Did he say what I thought he said? He most certainly did. He called it, “a phenomenon.” It is most certainly an annual event. But to call it a phenomenon would be overstating it.
A phenomenon is defined as an unusual, significant, or unaccountable fact or occurrence; a marvel or remarkable occurence. So it is clearly not a phenomenon. You might argue it is significant (it is), but remarkable—unfortunately not.
This suggested phenomenon is the year-end surge that spills over into the first few weeks of the New Year. A surge in church attendance and swell in workout activity. But the surge and swell will recede quickly—71% of these new commitments will be abandoned by January 17.
We throw in the towel in spite of the fact that 77% of us believe we should grow spiritually and 80% of us believe we should improve our health?
I thought about this as I completed my Personal Annual Review. It is one of the best habits I have developed in my life. I don’t always like the answers, but the process and answers focus me on what is necessary to raise my impact and achieve important goals.
The Story of this Generation
One of the questions I spend the most time with is, “What do you need to do more of, less of and stop doing in order to raise your performance in each of your five most important roles?
Spending a couple minutes honestly thinking about this question can be overwhelming and for good reason.
Peter Drucker, the iconic consultant, teacher and author, was once asked, “What will be the greatest story of this generation?” Drucker’s answer surprised many, “..most people would point to technology…The most significant story will be people’s inability to manage themselves due to the availability of choice and the nature of change.”
What Do You Need to Stop Doing?
Juxtaposed alongside of Drucker’s comment makes this question even more important if you are serious about creating impact and achieving important goals. High achievers more consistently make choices that support their most important life-roles and goals. Their clarity about who and what is important is so crystal clear it creates barriers to drifting into another lane and losing site of their finish line.
I need to stop watching so much television. Hey, I love sports. I could also stop eating chips. Hey, I love those single serving bags from Costco. Maybe, I’ll look at less of versus stop. What do I need to do more of? Invest in actions and behaviors that raise my impact—reading, serving, coaching, and speaking made my list.
Set Your Sights on Today.
We tend to dramatically overestimate what we can do in a day and dramatically underestimate what we can accomplish in a year. Achievement is a journey and not an event. You don’t lose 100 pounds in a day. A relationship in not mended or established in a single date. You don’t build a new skill in a single practice. You don’t build a career in a year.
I too often times have been so focused on the final outcome that I failed because I did not embrace the journey. It’s easy to lose sight of the prize at the finish line when the terrain of the race presents obstacles and resistance that melt away your resolve.
The successful races are not won in flash of brilliance or surge of effort and energy. You win the prize by taking control of the choices and options that will present themselves today. I know this and so do you. But it won’t keep us from drifting back to our old routine or thinking I’ll get started tomorrow.
“A year from now you will wish you had started today.”
Three Simple to Creating Your New Year Phenomenon.
If you set your GPS to arrive at a destination in 365 days imagining better relationships, greater personal influence, career advancement, improved finances, better health or whatever your dream may be, you’ll arrive there (or very close to it) by doing three things.
- Clarify with specificity one goal for each of your five most important life-roles, write it down and post it someplace conspicuous.
- Take one positive step towards your goal every week.
- Share your progress with someone you trust on a weekly basis.
You don’t have to do everything every day. You simply need to focus on doing a few things every day and exclude those options that don’t contribute to making a positive step towards your desired finish line (your goals).
In the spirit of full disclosure, I haven’t made a decision about giving up chips this year. I do have plans to work on my health this year as it supports every role in my life. I’ll let you know what I do with chip question.
Embrace the journey.
Embrace the journey! Conquer each day by choosing to take a positive step forward. Surround yourself with people who encourage you to fall in love with the challenge and to stretch yourself. No one can take on significant and meaningful goals without stumbling along the way.
The important thing is to celebrate your effort and progress every day. String together successful days of progress and you’ll look back to discover you just experienced a phenomenal year.
Looking to Boost Your Journey? Here are a couple books I read this year that challenged me to think about my journey.
20,000 Days and Counting: The Crash Course for Mastering Your Life Right Now by Robert D. Smith
The Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn