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A New Beginning or More of The Same | By: Richard Flint

Good Morning; Welcome to 2008!  Hey, it's a new year and a new beginning.  It's time to forget about all the things you didn't get done in 2007 and start thinking about all the great things you are going to achieve in 2008.  That's how it works; isn't it?  You plan a year, create the goals, start the year working to achieve those goals, get side-tracked and wander off in a direction you didn't plan on going.  Have you ever had a year like that?  You begin the year with good intentions, only to have the year take a shape and form that really wasn't on your agenda.
How many times in 2007 were you frustrated because what you wanted to do you couldn't get to?  How many times last year did you find yourself looking at your goals and trying to get back to them?  How much inner confusion is created because what we plan to do gets buried under the things we are doing?
A New Year is so psychologically interesting.  For many, it's like a pardon from what they didn't get finished.  They can close the door on what wasn't and create a new beginning around what they are now going to achieve.
For others, a New Year is the next paragraph in their continuing story.  The New Year doesn't bring a new chapter, just a new paragraph to the same story they have been writing for several years.  Each paragraph begins with a positive beginning, but soon gets lost in a maze of excuses.  Oh, they don't see them as excuses, but they are words designed to make it okay that they didn't get things finished.
For a very few, a New Year is not a new beginning; it is the continuation of the journey they have been traveling.  It provides them with more todays in which to fulfill their dream.  For this select group, life is not about having to start over.  Life is about a today in which they can apply what they learned from their yesterday.  This one fact separates them from the masses.
Many of you know I have a mental challenge with the way goal setting is taught.  Most of the goal setting teaching allows those who listen to have a reason to procrastinate. Teachers ask the listener to write what they want to achieve in the upcoming year and each day review it.  The mental challenge I have with this is:

  • the written thoughts are simply that -- thoughts.
  • the written thoughts are tied to the future, not to today.

Let me explain why this is mentally challenging.
First, the written thoughts are simply that -- thoughts.  Most don't write "goals" based on what they feel they can achieve.  They write them based on what they "hope" they can achieve.  What happens if you begin your new year with ideas you are designing to take you through the year, and you doubt them from the beginning?  Do they connect with the positive part of your mind?  NO!!!  They may start to take shape in your design center -- your imagination, but each time your imagination starts to sketch what you are going to do, it gets bogged down in the muck of personal doubt.  Nothing destroys positive mental sight quicker than doubt. Thoughts can become desires that have no positive mental connection.  They come, but soon die from lack of positive mental nourishment. Yet, many are taught to take this self-destructive action under the disguise of goal setting.
My other mental challenge deals with the fact most goals are designed for a tomorrow that hasn't arrived yet.  They deal with the future, not today.  Study this and see if it is correct.  Most ideas that have their starting place in tomorrow find themselves getting buried under the crisis of today.  Do you find that to be true?  The learning fact here is unless life begins today, tomorrow remains a vacant room you keep planning on decorating.
Most written goals are not tied to a dream designed for today; they are tied to a wish you hope happens.  A wish is a desire you are not sure about.  Here's the formula to use in order to have the greatest year of your life:
QUESTION: What do I really want to achieve?  This gives your mind direction.  It allows your imagination to sketch a picture you can color each day with designed action.
QUESTION: Why do I really want to achieve this?  This creates the motivation.  The answer to this question becomes the mental control you use in the moments of doubt.  During the year, those moments will creep into your mental processing.  The answer to this question lets you face and remove the doubt.
QUESTION: What price am I willing to pay to achieve my dream?  This is the most important of these questions.  The desires of life don't break down at the point of drive; the drive is taken away when you are no longer willing to pay the mental and emotional price to have your dream.
QUESTION: What must I do today to create a possibility?  This becomes the daily question you begin each day with.  The answer to this question designs your daily agenda.  It gives each day direction, purpose and meaning.  It designs each day as an investment of your time, talent, and resources.
QUESTION: Will this action make my dream easier or more difficult?  This is the monitoring question.  Before you take any action, place the action against this question.  If the action creates a distraction or detour, then don't take it.
Learn this and learn it well:  Each time you hesitate on your journey your mind wanders off and when it comes back, it has missed what happened during its detour. That means going backward, not forward.