You know what success means to you, you’ve set your goals for the year, and you’re committed to making them happen.
Or maybe you haven’t done any of the above, but you still want to make 2015 your most successful year to date.
Whatever situation you are in, I’ve got ten tough questions you must ask yourself regularly over the next 12 months.
Let’s get started before one of us loses our nerve:
1. Am I Harnessing the Power of Small Daily Wins?
It’s difficult to accomplish a major personal or professional goal through a short bout of intense productivity. For example, if you want to write a book this year it’s unlikely that you’ll write this goal in a single week or even in a single month.
Instead, concentrate on progressing your goal a little every day. This way you’ll be able to make steady but determined progress without burning out.
If you want to write a book, for example, commit to writing three hundred words every day. Three hundred words a day for 365 days is over 100,000 words, which is longer than most books.
2. What’s On The Other Side of This Coin?
Achieving a big personal or professional goal is a satisfying feeling.
Last year, I wrote a book that I’d been planning for a long time. Self-publishing this book on Amazon was a pleasurable moment. Then, several weeks later I discovered I’d uploaded a version of the book that didn’t include the correct chapter headings.
Although I was able to fix this error, the idea that I’d released a sub-standard version of my book, which people bought, hurt me. Now, I realise the pleasure of publishing is connected to the pain of learning from a mistake like this.
3. Am I Outside of My Comfort Zone?
I may be in the minority here, but I love January. The New Year is a time for looking forwards, not backwards.
If you follow familiar routines and habits and pursue last year’s experiences, you will have an easier life but you’ll also get the same results. That’s fine if you’re happy with your progress, but most successful people want to push themselves beyond past accomplishments.
Successful writers constantly force themselves to get outside of their comfort zone by writing in new genres, by setting more demanding deadlines and by reaching out to larger audiences. Stephen King, for example, wrote for several years under the pen name Richard Bachman.
4. Have I Meditated Today?
Like you, I’m obsessed with the habits of successful people. Almost every master I’ve read about or studied practises meditation in one form or another. The benefits of meditation are many.
Some high-profile individuals who practice meditation in one form or another include the self-help guru Tony Robbins, blogger Leo Babauta of Zen Habits and even Ellen DeGeneres.
If you’re struggling to bake meditation into an already busy day, concentrate on building a habit of meditating for just three minutes. If you can’t spare three minutes, you probably need to ask bigger questions about how you spend your time.
5. Have I Marked My Accomplishments?
Successful people take time to mark their key accomplishments. Several blogs I’m a member of occasionally send an email to their list when they’ve hit a milestone. These emails make me (and the other readers) feel like part of their community.
If you want to become a writer, for example, you could mark the first time you publish an article. If you want to set up an online business, you could mark the launch of your website. If you want to become an early riser, you could mark the first time you get up at your desired time five days in a row.
You don’t have to mark your accomplishments publicly, but it is helpful to quietly acknowledge these moments with a friend or family member and thank those who helped you.
6. Have I Forgiven My Failures?
Welcome to the other side of the coin.
There’s as much to learn from failure as there is from success, but it’s dangerously easy to get up hung up on the past. And sometimes there’s a perverse satisfaction in playing a tape of old memories where people wronged you, got in your way, and stopped you from achieving your goals.
If you’re struggling to break free from negative past experiences, try keeping a journal and documenting your anger, your resentments and your failures. Then, when you’re finished writing your journal, leave these negative experiences there where they belong, and move forwards with your day.
7. Is it Time for a Re-invention?
Author John Le Carre says,
“I am still making order out of chaos by reinvention.”
I was a failed journalist, I was let go from a dream job, I worked in the wrong career for years. These experiences brought moments of chaos into my life, but they also gave me a chance to start a new phase of my life, whether by choice or necessity.
Ronald Regan was an actor before he became president. Gandhi was a lawyer in South Africa before he became India’s political and spiritual leader. And the rest of us who are working today, will have to change careers at least five times in our lifetimes.
If you’re just experienced the loss of a job or the failure of a business idea, take stock of the lessons you gain from these experiences. Yes these moments are confusing, but they are also an opportunity for tremendous personal growth.
8. Is This Task Written Down (in a list)?
I love lists. This blog post is a list. One of the most popular blog posts on Addicted2Success is a list. And if you want to become more productive and achieve your goals this year, you must use the power of lists.
David Allen is a huge proponent of getting ideas out of your head and onto a list. He writes, “It’s critical that your full psychic attention be available for the work at hand.”
When the tasks you’ve got to complete aren’t rattling around in your head, you will be free to write, to create, to work on your business and to create the kind of life you’ve always imagined.
9. How is My Grasp?
There’s saying in zen, that you should “hold things lightly.”
The world is in a constant state of change, and we have far less control over our environment and what happens to us than any of us like to admit.
Don’t become too attached to an idea of yourself, to a project that you’re determined to finish, to a habit or to a way of doing things.
When you hold things lightly, you are better prepared to adapt and re-adjust when your business needs a redirection, when a habit has become unhelpful or when something there’s a crisis in your personal life.
10. Am I Prepared?
Abraham Lincoln said,
“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”
Now there was a man he knew the value of preparation.
We can’t all be as successful as Lincoln but we can learn from him.
Each Sunday, I conduct weekly review. I plan the blog posts I’m going to write in advance, I review the ideas I have for new articles and I update my To Do lists. This weekly review gives me clarity and purpose when I sit down to write during the rest of the week.
Take time today to plan ahead for the following week. Ask what resources you need for your current projects, what projects you’re neglecting, and if there’s anything you’re overlooking.
Do this and you will save the pain and frustration of working on the wrong things at the wrong time.
Each one of these ten questions has the potential to open up a hundred other questions about how your spend your time and where you’re going. Questions are troublesome like that.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t worry.
What I want to get across to you is the importance of taking a moment out of every day, every week and every month, and reviewing what you’re doing, where you’re going and why.
I want you to look success in the eye this year, I want you to hold its gaze, and I want you to get what your really want.
Are you brave enough?
Leave a comment below and let me know how you go with these questions.