The holiday decorations are all put away, and your home and office are finally free from clutter. There’s a new, clean feeling in the air. So what’s next? Well, one of the best ways to determine what’s to come is by looking at what has happened. Let’s reflect on 2019—all the wins and losses, what worked and what didn’t. What is still in progress—whether that’s work projects or relationships that need mending? What are your goals for 2020, both professionally and personally?
It’s a proven fact that writing down and sharing goals leads to a higher likelihood of success—up to 42% according to research conducted by psychologist Dr. Gail Matthews of Dominican University in California. Speaking your goals out loud or writing them down invites others to hold us accountable in a loving, supportive way. Collaboration is essential, especially when trying to accomplish a goal. So don’t toil alone. Invite your support system to be involved.
I love the new year and setting my personal and professional goals. It’s satisfying to make a clean break with the end of one year and a fresh start in the new. At Plantscapers, we set both individual sales goals for our entire design team as well as overall business goals. It’s just as important to make a plan for how to break down those goals in manageable pieces.
To do this, look at the numbers. As much as we would love them to, numbers don’t lie! We all want to be successful, and starting with a realistic budget is the first step. After we have our numbers in place, we have a strategic planning meeting in February where we reflect on our past goals, learn from our mistakes and then set forth into the new year. It’s one of my favorite days of the year.
I’ve been playing this game called life for quite a few quarters now, and one of the most important lessons that I’ve learned has been to learn from your mistakes. That means not just mourning your failure but observing the consequences and taking steps to grow and create new opportunities out of the experience. We all make mistakes. No one is immune. Sometimes the more significant the error or challenge, the greater the outcome on the other side. This is why it’s so important to reflect on those experiences and learn from them.
The next thing that life has taught me is not to look too long in the rearview mirror. That’s not where you’re going. Being a victim of circumstances is a waste of energy and can be debilitating if indulged. Learn from the past but don’t live in it!
Many things can keep you stuck in the past: Guilt, distractions, excuses, and resentment are just a few. But the faster that you can shed these burdens, the faster you can move onto the next more positive phase of your life.
Here are a few of my tips for creating positive change in the new year:
- Be aware of the things that distract you from doing the good and positive things that you want. Is social media a pitfall for you? Limit your exposure to only a few minutes a day. Maybe you’re prone to sinking into the couch instead of exercising. Make a point of getting to the gym or going for a walk before you sit down at night. Find your obstacle and then find a creative solution for it.
- Pay attention to how you conduct yourself. Are you a negative influence on those around you or an encouraging force?
- Be a good steward of your time. We each have 24 hours in a day, and when we say ‘yes’ to one thing, we are saying ‘no’ to another.
- Make each day count. Life is not a dress rehearsal. This is the real thing every day.
- Take decisive actions and stick to them.
- Recognize what’s important to you and act accordingly.
- Be true to yourself. Don’t work to be someone else’s expectation of greatness. Only you know what makes you truly happy.
- Write down your blessings every night. Acknowledging your blessings will humble you.
- Ask for help if you need it. And spoiler alert: we all need it from time to time! There’s no shame in saying that you can’t do it alone.
January is a great month for taking a deep breath, settle in with a nice cup of tea or coffee, listen to some motivational music, and light a candle to clear your mind. Create space so that you can reflect on the past as a springboard for future successes. Write what you want to achieve in 2020. Let’s all create the best year ever together!