In last week’s post, I talked about the concept of being reflective as we end one year and move into another. I talked about how important it is to look back on all that we did in the past year that led to our successes and failures. Once we know where we have been, what went well, and what didn’t, we need to turn our attention to the future and figure out where we want to go.
That is how we set goals for the year.
However, the problem with some people’s mindsets (mine as well, all too often) with regards to this, is that they look back, and they look forward, but they fail to focus on what is most important—The Present!
What we did in the past is gone. We can’t do anything about it other than try to learn from it so that we continue the good and try not to repeat the bad.
What lies ahead in the future is not here yet, and quite honestly, we don’t have control over it.
Now, you might be thinking, “Well, wait a minute, Scott. If we don’t have control over it, why do we set goals in the first place?”
The goals are like a roadmap. They show us where we want to go and how to get there.
But if all we ever do is get a map and look at it without actually ever getting out on the road and driving, we are doing nothing to get to where we want to go.
We don’t drive in the future; we drive in the present.
The map tells us where we want to go and how to get there, but it is the actual driving that we do—the actions that we do in the present moment—that get us to where we want to go.
The Precious Present
Years ago, I heard college basketball coach Rick Pitino talk about how at the beginning of the season, he would give his players a children’s book called, The Precious Present.
He explained that this child’s story did a great job of helping him impress upon his players the idea that the only thing we have control over is the present.
We can’t go back and change the past, and we can’t control or know 100% what the future holds for us.
All we can do is live in the moment – the precious present that we are given every single second of our lives.
So as you look ahead to 2022, and you plan out your goals, actions, and habits to make this year the best it can be, keep in mind that if you don’t actually live in the moment and DO the actions that you need to do to reach your goals, you will not achieve them.
You must live in the here and now.
You must live in The Precious Present.
There are all kinds of books, day planners, and journals, both hard copy and digital, that you can use to plan your year. I highly recommend that you find something that works for you and start using it right now.
Once you figure out the format you want to use, begin planning out your success journey. Consider where you’ve come so far on the journey—how you got to where you are now, the actions that you took that worked and those that didn’t work.
Then look ahead to where you want to go and what you want to achieve in the next week, month, year, and beyond, and figure out what you need to do to get there.
Write down the habits that you need to develop to accomplish your goals. Use your planner or journal to plan out each day’s activities, as well as your weekly, monthly, and quarterly goals and objectives that those activities are trying to help you achieve.
However, you can’t stop there if you want to succeed.
All that reflection and planning won’t matter if you don’t start taking the steps necessary to achieve your goals.
Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu, said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”
The plan you develop is an important piece to your success journey. But it is only the outline to what matters most—the journey itself.
Don’t spend your life planning your life.
You must act on your plans in order to make them happen.
Your success journey begins today.
It’s the only way you will ever arrive at your destination.