At the start of a New Year, we often hear the sayings, New Year, ‘new me’ or ‘in with the new out with the old’. The New Year signifies new beginnings; a time to start fresh, forgetting the failures of the previous year or shifting focus to the accomplishments desired in the new year. New Year goals are set at the very beginning of the year – usually by January 1st, most people have written a list of goals they’d like to achieve. Unfortunately, as the focus on the New Year dissipates, so does the focus on achieving those goals.
John C Maxwell reminds us that “Growth doesn’t just happen and that personal growth is not a natural process in most people’s lives.” As a leader, one of the greatest things you can do for yourself is to continue to grow. Do you have a plan for your growth and development? What areas of your life have you considered growing in this year? What books are on your book list? What new experiences do you have planned to stimulate and open your mind?
Since we already know that growth doesn’t just happen, as leaders, we therefore understand that we must be intentional about growing. We are also aware that as we move further into the New Year, our focus on our goals lessen and lessen – that is if we don’t have a plan to keep them at the forefront of our minds. Here are a few suggestions to help you:
- Align yourself with an accountability partner and a mentor. Share your plan for growth with them and ask them to hold you accountable to it. Schedule regular meetings with them (my suggestion is at least monthly) to review your progress towards achieving your goals.
- Create a vision board. Place it in an area where you will see it every single day. On your vision board, place picture images the goals you are working towards.
- On weekly basis, review you goals alone. Examine the actions you’ve taken towards achieving you goals. Assess where you may have procrastinated, delayed or any time you may have wasted and determine the steps you will take the following week to be more focused on your goals. Examine your successes and make those actions steps habits.
- Assess your failures. This is where you will experience tremendous learning. Take the experience and use it to avoid making the same mistakes in the future.
- Sign up for a course. This could be in any area that interests you and will stimulate your mind. Learn something new.
- Join Toastmasters. In Toastmasters, you learn the art of communication in a positive, uplifting environment. In Toastmasters, leadership skills are developed and/or fine-tuned, impromptu speaking skills are enhanced and the skill of evaluation is enhanced.
- Become a mentor. Sharing your life experiences with others help you to grow. As a mentor, you assist another individual navigate life. You are a listening ear, you ask probing questions and you help to guide a young adult through some of the most challenging times of their lives. It’s a win win situation as both individuals learn and grow together.
- Read daily. It is often said that knowledge is power. Read books that help you and challenge you to develop.
- Have fun. Yes set aside some time to enjoy life. Life is about balance so find some time to spend with your family, friends and to do activities that make you happy.
As I conclude my blog today, I’d like to ask you a few questions that I myself have answered. In his book, the 15 Laws of Growth, John C Maxwell asks:
- Where do you want to go in life?
- What direction do you want to go in?
- What’s the farthest you can imagine going?
- How long will this take?
Personal growth and development is extremely rewarding and necessary. You cannot achieve your goals and dreams without making it a priority. The major factor that holds most of us back from accomplishing our goals is FEAR. Your personal growth and development aids you in facing that fear. The more you grow and learn the easier it is to stare fear in the face and recognize it for what it is. When you are skilled, confident and knowledgeable your confidence grows and when your confidence grows you begin attempting things that once seemed impossible.
Tip of the week: Don’t use the old New Year’s cliches. Cast those aside and make it the year of me! Know that if you’re not growing, you’re stagnant. Keep your goals and dreams at the forefront of your mind. Make personal growth & development a priority and use the confidence you develop to achieve your goals and dreams. Make this your best year ever. Be intentional about it.