It’s almost the end of the first month of the New Year. So far, we’ve covered how to focus on quality time remaining, dreaming big, and living a life full of epic events.
Today, I want you to really sit down with those thoughts and start putting some things down on paper. We’re almost done with the first month of the New Year, but it’s never too late to start working on your goals.
Whether you’ve been working hard to achieve your New Year’s resolutions over this past month or have thrown them out the window, today is a new day. It’s a fresh start. Let’s start again and get focused. Let’s get on the right track and make a difference today.
Once upon a time, there was a young man who lived on the shore. Every morning, he would take a run down the beach.
One particular morning, he noticed an older gentleman in the distance. As he got closer, he realized the man was reaching down in the sand, picking something up, and tossing it out into the waves.
“What in the world are you doing to those starfish?” the young man asked.
“What do you think will happen to them when the sun comes out?” the old man responded, still picking and throwing the starfish as he spoke. “They won’t be able to get back into the water quick enough, and they’ll die. So I’m saving them.”
“Are you crazy?” the young man said. “There’s hundreds of starfish out here. You’ll never make a difference.”
The old man picks up another starfish and tosses it gently into the waves, saying, “I made all the difference in the world to that one right there.”
Many of you might be thinking, “Man, I can’t make a difference by writing my goals down. It doesn’t really do anything at all.”
But I’m telling you that you DO have the ability to make a difference. Today is a new day, and you can make a difference today. Put today back to back with tomorrow and the next day, and now you’ve got three whole days of opportunities. Add a few more, and you’ve got a week, and then you’ve really got something going on. A whole week where you took full advantage of the opportunities thrown your way.
You can make all the difference in the world — but you have to start by making the right decisions today.
Grab a piece of paper and a pencil – or simply pull out your phone – and get ready to do some math, because we’re about to put this all into perspective.
Take your age and multiply it by 365. This will tell you how many days you’ve already spent in your life. Now take that number and subtract it from 27,365: the number of days in an average man or woman’s life.
What that tells you is an approximate number of days you have left in your lifetime. Every single day makes a difference, because every single day chips away, chips away, chips away at the rest of your life. You better keep track of that number, because life is too short to not start doing something today.
As you begin to make plans for achieving your goals, I’d like to remind you of a few things to help you out.
First, remember that life is too short to be cranky. Your attitude is a choice. You get to decide when you wake up in the morning whether you’re going to have a good day or a bad one. So ask yourself: Am I going to be happy or cranky today? You and you alone have this choice. Choose to have good days rather than bad.
You’ve also gotta remember to keep your word – especially to yourself. If you said you were going to do something, then you need to do it. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Be honest with yourself. If you haven’t been thus far, then today is a great day to start. Remember the Disney movie Frozen? Let it go, let it go. Forgive yourself.
Another thing is you’ve got to stop worrying. Did you know that 90 percent of the things you worry about never even end up happening? The reason we worry so often is because we have idle time. Instead of wasting your time worrying, focus instead on filling your mind with the pure, the positive, and the good stuff. Read a new book or check out a new YouTube channel. Find fulfilling things to eliminate the idle time in your life.
Next is the need to come from a place of gratitude. There are over 7 billion people in the world, and nobody is exactly like you. I can’t tell you how many people have it as bad as you think you have it or how many people would be willing to give anything up to be in your place. And when we take the time to truly dig deep and take a look at the big picture, we find that the glass really does seem half full. The little things in life are what truly matter. After all, the art to happiness is to lead a simple life, right?
When thinking about setting goals, gratitude is a great place to start. To begin, make a list of five to 10 people you’re truly grateful for in your life. Maybe it’s a childhood friend or an old teacher. Maybe it’s a coach who could have given up on you but didn’t. Or a college roommate, or a maid of honor, or your rabbi or priest. Whatever the case, you must have someone in your life that took time out of their day to help you out. My recommendation to you is don’t wait until tomorrow to say thank you because tomorrow might never come.
All I’m suggesting is that you have people in your life that have helped you along your way, and it’s important to not only let them know you’re grateful to them but also to throw some of that back the other way. Ask yourself: When was the last time I did something for someone else?
Remember the circle exercise, the wheel of life? As you go through the wheel, your finances, career, education, family, friends, think about how you want your year to go. You need to take that list, write those out, figure out where you want to be at the end of the year, and start working backwards.
One of the seven habits of highly effective people is to start with the end in mind. So whether it’s your weight, nutrition, relationships, spirituality, finances, find out where you want to be a year from now and work backwards. Figure out where you need to be in six months to stay on pace, and three months, and so on and so forth. Figure out the first, the second, the third thing you need to do in order to accomplish your goals — and then write it all down.
Remember: You don’t need to be at the end of the path or close to your destination. You just have to be on the path itself.
I’d like to leave you with this quote: To the world, you may just be one person. But to that one person, you are the world.
Good luck with your goals and action items. Don’t forget to make the most of today.
For more advice on how to get started on achieving your goals, be sure to tune into my podcast that airs every Tuesday.