We’ve come to our fourth and final blog in the “Making 2019 Your Best Year Yet” series. Being final may sound like it’s the end but, in reality, it’s really the beginning, the beginning of a year long journey and one that promises to be your best yet. Congratulations on reaching this point having crafted a solid plan for your life. If you’ve followed steps one through three, your plan aligns with your core values and life purpose, it reflects the life areas most important to you, and it is expressed in a SMART-goal format.

Now, comes the fun part, the time when you put your plan, your goals, into action to move your life forward in the direction of your dreams. Sounds pretty crazy, doesn’t it? Wouldn’t it be obvious that taking action would follow goal setting? You would be surprised how many people put beautiful plans together but never take the first step, never take action, or simply give up shortly after starting. There are many reasons well intentioned people get stalled, stuck or are reluctant to move forward. Their goals may have lacked specificity, there was no real commitment or perhaps they had too many goals and simply became overwhelmed. But even if these things were in perfect order, they may have failed due to other factors not often considered. One very common reason is fear, fear of failure or even possibly, fear of success. These individuals lack belief in themselves and in their potential. If they fail, they anticipate people labeling them a failure, a loser. If they succeed, they think people may be envious and treat them differently, perhaps negatively. They may even believe they’re unworthy of attaining their goals and self-sabotage. If any of these factors ring true for you, you may want to consider reading, “Why Many Fail at Achieving Their Goals: A Deeper Look at a Chronic Problem.” (www.robbiekcarlson.com/2018/10/24/why-many-fail-at-achieving-their-goals-a-deeper-look-at-a-chronic-problem). In addition, I’d like to offer a couple of suggestions that have helped me meet my goals.

  • Keep your goals visible, in places where you will see them every day. Post them on your mirror at home, in your car and at your office, add them to your iPhone.
  • Read your “Future Vision” daily (Step three: Goal Setting). Practice mindfulness as you focus on your future vision. What are you feeling? Who have you become as you reach your goals? If you haven’t experienced the power of mindfulness, consider reading: “The Present: The Best Gift You Can Give Yourself.” (www.robbiekcarlson.com/2018/09/05/the-present-the-best-gift-you-can-give-yourself).
  • Create a daily “Top 10 To-Do List,” and make sure your action steps are included on this list. This can be a written document or perhaps you can use an app on your phone. If, for some reason, you weren’t able to complete one or more action steps for the day, don’t beat yourself up; just add it to the top spot on your to-do list the following day. Feel a real sense of accomplishment as you check off completed action steps.

Hopefully, you are feeling wonderfully inspired now that you’ve come so far with planning for your life. I’ll be thinking about you on New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2019, as we both toast to an amazing year. You will be fulfilled because you’ve spent time and effort on all the important areas of your life. You will have a real sense of accomplishment because you’ve met all your goals. But you will also toast to a year filled with joy which, brings us to my final recommendation, Enjoy the Journey.

From this point on, each day is going to be filled with joy. While completing action plans is very important to moving our lives forward, we cannot forget to find joy in our daily lives, to live in the present moment. Think about it, the present moment is all we really have. Every action you take will be in the present moment. The past is history and the future is unknown. Yet, most of us spend the majority of our time focused on either the past or the future. Let me share what happens here, what steals our joy. Most of us have 40,000 to 50,000 thoughts entering our minds every day. While some past thoughts may be pleasant, many are not and those are the ones we tend to focus on. Guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness are all emotions that can come from focusing on our past. Thoughts about the future are also a source of negative emotions. We worry about things that may never happen. Unease, anxiety, tension, stress and worry come from focusing on too much future. Why worry when you’ve just created an incredible plan for your future? To make matters worse, we play these same negative thought patterns over and over and over again in our minds. When we do this, we are escaping the present moment that is our life now. In my blog, “The Present: The Best Gift You Can Give Yourself,” I explain how you can live in the present moment to not only experience greater focus and awareness, so important as we work our action plans, but also how to live fully and experience more joy.

Don’t live with guilt, regret or sadness focusing on your past. Die to the past every moment. Don’t let those old thought patterns steal your joy. Often our minds are not in the same place as our bodies. We may be eating a delicious meal or spending time with our dearest friends, yet our minds are miles away, stressing over a problem at work or replaying for the thousandth time an argument we had with our spouse a few days ago. We don’t fully enjoy the food we’re eating and before we know it, we’ve consumed way more than we had intended and our weight reduction goal goes right out the window. We don’t really hear what our friends are saying or enjoy the time together. Why? We are not present. Just think about how much you are missing out on by not being present. To illustrate the impact on your entire life, consider reading, “Mindfulness: Building a Foundation for Happiness.” (www.robbiekcarlson.com/2018/11/07/mindfulness-build-a-foundation-for-happiness. )

Make your life journey beautiful. Surround yourself with beauty. Where do you spend the majority of your day? Your home? Your office? Make sure those areas are set up in such a way that makes your heart sing. Consider fresh flowers in the bedroom so you smell the flowers first thing in the morning. Post your favorite pictures of the family or fun vacation pictures in your office. Laugh, sing, dance, act silly! Do you realize that preschool children laugh or smile on average over 400 times per day while adults only laugh about 15 times per day? We are missing out on so much joy. I remember a few years ago, I saw a man about my age riding on the back of a grocery cart in the parking lot of a Walmart. He was having a great time all by himself. I loved it. He was living life to the fullest, loving his life!

Take action now. Live in the present moment. Make your journey beautiful, make it extraordinary! “See” you December 31, 2019 for our New Year’s Eve celebration as we toast to our Best Year Yet . . . Cheers!