Success strategies for the new year
Every year around this time many people focus on resolutions in hopes to have a more successful year than the previous one. This is certainly commendable, and from my perspective, essential. There are some key principles and strategies that I believe are critical for your success. Each of us are different, so while we observe the same principles, individual approaches may vary. What I will share with you today are the key principles that you can use to formulate your own strategy.
Time is really undivided, but segmenting time into days, months and years gives us a necessary reference point and allows us to compartmentalize our lives for the sake of comparison. With that thought in mind, let’s get to the key strategies for the new year.
The most important key for the new year is to build habits. Your success is related to your habits. Whatever you habitually do is who you are. Bad habits make you a bad person and good habits make you a good person. If you want to succeed you have to replace bad habits with good ones.
The following is how habits are formed. Habits begin with thoughts. Remember this:
• Thoughts become words.
• Words become actions.
• Actions become behavior.
• Behavior becomes habit.
• Habit becomes lifestyle.
• Lifestyle becomes culture.
To create good habits begins with what you watch, listen to, and read. If you want to build good habits you have to listen up (above your current state). You have to read up. You have to watch up. This means that you have to begin with a destination in mind. Whatever you want to achieve or become in the new year you have to listen, read and watch what will take you there. You also need to associate up. Find people who have been where you want to go or who are what you want to become and associate up. If you associate, watch, read, or listen down you will not form “up” habits.
Whatever your habits are, you become. If you have a habit of lying you become a liar.
If you make a habit of being honest, you become a person of integrity.
The Bible tells us that as a man thinks, so is he. If you want to become the image of God you have to find his thoughts. The best way to change habits is to replace bad habits with good habits. If you have been habitually late, start out the new year with a smartwatch or clock that alerts you to be 15 to 20 minutes early for every event or appointment. If you are upset with the past you have to change the future.
To change or improve you have to hold a mirror up and ask yourself what you did right and wrong last year. This is a personal exercise, but it is also important to ask people who are close to you that you trust – like a mentor, advisor or life coach – what improvements or regressions they have seen in you. Make note of your mistakes and missteps and document them. Write it down in a place or via a medium that you use often so that you can go back and monitor your progress. Evaluation is an ongoing and continuous process. The most successful people in the world hire advisors, coaches or life coaches to help them become better. Every successful athlete has a coach who makes a lot less money than they do but they pay them and keep them in their lives because these people evaluate their game and tell them what they need to improve on. Make sure you have someone in your life who can evaluate your progress and guide you in the direction you want to go. Listening to yourself only will cause you to miss vital information. It is difficult to see in front and behind at the same time. Evaluate yourself but make sure you have strategic people in your life who can assist in your recognition and development.
Take a trip somewhere you have never been before, expand your vocabulary, learn something new. If you are never exposed to anything but your current environment, it is difficult to grow. As a businessman every year I would go to trade shows abroad. What the shows did was expose me to new information, new products and a wider circle of people than I would have ever been exposed to in The Bahamas. The Bahamas is a small island with a limited population and a limited number of people who have expertise in my business field. By changing the environment temporarily and meeting a wider circle of professionals I was able to return with new and expanded ideas to implement in my environment. Exposure is key to growth. The information age is upon us and what would have taken years to research we can find in seconds. Google, YouTube, Wikipedia, LinkedIn and other online platforms expose you to information that would have been inaccessible in the past or would have cost you tremendous amounts of money to access. Take advantage of the information available. Do research. YouTube is full of do-it-yourself videos, motivational and inspirational material. Expose yourself to the thoughts that will produce the habits you want to achieve.
Vision and plan
The Bible tells us two things that cause us to perish. It states that people perish because of a lack of knowledge and people perish because of a lack of vision. Every home builder must furnish the authorities with a completed vision and plan of what they propose to build before they are approved to start. Look at your life the same way. Lay out your vision for the new year and establish a plan to get there. A vision with no plan is a dream. Dreams are great but they never become reality until they are written down. The Bible tells us in Habakkuk 2 to, “write the vision down and make it plain so that he or she may run who reads it.” Document your vision for the new year and put a plan together that is written so that you can have a record. You cannot go to town planning and say to them I have it in my head. They want to see the vision. In the same way you need to see your vision so it can be checked for progress and adjusted based upon environmental conditions and available resources.
Habits are daily routines that become customary. Over the years I have established some routines that work for me. One of the things I do is that every night before I go to bed, I go over the next day. I go over my schedule, meetings and important tasks. I envision myself in the meeting, rehearsing what I intend to say so that when I arrive at the meeting I have already been there. This helps in eliminating wasted moments and helps me to get straight to the point. I never go to bed without reviewing and anticipating the next day. When I wake up in the morning, I am ready because I have already been where I’m planning to go. If I have to give a speech, I give it to myself several times so that I am comfortable with what I’m going to present. I envision the venue, the people who will be in the audience and I speak to them in my mind. I see their reactions and prepare my response long before I arrive. Routines establish patterns which produce habits which become a lifestyle.
In the early stages of this new year, think about these things and determine that this new year of 2023 will be your year of positive change and progress.
• Pastor Dave Burrows is senior pastor at Bahamas Faith Ministries International. Feel free to email comments, whether you agree or disagree, to email@example.com. I appreciate your input and dialogue. We become better when we discuss, examine and exchange.