It’s hard to believe it’s almost 2014. While many of you may look back fondly on this past year, many more may be ready to kick 2013 to the curb and start over with a clean slate. Regardless of which group you fall into, I find it helpful to take stock of my life this time of year. What worked? What didn’t work? What could I have done better? What did I accomplish?
Did I succeed? If not, how come? How can I plan for success next year?
Planning is the key. If we set ourselves up for success and lay out what needs to happen (on paper!) in order to succeed, there are no surprises. If I do X and Y, I will achieve Z. If Y gets lazy and doesn’t do what it was expected, we don’t get Z. Plain and simple.
So, each year, I lay out my plan for the coming year. Sometimes it’s written on the back of a receipt in my wallet and sometimes I type it up on my computer. It doesn’t matter as long as it’s something you can reference throughout the year to gauge your progress. Keep it simple, attainable, and realistic. And then stick with it.
As I reflect back on my own successes and challenges this past year, I’m happy with what I have accomplished. And I’m also very well aware of the areas that I fell short in and that I’ll need to work on in 2014.
11 goals for 2014
1. Be present and put the phone down. So many of us are overly reliant on our smart phones and I am guilty of this for sure. But when my daughters say, “Dad, when you are done working on your phone, will you help me read this book?”, it’s time to ask just how important is that email. It can almost always wait. And soon enough, they won’t be asking for your help, they won’t be looking to wrestle with you, play games with you, or be looking for you much at all anymore.
2. Read. At least 12 books myself next year and at least 1 book each night with my kids.
3. Write daily for at least 20 minutes. And have the kids write about their day in a journal each night. Maybe even have them create their own list of goals for next year!
4. Exercise 3 times a week at least. It’s a great example to set for the kids and simultaneously just might keep you around long enough to see your grandchildren.
5. Spend more time with my wife without the kids. Date night at least twice a month. Of course we all love our children but we can’t forget that the reason they are here in the first place is because you fell in love with that person on the other side of the bed. Don’t ignore that connection because when it’s lost, it’s hard to find again. Keep the fire lit!
6. Talk to my kids about everything and ask them questions about it. It’s those “teachable moments” that are the most precious and valuable. There’s so much to learn about our world and for you and your kids to experience together.
7. Listen more. Kids have more to say than you may think.
8. Be less frustrated. Try to accept that I’m never going to control the situation and my power rests solely in my ability to influence future behavior.
9. Don’t compare. Kids each have their own strengths and weaknesses and making comparisons amongst them doesn’t offer anything constructive.
10. Spend time alone with each of my kids. About once I month I take each of them out on a ‘date.’ Sometimes we just get pizza and other times we go to a movie. It doesn’t matter what you actually do; it just matters that you are together, alone. Their faces light up and you’ll wonder who is actually more excited – you or them?
11. Have more fun! Go to the beach, hike, travel, ski, and explore together!!
So what’s your plan for success in 2014? It pays dividends all year long…