How to step clearly and powerfully into the new year

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All this new year talk can get overwhelming, can’t it?

Between plans, resolutions and goals, it is easy to get frustrated before the first week of January is over.

Let’s step back from the pressure of big goals and talk about some practices that will anchor productive behaviors, the key to consistent progress throughout the year.

Take a few minutes to jot down responses to these four questions:

Question 1:
What thought am I going lead with as I take my first step out of bed?

My husband often shares a teaching from his grandfather, who was a very wise person and a medicine man. His grandpa told him to be very aware of how he stepped into a new day, by taking a moment before rising from bed to focus on a positive and uplifting thought. Then to step slowly and purposefully on the ground to set that thought into motion.

Which thought do you start your day with?

“I have to pee.”
“Oh man, I really dread going to work this morning.”
“How in the world am I going to pay my bills?”

Try replacing it with a more inspiring one, like:

“Today, I will truly be of service to my clients.”
“I am planting seeds today that will build my business into a strong and enduring source of value.”
“I will create a thing of beauty today.”

Question 2:
What do I want to create this year that will be a proud addition to my lifelong body of work?

Is it a book? A new program? An adventure with your spouse and kids? An important volunteer effort that will make a lasting difference in your community?

Sort through the big list of “things to accomplish” for the year, and pull out the ones that you will be truly proud to create. Highlight them in your plans, and make sure that you make it a priority to get them finished by year-end.

Question 3:
What values do I need to activate to help me meet my goals this year?

My 6-year old son Josh went to Boy Scout Winter camp last week. One of the activities he participated in was to choose three values that he resonated with most. He chose “Positive Attitude,” “Perseverance” and “Courage.”

I was so excited about these values that I adopted them for 2012.

“Positive Attitude” means I am going to be extra vigilant of my thoughts, so that I do not get distracted by unimportant tasks, or nagging doubts.

“Perseverance” means I am going to work with my team to build a truly strong and supportive business structure so I can deeply serve my clients. I know this will be challenging, so I have to stick with the work, even if it is tedious or uncomfortable at times.

“Courage” means I will step into new situations, business opportunities and creative projects with the heart of a warrior. I will get my new book done, and it will be great. I will pursue new and different ways to expand the Escape from Cubicle Nation brand. I will work with my fears, not be defeated by them.

Choose your own value “activators,” and use them when you hit rough spots or challenges.

Question 4: 
How will I define success this year?

It is very important to personalize your vision of success. Create a definition that not only includes financial targets like “earn $75,000,” but qualitative targets like “laugh often during the day” or “enjoy my work while I am doing it.”

For some more background on creating your own vision of success, check out this post:

Our killer year

2012 will be a great year, because we will MAKE it that way.

This clean slate ahead of us is the chance to do things differently, and get different results.

I believe in you. I believe in me. I believe in us.

Let’s do this!

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11 Responses to “How to step clearly and powerfully into the new year”

  1. […] Attitude, Perseverance, Courage. <with the added cheer “Go Slims!“>. As you might remember, my son Josh chose these three values at Boy Scout Winter Camp. I loved them so much that I brought […]

  2. Carol Ross says:

    Thanks, Pam, for these wonderful questions.

    I’m going to practice the “first thoughts out of bed” ritual, with this thought: “I have the opportunity for another day of Healthy Wholeness.” That means pacing myself, enjoying the ride, and running a profitable business. If I can stay true to this, it will be a successful year.

    I also like the three values–which came to me last night while waiting for a take out pizza. The three values that I’d like to exhibit more of are kindness, patience and courage/fearlessness.

    May 2012 be a year of wonder and delight!

  3. Shaun says:

    I think we also have to define what a successful day will look like as well. This must also be a part of the larger goal.

    Thank you!

  4. Jeff says:

    Thanks! Good advise. If only I can funnel the flood of thoughts that overwhelm me before I first step out of bed :-).

  5. Kyeli says:

    Thank you, Pam. I needed to hear this.

    My values for 2012 are creativity, nourishment, connection, and spirituality. I need to post them, create art around them, put them where I’ll see them first thing in the morning.

    I can already feel the difference that 2012 will bring – and I’m super excited to see where it goes from here! <3

  6. Denise Green says:

    Hi Pam and Happy New Year!
    Please tell Josh that I’m going to borrow his three values too. I’m trying to drum up the courage to name a meaningful- yet doable – answer to question #2.

  7. It’s alright saying you should wake up saying “today I’m going to be a wonderful person”, but when I wake up I really, really need to:

    a) pee
    b) find my glasses
    c) make sure I don’t trip over the cats trying to do a & b

    So can I amend it to “Man, I need to pee, but once I’ve found my glasses, dodged the cats and emptied my bladder, I’m going to inspire everyone I meet. And probably take a shower.”

    • Ha! I might have to think of my morning first step thought the night before on an empty bladder, so I can have it handy to think and then afterward I can make my way to the bathroom.

  8. Thank you so much Pam,
    I love these questions and the direction they point me in. Very much.

    I can really relate to your wanting to be around for your children growing up.
    I spent the last several years being extremely low key while my wee man was growing up.

    My wee man is now over 6 foot tall and just went to University in September last year so I’m now in quite a different phase of mothering and have already noticed how much more mental space I have and how domestics take a fraction of the time and attention.

    I’m now so much more available, have lots more capacity and am ready to get visible this year.

    I also relate so very strongly to your wanting to enjoy your life and work while you’re living it. That’s such a strong need of mine too. I’ve been blogging about it for a couple of years now (in a low key kind of way) calling it my year of pleasure and exploring what it would take to live a life of pleasure. Not a hedonistic life of pleasure but a meaningful, purposeful life.

    I’ll be really keen to hear how your year goes in that respect…you doing your work AND being around for your kids growing up. Do you plan to or could I encourage you to include how that part is going in your posts?

    Here’s to a glorious and pleasure filled year . x

  9. Angela says:

    Thanks Pam! these are great questions to push me along my adventure in 2012. I especially like 2012. I am making an effort to make sure I start my daily thought from love. The past few weeks I’ve noticed i always start with “ugh, when is this going to get better” so I will change my thoughts to “how can I be of service today” or “what miracles will I find today” …thank you thank you!

  10. Great article!

    Question 1 is particularly unique and inspiring. We will definitely be thinking about these questions. Our first foot, or fin, forward will be one centered around productive optimism!