Guest post by: Alan Rodway

Many people are right now preoccupied with finishing off this year, having a break, going on a holiday, maybe even recovering.  That’s not the best approach.  It’s way better to not just finish off this year, but to start the rest of your life … to really make some improvements.

Here are some ways to do that:

  1. Think about the early parts of next year now … not just the end of this year.  It’s only a few weeks from the wind down of one year to the start of the next, so to complete a year mentally without starting the next one can be difficult for when the new one commences.
  2. Become more of a human being rather than a human doing.  This is so important, especially in today’s fast paced world.  How can you become more comfortable with who you are and feel better on the inside?  People who feel good about who they are deal much better with challenges from the outside.   Living a life without being and enjoying who you really are is less than meaningful and way more difficult.  Being too much of a human doing will damage the human being.  Remember also that it’s difficult to know yourself if you’re hardly ever by yourself or that when you are by yourself you are always doing tasks.
  3. Put ways in place to not just be busy, to ensure you are strategic in the way you go about your career and business.  This requires decisions and self-discipline.
  4. Commit to achieving your desired professional brand.  List three adjectives you want people to use when they describe you professionally, determine the required behaviours (must always and must never) and commit to following those behaviours.
  5. Evaluate how you manage your stress levels and improve your approach(es) if you’re overly stressed.  There is an optimal level of stress for a person to function well and be happy and this requires that stressors and de-stressors should be roughly equal.  Stressors can be things like traffic, deadlines, conflict, uncertainty, etc.  De-stressors can be things like exercise, conversation, reading, music, surrounds, etc.  Ensure you have built ways into your life to not let one exceed the other.
  6. Estimate how many months you have left in your career … what are the big things to emphasize from now on?  Ensure you live those big things rather than just know of them.   (A calendar year has just over 8 months of work (250 days approximately), not 12 months).
  7. Determine the one thing you should learn, change, stop or start … and do it now!
  8. List the people you should spend more time with from now on … and do it!
  9. List the things you feel you need to do before the end of January, in order of priority,  and disregard everything after the top 3 or 4.  Chances are that below the top few, the rest is not life and death … it’s just ‘stuff’.
  10. Write a Not To Do List.  These are the things that can hamper your success and happiness.
  11. Schedule a full health check before the end of February next year … and do the same every year from now on.  Bit hard to be happy if you’re not healthy.
  12. Schedule all holidays now in your calendar for next year and ensure there is at least one lengthy break somewhere by the middle of the year.  And never allow yourself to think you’re too busy or too important in the business to not do this.
  13. Determine what you must leave behind from your past and ensure next year starts without it / them.
  14. Set a goal that you would love to achieve but that may seem impossible.  Then ask if it would be possible if you allowed yourself 20 years to achieve it.  If yes, then it’s possible.  Then ask if you could achieve it in 19 years, 18 years, etc.  You just set a goal that’s now achievable inside a time frame that you can relate to … a goal you weren’t even going to try to achieve.
  15. Follow the same approach as in the previous point to at least double your income, so that you can enjoy a better lifestyle and/or less financial pressure.
  16. If you’re a parent or love kids, spend more time with them for the rest of your life.
  17. Stop (unconsciously) waiting for something to ‘happen’ before you change your behaviours.  A health scare, losing a relationship, losing a job, etc. all provoke behavioural change in people.  Don’t wait … invoke those changes now.
  18. Determine a charitable act for next near and commit to carrying it out.  Others will benefit and it will make you feel good about yourself.

Enjoy next year and the rest of your life!