“When you discover you’ve been leading only half a life, the other half is going to haunt you until you develop it.” – Phillip Brooks
Having been quite cynical and stuck in a rut for this past year, it would be easy for me to dismiss the euphoria of the New Year ringing in. 2010 was a very difficult year for me with pending divorce, financial difficulties, death in the family and so on. However as I’ve been thinking about it for the past few days, it occurred to me that rather than making some mindless resolutions like the rest of the world, I would try and sit down and take a different approach to things. As Billy Crystal told Daniel Stearn in the movie “City Slickers”, “Your life is a do over!” We all can embrace the innocence and naivety of childhood and just call a “do-over”.
So rather than dwelling on past mistakes or condemning myself for actions or in-actions which I no longer have any control over, I’m instead choosing to live as a perpetual 12 year old and call a “Do-over!” starting right now!
So what does calling a do-over mean exactly? It means instead of getting overly analytical, instead of beating up on myself, or over planning things to death and winding up doing nothing, I’m just going to employ the KISS method and Keep It Simple Stupid! I’m going to choose to live a life of experimentation this year. Try different things to see what works, and discard what doesn’t. I have read enough books in my life on personal finance, investing, self improvement, leadership, etc. to have a lifetime of knowledge gathered. But as someone once said in a course I was listening to, “Listening to something without taking action is just entertainment.”
One of the ironic things about New Year’s is people tend to set “resolutions” for themselves. In the dictionary the word “resolution” is defined as follows:
The problem with this definition is nowhere in it is a period of time mentioned or a deadline set. Resolutions are easy for people to make and therefore, easy for them to break because no deadline is set and therefore no commitment is required! I believe if anything when the new year begins, people should set for themselves New Year’s Goals. Goals have been defined as “dreams with deadlines”. Also when people set vague “resolutions” for themselves such as “I want to lose weight this year” or “I want to earn more money this year” there’s no excitement, no benchmark to measure against.
In his book “There Are No Limits”, author Danny Cox defines “barrier breakers” as “… people who are purposeful, who embrace adventure, and who keep forcing themselves out of their established comfort zones and into zones of high achievement. They’re the people who learn how to overcome the deadening force of habit and routine in their lives, people who transcend “good enough” and learn how to demand the best from themselves on a regular basis.”. His 10 characteristics of barrier-breakers include the following:
- Characteristic # 1: Barrier-breakers possess uncompromising integrity. They don’t cut corners.
- Characteristic # 2: Barrier-breakers develop and maintain extremely high personal energy levels. They focus on people and things that energize them and they usually energize others in the process. Barrier-breakers also refuse to get involved in anything that’s petty.
- Characteristic # 3: Barrier-breakers are good at working priorities. Barrier-breakers know they’ve got to tend to the frogs that do show up on their desks, and tend to the big ones first, day in and day out.
- Characteristic # 4: Barrier-breakers are courageous. Barrier-breakers don’t let fear dictate the agenda. Keep asking yourself, “Am I in motion today, or am I in direction?”
- Characteristic # 5: Barrier-breakers are truly committed and dedicated hard workers. They need no supervising and they are masters at motivating themselves. Barrier-breakers do what they love, and they love what they do, so it’s really no problem for them to channel all their energy into the worthy objectives they set for themselves.
- Characteristic # 6: Barrier-breakers are a bit unorthodox. They aren’t afraid to try new approaches and challenge the established routine.
- Characteristic # 7: Barrier-breakers are goal oriented. They don’t bounce through the day like a Ping-Pong ball; they take clear steps that are meant to bring them closer to a particular, predetermined goal.
- Characteristic # 8: Barrier-breakers have an inspired enthusiasm that’s contagious. They’re always on the lookout for newer and more magical things, and they delight in sharing their excitement about those things with other people.
- Characteristic # 9: Barrier-breakers are level-headed. You can hardly ever spook barrier-breakers. They grasp new facts quickly and easily.
- Characteristic # 10: Barrier-breakers want to help others grow. Barrier-breakers support the aspirations of others.
So since barrier-breakers tend to be unorthodox, I’m calling a “Do-Over” for myself right now! I’m going to put myself on the spot by defining what my New Year Goals are with specific details and deadlines so that I can be held accountable.
Personal Development Goals:
- Travel both domestically and abroad this year to at least 6 cities within the United States and 2-3 countries overseas.
- Learn to speak Spanish in at least a semi-conversational manner within the year
- Get my weight down to at least 185 pounds (currently at 206 as of this morning) within 90 days
- Continue to read at least 30 books a year including some of the classics
- Learn to speed read to between 800 – 1,000 words per minute (currently around 500 WPM)
- Compete in at least two 5Ks, mini-triathlons or adventure races this year
- Commit to writing for this blog at least once per week and increase my readership to at least 500 people.
- Devote at least 200 hours to volunteering for non-profit causes to include Habitat for Humanity, the American Cancer Society Relay for Life and any other worthy causes I may encounter.
Fun / Adventure Goals:
- Run an adventure race
- Witness a live volcano
- Become an advanced scuba certified diver by year end
- Attend the Oshkosh Airshow in Wisconsin
- Take a ride in a warbird
- Attend a home game at Notre Dame
Financial / Economic / Career Goals:
- Start my own online and / or investment business within the next 120 days
- Commit to donating at least 5-10% of my annual income to charitable organizations
- Pay off at least ½ of my consumer debt this year
- Increase my income by at least 20% this year via earned, passive and residual means
So what are your New Year’s goals? What excites you when you think about it and lights the passion inside of you? I’d love to hear some of your goals and dreams that you have.
“Somebody should tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are dying. Then we might live life to the limit, every minute of every day. Do it! I say. Whatever you want to do, do it now! There are only so many tomorrows.” – Pope Paul VI