YOUR 365: Mile Marker 1 – January

I hope you have been squeezing the most fun, passion and challenge possible out of each of YOUR 365 so far this year – I know I have! Now that it’s the end of January, it’s time to stop and take stock of the progress you’ve made and make course corrections if necessary. 8.5% of YOUR 365 has passed, but you still have 91.5% of the year left to climb your personal mountains and reach the summit of your achievements!

If you used SMART goals (and I hope you did!) in setting your plans in motion, the T is of course “time sensitive” – so here are some tools to use to evaluate your trip so far.

Monthly Goals: If you made individual monthly goals for yourself, make sure that you take a good amount of time and clearly evaluate your wins and losses in January. Chances are you were not able to click off every item on the list, but put giant, bold and happy check marks next to every specific task or goal you achieved. Next, reward yourself! If you achieved more than half of your goals, have a nice lunch with a friend soon. If you achieved more than 75% of your goals, take your spouse or significant out for a great dinner. If you have check marks by everything on the list – Wow! Take an afternoon to go to a spa, take your family to a theme park, or go hiking somewhere you’ve always wanted to go! One of the best ways to continue positive results is to reinforce the behaviors you exhibited in January by linking those acts with some fun on the other end – rewards are important! After you take in your success, take a deep breath, and start again renewed in February with your goals clearly in your sights!

Quarterly Goals: If you set up quarterly mile posts, now is the time to take a look at your progress closely. You should be at least 33% down the path on your mission. If you are ahead – great! Make sure you understand why you are ahead (accidental or intended) and either continue your behaviors (if everything worked as planned) or modify them slightly (to account for the unexpected situations that helped you stay on course). If you are not at 33% yet, you must modify your behaviors very soon. Each day you wait puts you further behind the curve. This is a real DANGER ZONE! The biggest criminal in goal achievement is the feeling that “I will never be able to make it – I don’t have the time to make up the ground I’ve lost!”  Those feelings of negativity will take hold quickly if you let them. Remember that YOU are in control of YOUR 365 – let nothing dissuade you from your path – you are the windshield, not the bug! Make course adjustments quickly and keep your hands on the wheel!

Annual Goals: Annual goals are deceiving…sounds like you have plenty of time to get there…no problem, right? Don’t fall into this trap! You must be 8.5% toward your goal minimum – preferably 10% toward it. Why? Because as you climb your personal mountain the “mountain goats” will start to appear and try and knock you off. These nasty critters come in many forms – unexpected setbacks, waning seif confidence, low energy levels, changes in work or personal situations. Any or all of these will come up during YOUR 365 – be ready for them and plan to defend yourself against the mountain goats. The best way to keep them at bay is to stay AHEAD of your planned timeline, not behind. If you are doing well in January and are on track, DO NOT take your foot off the gas! Get as far ahead of your plan as possible because trouble is just around the next bend of your mountain. If you are prepared, the goats will be a nuance instead of a hindrance to your success.

Continue to focus on maximizing each of YOUR 365 – each day is precious and a tiny piece of the puzzle of your goal plan. You have the power and the ability to do this – believe it! Make this year the one you’ve always wanted – it’s up to YOU!

If I can be of help, don’t hesitate to ask!

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YOUR 365 – The Ultimate Resolution!

“365 new chances to make a difference, hug your loved ones, achieve a dream, or just love what you do. What will you do with YOUR 365 this year? Happy New Year – make it the one you’ve been waiting for!”

The above quote was a post that I did on January 1, 2014 for LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. I was in between watching college football bowl games and getting the grill ready for the evening meal, and just felt like sharing my feelings on the possibilities and promise of a new year. Sometimes when I write, I feel really inspired and hope to get a great response from a post or a blog. With this one, it was more of a catharsis and I really wasn’t concerned with any ripples in the pond from my words.

Boy was I wrong! Those 39 words apparently struck a chord with folks in my various networks because the YOUR 365 theme began to run quickly amongst dozens and dozens of posts, reposts and comments. The thoughts kept streaming in about it more than a week after New Year’s Day. Rather than me trying to inspire others (which is my real calling in life and one of my three spiritual gifts!), the responses to my year launching post have inspired me!

Today I spoke at the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce’s “New Path” job seeker training session. This was the sixth time they have asked me to address and mentor to the group and it’s one of my favorites to work with! During the discussion, I showed the group a number and asked “Anyone know what this number means?” The graphic on the screen showed 3.8%… there were a few guesses but no one got the real meaning.

Then I showed them my post from New Year’s Day and someone from the back said “Today is Day 14 of 365 – that’s 3.8% of the year!” Spot on – they got it! The point I was making is that over 96% of the year remains a blank canvass, ready for each of them to paint their achievements in vibrant colors. Each of them has the time, the resources, the network and the skills to climb any mountain and reach new heights…IF they take advantage of each of their 365!

I told the New Path group about some of the posts that had been popping up with the YOUR (or MY) 365 reference included. These thoughts have come from a wide variety of subjects and various points of view. But what they have in common is that each person posting is now acutely aware of the impact they can have on their life, those around them, and their future by vividly living and absorbing every moment of each day!

Here are just a tiny sampling of the posts:

“This is Day 6 of MY 365 and today I’m going to start my work week off with a positive frame of mind. I used to hate Mondays, but no longer! Each day is part of my path to a fuller life by the end of 2014 – I will not waste any of them again!”

“Today is Day 8 of YOUR 365 (as Brad Raney said) and today I am going to phone, text or email all of my close friends who I can’t see in person and tell them how much their friendship means to me!”

“YOUR 365 – Day number 11. So far I am staying on my weight loss plan, eating better, working out (at least more than I used to!) and I’m 3% toward my goal weight…and I’m 3% into the year – right on track!”

“Good morning Day 12 of MY 365! I am going to church today, pray and worship God, and try not to get angry when my kids get distracted and want to draw on everything in the pew!”

 

What is YOUR 365 plan? What do you want to accomplish this year? Resolutions are often well intentioned but many fall by the wayside to early in the year. Rather than just making a resolution for change, build a plan with real check points, guide posts, and with a team around you that can help you achieve the end result you seek. Focus on each day – focus on each piece of the puzzle – stay in control of the process. Then, whether your objective is small, big, meaningful, light hearted, life changing or just learning a new sport or activity, you will see progress – and daily progress will keep you in the game for the long haul! Be keenly aware of YOUR 365 this year and you can make this year the one you’ve always wanted!

If I can help you build your plan or if you just want a sounding board for ideas, I’m here to help. Helping you is part of MY 365!! Happy New Year!