I originally wrote this post in 1997. 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!
I have always held an extreme fascination with what makes the difference between success and failure in the lives of people. Succeeding at something I attempt has never been enough for me; I’ve always wanted to know how and why people in general succeed.
I’ve been a great student of the principles of success – having devoured literally thousands of books dealing with virtually every conceivable aspect of personal development along with the psychological and physiological components of success. I’ve been a first-hand witness to dozens of major success stories in various areas of life; and a first-hand witness to hundreds of failures. Not being one to simply rely on the words and actions of others, I’ve constantly pushed myself to the edge, always setting my sights on things that would further challenge me. This has resulted in my own set of triumphs and failures for me to reflect upon.
This course of study has been somewhat confusing for me at times, as I can imagine it would be for most people. The confusion has come about because of the many contradictions I have seen and heard of. For example, in the area of goal setting – most authors say that writing out a detailed action plan is an absolute must. Yet, in real life, very few successful people I have encountered have taken the time to do this.
Another contradiction I’ve stumbled across is that many authors say that all you need to succeed is a PMA (Positive Mental Attitude) in order to succeed, yet I’ve found the majority of people who have embraced this philosophy have never had a tangible success!
In spite of the contradictions, I’ve been able to sort out some very basic principles that can make the difference between success and failure. Don’t take my word for it! Read through the following list and pinpoint the areas you might be lacking in. Take these principles as your own and give them a chance to breathe life! I can guarantee you that in doing so, you are paving the way for 2013 to be your best year ever!
1. The Self-Responsibility Principle
No one could care more about your life, happiness and well-being than you could. Yes, there may be times when those closest to you want more for you than you do. However, human nature is such that people typically act with their own best interests in mind. Your success is contingent about you and your actions.
Action Step: Remind yourself at least five times a day for the next thirty days that you need to take responsibility for your life and actions because no one else will.
2. The Personal Fulfillment Principle
Recognize that the number one reason for achieving something is you and your own sense of personal fulfillment in one or more areas of your life. Money, family, or any other external reasons cannot be the reason for doing something alone.
Action Step: Ask yourself what the achievement of your goal will bring you in terms of personal fulfillment.
3. The Higher Order Principle
For the person trying to lose weight, it often feels like there is a never-ending battle between the “skinny” and the “fatty.” Why does this happen? Simply put, because there are really two (and sometimes more!) of you existing in the same body! Skinny wants to feel good about herself and is disciplined about food and exercise. Fatty, on the other hand, wants the instant gratification that food brings her and has difficulty finding the time to exercise.
In many cases where people fail to succeed, it is because on some level they derive satisfaction with doing things the way they are being done now, i.e. pleasure and any deviation from this behavior is seen as bringing with it pain. People who achieve success are able to distinguish between priorities of different orders and can associate themselves with the priority of the highest order.
In the case of someone who successfully loses weight, that means that this individual has decided that the benefits she associates with losing weight are more important than the benefits associated with not exercising and not eating properly. Whereas someone who has not yet been able to successfully lose weight has (perhaps subconsciously) decided that the short-term pleasures are more important.
Action Step: Decide which priorities are of a high order for you. Be forewarned: even if your goal is of a higher order, unless you live the “Pleasure-in-the-Process Principle,” you may still not succeed.
4. The Focus Principle
In order to succeed, you must become focused. We’ve all heard this term used time and again, but are you truly focused on your objectives? If not, perhaps you do need to hear it again.
Action Step: Decide what it is that you want in precise terms and set a goal date for attaining it.
5. The No-Exception Principle
Realize that if you make an exception once, you will continue to do so until exceptions become the rule and your goal becomes the exception!
Action Step: Quite simply: never make an exception.
6. The Pleasure-in-the-Process Principle
It is not enough to know you will derive pleasure from your end goal, you need to find pleasure in the everyday activities required to reach your goal.
Action Step: Look at what is involved with reaching your goal and see how you do, or can, derive pleasure on a daily basis.
7. The Reality Principle
You must come to terms with where you are right now in order to move ahead. You might be able to lie to other people but you can never lie to yourself. Often when people take a hard look at the reality of their situation, this alone can be a driving force to propel them forwards.
Action Step: In the various aspects of your life, consider where you are now and how that contrasts to where you want to be and need to be in order to reach your goal.
8. The No-Choice Principle
This principle comes down to burning all of your bridges so that you are literally forced to do things differently.
Action Step: You’ve decided what it is that you want, now you need to leave yourself no alternative!
9. The Persistence Principle
One thing that many people will neglect to tell you about succeeding is that you will fail along the way. Failure is inevitable! However, you will not fail in pursuit of your goal if you persist in spite of your failures.
Action Step: To paraphrase Tony Robbins – If you try something and see that it doesn’t work, then try something else! But keep trying!
10. The Law of Averages Principle
The law of averages dictate to us that if we work at something often enough, eventually we will succeed. In the case of goal achievement, the successes generally outweigh in the failures over the long-term. Even the most successful people do see more failures than successes, but the impact of the successes is so tremendous that not many are needed to be successful over all.
Action Step: Remind yourself constantly that the law of averages will eventually work in your favor.
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.
Have you had any personal experiences with the above principles?