Pretty soon, it's the big wind-down (or mad dash, depending on how you see it) through the holiday season, and then the let-down of another year behind us.
And, hmmm, are you stuck in the same place you were last year? Or -- gasp -- has it gotten even worse?
Get some key life goals off your to-do list before harvest season!
It's much much easier than you may think. Baby steps. Here's my suggestion for accomplishing something personally meaningful with what's left of the year: Just focus on setting your infrastructure in place for 2015.
Let me give you a quick idea of how I did this (and am still putting on the final touches) in 2014.
It all started with a new virtual learning program that I rolled out at the end of 2013. I'll be offering it again, soon, but here's the incredible offer that I made for the program last year in the last two days before Christmas.
The program is called 5 Surprising Cures for the Holiday Blues, and one of the cures involves using the holiday season to create a blueprint for your new life as you want to live it in the new year.
I had developed my program based on my own experiences in recovering from a terrible betrayal and healing from the total destruction of my life as I had known it. Although my life was back on track, and I was happy again, I ended up loving my new blues-busting program so much that, just for fun, I decided to work my own program, step by step, during the holiday season.
The results have been amazing.
I created a theme for my year: Most gain for least pain. With that theme in mind, I kept testing ways to improve my life in five key areas important to me: money, diet, exercise, leisure, and love. Various practices and techniques received test periods of at least 28 days, and I assessed the results after each experiment.
The assessment for every practice or technique I tried? Simple:
1. How much work did it take?
2. What results did I get?
So far: Best year ever. Here are a few of the things I'll have to look back on with pride from 2014:
- Not only did I lose 15 pounds, but I documented exactly what worked for me best. And the modified form of this diet -- my maintenance diet -- is completely livable and enjoyable for the long term.
- My "new normal" diet feels great and I have lots of energy.
- I've come up with the bedtime and sleep schedule that's the best compromise between my natural night-owl proclivities and my optimum productivity.
- I've tested numerous techniques to look and feel ten years younger -- and, once again, I've documented what works. I look terrific, which helps me feel incredible, too.
- I'm holding myself accountable for getting at least two hours of leisure per day (that means leisure that is restorative and fun for me, not just watching what someone else wants to watch on tv).
- I'm keeping my work week pretty close to 40 hours (rather than 60-80 hours per week) for the first time in years.
- In the friendship and love arena, I feel more supported than ever, and although I'm still holding out for someone really special (settling just isn't fun), I have no lack of men in my life.
- And the year's not over yet!
The key to all of this is that my life hacks are unique to me. It's all about setting up an experiment in any given area of your life, trying a new technique, and assessing how it worked (or didn't). I've been inspired by diets, exercise programs, and a host of techniques that others have developed, but the personal tweaking is the big secret.
You still have four months left in 2014! Start experimenting so you'll have a great plan for how to achieve the goals most dear to you in 2015.
- Define four or five broad areas in which you'd like to see improvement or change (eliciting help from your kids around the house, strengthening key friendships, improving the quality of your leisure time, finding ways to indulge yourself and feel more beautiful) -- just the process of coming up with your list can be very revealing.
- Look at each area, and see if you can spend 10 minutes a day exploring a way to improve that part of your life. Start with one area and one experiment. What can you do that will be easy, but has the potential to give you the biggest reward.
- Conduct your experiment for 7 days, 2 weeks, 28 days . . . and reassess.
- Write down your findings. This is super-important. You want to be able to remember, in January, what worked, and what didn't, as you put together your game plan for 2015.
And, if you'd like a little help, I'm always here.