Well, 2015 is upon us. Another year in the can. So, what’s it gonna be this year? Buns of steel? Abdonomizer 10,000? Or will you take Tim Ferriss’s approach and spend less time at work, and more time Flamingo Dancing in Argentina? Really?!
The truth is we’ve all been there haven’t we? There are more than a few of us reading this who have held a one-year gym membership that they only used for the first week in January. I have always tried to use New Year as a time of reflection and self-improvement. That’s okay, but before you get that gym membership , put your credit card away, and let me suggest a slightly different approach that you can live with…and it won’t cost you $19.99.
I call this my 2015 Rex Mann (Named after my Dad) Leave Tracks Method and it has four points:
1. First, reflect on 2014 before you start making resolutions. Do this with a purpose. We are all so busy, it’s hard to be introspective, but you deserve it. You’ve busted your rear end this year. Take a few minutes for yourself. Go someplace quiet – be still – and reflect. But, focus on your accomplishments rather than your failures. If you are like me, I am always quick to hone in on what we screwed up. It’s good to seek self-improvement, but that really starts by deeply reflecting on the blessings in life. I’ll bet you have more to be grateful for than what you often realize when you are running 90 m.p.h. Slow down just for a moment. Let gratitude slowly consume you and then flow into your accomplishments of 2014. What went really well this past year that you want to continue? What do you want to build on? The failures and shortfalls will try to creep in…push them out.
An even more effective approach -after you are done – is to share it with your Family or other loved ones. (Tonight the Mann Clan is going to share theirs over a game of Cashflow).
2. Next create a “Leave Tracks” list for 2015. While you’re in that quiet place, think about this: If you went to the doctor on January 1st, and learned that 2015 were your last year on earth, what your resolution look like? What things would put at the top of your list? (I bet Buns of Steel would be a little further down). I am not saying getting back in shape is unimportant, but consider tying it to a deeper goal – like “more lasting relationships with your spouse and kids.” They need you around, so fitness might be key. It’s this kind of positive emotional connection that drives us to improve our station in life – not, “Oh Crap, I ate so much I threw my back out…I gotta lose 30 lbs (or is that just me?)”
One thing I’ve learned as a Green Beret is none of us know how much time we have on this earth. I’ve lost buddies way earlier than I expected. My Dad’s advice of looking through the life lens of leaving deep tracks is a really meaningful way to map out your year in 2015. Oh yeah, write them down – that helps solidify it. Put them where you can see them. Then journal every day in relation to your goals. It works.
3. Now for looking at the upcoming year. If you’re starting to feel pains of dread, just push them aside. This doesn’t have to suck. As you make your resolutions for 2015, consider this…focus on your strengths and less on your weaknesses. Just like reflecting on your past year, it’s a heck of a lot easier to create new habits or even better build on existing strengths, than it is to unwind bad habits. There is a lot of science in the realm of talent development to back that up. How can you play to your strengths or create new ones to meet those “leaving tracks” goals of 2015? Do you know what your strengths are? If not, that could be another great reflection period and discussion with loved ones.
4. Okay, one more thing…if you are working on a really big dream for 2015 or beyond. Keep it secret for a while. According to the Little Book of Talent, people who keep their big dreams secret before they embark on them are much more likely to accomplish them.
Here is the bottom line to consider before that ball drops and you head to the gym along with most of America: You are living in a rapidly changing, tough time. You’ve got a lot on your plate. But, you are more than capable of leaving deep tracks in this world – of making a big difference in the lives of those around you, and maybe even some you haven’t met. But, it’s less about running with the pack to change your perceived weaknesses, and much more about being introspective, focusing on what matters most, and playing to your strengths. This is how you you can make those incremental changes you most want out of your life.
I hope these tips helped a little bit. Give us your thoughts on 2015 and your plan for action below.
I can’t wait to spend more time with you and our whole Game Changer Tribe in 2015. There is a lot of work to be done in the world, and we need you with us.
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Thanks for what you do, and Happy New Year!