This is the second half of a post I originally wrote in 1997. Click here to read Part 1.  It was published in several dozen print newsletters and on even more websites. I received literally thousands of emails and letters from people who said it had impacted them in some way. I thought it would serve as a good initial first post for this website since it’s a perfect demonstration that many core principles never change. I hope you enjoy it!

How To Make 2016 Your Best Year Ever – Part 2

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11. The Moral & Ethical Being Principle

You must come to understand that what you expect from circumstances and people must be in tune with your own morals and ethics. If what you are working towards is in disharmony with this, you can never be truly happy.

Action Step: Don’t take actions that are conflict with your morals and ethics.

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12. The Priority Principle

Life can be overwhelming for many of us. There are only so many hours in a day and each of us have the same number of hours to work with. Successful people know how to distinguish between priorities and focus on those activities of a higher order. When we start to prioritize activities by order, we find that only doing those higher order items will easily fill our days.

It’s especially important to note that time for revenue-generating activities and creative thinking should always rank at the top of your list of priorities.

Action Step: On a monthly, weekly and daily basis, prioritize your activities based on higher order and then act upon them based on the highest order of personal satisfaction. Doing this will mean you will get more of the important tasks done first since we find it easiest to work on those items we enjoy most.

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13. The Time-Value Principle:

As we all know, time is money. We need to know how much our time is worth. We need to also know that we should delegate whenever the cost (both monetary and otherwise) of someone else doing something is lower than the cost of doing it ourselves.

Action Step: Evaluate your personal involvement in activities based upon the opportunity-cost. Where appropriate, delegate.

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14. The Knowledge & Skills Principle

Getting and improving upon knowledge and skills should be a high priority. A short-cut is to find a mentor, a coach or a mastermind.

Action Step: Determine the knowledge and skills you need to acquire to reach your goals.

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15. The Assumption Principle

Most of us have learned this principle the hard way, yet few of us do anything about it. Simply put, this principle says never, never assume anything! I think that the biggest mistakes I have made in life have come from making inappropriate assumptions.

Action Step: Make sure all parties involved agree about the meaning of something, and if necessary, get it in writing.

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16. The Duplication Principle

This principle is probably the easiest to understand yet the one that most people have the hardest time with. Simply put: when you find something that works, do it over and over again as long as it continues to work and continues to help you achieve your objectives. In essence, create a system of things that work.

Action Step: Log your activities so that when you hit on something that works, you’ll know exactly what you did to achieve the results you did. Fine-tune this so that you make small changes until you have created a perfect system.

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17. The Do Unto Others Principle

Never, ever do anything to anyone that you would not want done to you. Karma, baby.

Action Step: On a small scale, put this into practice on a daily basis by returning phone calls, make only those commitments you can keep, don’t make excuses to cover things up, etc. Think of how your words and actions will impact others.

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18. The Being Common is Uncommon Principle

Common sense. Common courtesy. We’ve all heard these terms quite frequently. “Common” means it applies to the masses. Unfortunately there’s never been a time when common sense and common courtesy have really been adopted by the masses. To act with common sense and common courtesy is uncommon. By actively practicing both, you’ll automatically find yourself becoming more aware and your life will become richer.

Action Step: Exercise common sense and common courtesy in your every day life.  Simply make an effort to be more aware of what is going in your own life and those around you. Make an effort to be more aware of those you come into contact with.

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19. The Viability Principle

Life is a series of trade-offs. There are opportunity costs associated with everything that we do. When I explained ‘The Priority Principle,’ I mentioned that it is easy to fill our days with only seemingly high order activities once we start to focus. What I didn’t mention then was that it is also easy to incorrectly choose what higher activities we should be focusing on and the reason why. This is where ‘The Viability Principle’ comes into play. Without it, we can find out that success just doesn’t happen in spite of making our best effort.

This principle suggests that you ask when setting goals: “What has the highest probability of working?” Let’s say for example you are an interior decorator and you’re trying to drum up new business. You have two marketing ideas to reach new people. The first is to approach local real estate agents to get referrals. The other, which you think is simply brilliant, is to approach accounting firms to get referrals. The reason for the latter idea is that if someone can afford an accountant, they can likely afford an interior decorator. Given you have only limited resources for marketing yourself, which do you think would have the highest probability of working?

This principle also covers your choice of business, career or educational pursuits. All other aspects being equal, it is a lot easier to realize success when you focus on things that have a higher probability of working and are more viable.

Action Step: When deciding between different actions or goals, do a viability check and ask which option has the highest probability of working.

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20. The Keep it Simple Principle

The more complicated the various aspects of your business become, the more difficult it becomes to expand. Consider companies you are familiar with that generate hundreds of millions a year in annual revenue or more. Most of them have relatively simple business models or their company owns multiple companies that each have simple business models.

The more complicated a business model is, the more parts that can break down and the more difficult it can be to systematize it. Systematization is a key to developing a large business.

Action Step: An easy way to determine if your business model really is simple is to come up with a 1 minute/1 sentence elevator pitch. Can you tell someone in one sentence what your business does? If not, then consider retooling what you are doing to get there.

That wraps up my 20 principles to help make 2016 your best year ever. 🙂

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I’d love you to share your thoughts on these principles. Is there anything you’d have added to this list?

If you’re determined to step up your game for 2016 and start reaching your goals, check out my Year of a Lifetime training program. It consists of 3 classes focused on helping you achieve clarity, overcome stumbling blocks and mapping out a game plan to reach your goals. Whether you want to lose weight, change careers, improve your relationships or anything else, this program can help you do it. 

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Photograph by Melody Campbell

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