The beginning of every year starts with reflection.
We reflect on the past year, on what we’ve done (or not done), on what we’re proud of (or not so proud of), and how we intend to make this year better.
When we reflect, it’s common to see a multitude of failures: failure to start, failure to finish, failure to ship. Sometimes it hurts to think about. Of course, with the right resolve, we quickly commit to something bigger and better for this year.
The Path Forward
As with the start of every year, plenty of books, blogs, newscasts, and TV shows will talk about this commitment to something bigger and better for the new year.
They’ll explain you need to set goals, but not just any goals: you need to set specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-oriented goals (or some variation of this).
They’re right; setting these types of goals will increase the likelihood that your next venture is successful.
They’ll tell you that this time you REALLY need to commit; no half-hearted, wishful thinking. You need to commit and make sure you stand by your commitment. They’ll suggest you announce your intentions to someone else or that you make a contract to yourself that you personally sign.
And they’re right – getting something or someone to hold you accountable will increase your chances of success.
They’ll suggest getting a journal to record your daily progress, stocking your bookcase with productive content and filling your MP3 player with motivational podcasts.
And, for the most part, it’s all right and should help you realize your goals.
But you already know that.
So there is no reason to reiterate the information that is already out there – not on any of that stuff at least.
The Hard Part
But I will ask for 1 minute of your time.
In 1 minute write out every answer you can think of to the following question:
This year, I am committed to NOT…[fill in your answers here]
The REALLY hard part about commitment isn’t the grit needed to keep going when things start breaking, or the focus needed to finish and ship; no, the really hard part is all the things you must purposefully ignore if you really want to be successful.
If you want to be successful, you must commit, and when you commit, you close doors.
Closing doors is the hard part.
So I’m asking you to do the hard part – close doors this year.
Identify all the things you WON’T pursue this year; list out all the projects you WON’T start; write down all the things you WON’T agree to; determine all the ideas you WON’T develop this year.
The Scary Part
“But what if…”
That’s the Enemy talking.
The Enemy wants you to keep your options open because if they stay open, you’ll never focus on one thing long enough to ACTUALLY instigate (start, finish, AND ship).
The Enemy wants you to keep all your doors open because when things start breaking (and they will), the Enemy will have an easier time goading you into changing direction, quitting on your project, and moving into one of your many open doors (available options).
The worst part: you won’t even recognize this is the Enemy because you’ve been taught to never put all your eggs in one basket.
Somehow, instead of that phrase reminding you to diversify your investments, it has mutated into an excuse for idealness, non-commitment, and retreat when things start breaking (“live to fight another day” right?).
This is scary.
Don’t be a victim of The Enemy this year.
Don’t waste away another 365 days building someone else’s dream, slaving away just to slave away, or living a life of quiet desperation.
This year you can instigate your great project, begin building your empire, and continue (or start) creating your life’s work.
The power is so completely in your control it is painful to mention because more than a few will ignore it.
They will ignore that delicate inkling in their heart that tells them to start, finish and ship their great idea; the one that pulls at them every so often and asks to be considered; the one that that quietly begs to be given a chance.
They will ignore it and the spark will fade.
And another year will go by with nothing but reflections of what you did (but mostly didn’t do), what you’re proud of (but mostly what you’re not so proud of), and intentions of making this next year better.
Fill in the Blank
Don’t wait another hour to close some of those open doors: close them now.
Don’t wait another day to start on something worthwhile: start today.
Don’t wait for someone else to tell you what to do and how to do it: draw your own map.