I know that if you take that attitude with you, when you stop to reflect at some point down the track, you will have earned the right to feel fiercely proud. And, then of course, re-focus and get excited about the next part of the journey.
And don’t forget to keep me updated on your progress via my Facebook page, LinkedIn or email firstname.lastname@example.org.