Unsolicited Advice for the New Year

Well, first of all, welcome to the New Year!  It’s about 5am, I’m sitting on my couch in my pajamas, just thinking about the upcoming year and feeling blessed for the year about to be over.  I’ve had a lot on my mind lately (I usually do).  Lots of ideas swirling around, lots of things I want to learn, new skills to tackle, and thoughts on how I can get better.  So, since all this is swirling around in my big old melon, I thought I’d put it down on a sheet of e-paper and force it down your throat.  We’ll call it unsolicited advice.  Isn’t that the kind we all love?  🙂

Before I dole out the forced advice, I’d like to preface by saying we all need to do this.  No matter where you are in your life, this advice will work if you’re willing to apply it.

Unsolicited Advice #1. Honest Assessment

It’s healthy to take a good, hard, honest look at where you are currently.  It’s a good idea to do this more than once a year, but for the sake…at least do it once a year.  Look at where you are, your circumstances, the decisions you’ve made.  What’s worked, what hasn’t?  What did you learn from the failures, and what corrections will you make going forward?  Assess every major area of your life: Spiritual, financial, physical, mental, social… We all need improvement in at least one or two of these areas.  Since I’m a finance guy, let’s look at that one for an example.

Let’s say you look back on your year, and you say to yourself “Self, this year was not good, financially speaking.  We pretty much just stayed afloat, and we’re really no better off than we were this time last year.  We basically survived.”  You know what?  Realizing that is a great start, so congratulations!  Now you can take responsibility for the decisions you made and CHANGE can happen!  Oh, wait…Did I say “take responsibility” out loud, or just think it?

Unsolicited Advice #2. Take Responsibility.

“Oh, man!  That advice doesn’t sound fun!” -Everyone.

Every New Year, I see people lamenting the year gone by.  “Oh, man…I’m glad THIS year is over.”  “Hope the next one will be better!” “Maybe things will finally turn around THIS year…”  What’s the problem with these comments?  The problem is that these types of comments come from a “victim” mentality.  A victim mentality is the opposite of taking responsibility.  Have you ever broken down the word “responsibility”?  Response + ability.  Meaning, the ability to respond.  If you take responsibility for where you are, you are giving yourself the ability to respond.  If you’re a victim, there’s nothing you can do.  You’ve lost control because you’ve taken the victim’s seat.  Don’t be a victim.

Unsolicited Advice #3. Strategize to Change.

Thus far, (yes, I said “thus”) you’ve done an honest assessment, you’ve taken responsibility.  Now you need to figure out where you want to be this time next year, and figure out how to change.  “Wait…I have to CHANGE?!”  The great news is that you don’t!  You can stay exactly the same and keep doing the same things!  Yay!  Laziness, I win!  You can stay the same and keep getting the same results, or you can change and start getting better results.  “That’s your prerogative.  You can do what you wanna do…” -Milli Vanilli

IF you want to change, it’s time to create a strategy.  Make a loose plan, a rough draft of what you need to do to change a circumstance.  Don’t worry about making it pretty.  Use a permanent marker on a bar napkin…who cares?  Just get some thoughts down.  But what’s this, you say?  Maybe you don’t even know where to start?  Here are some ideas.

Want to lose weight permanently?  Research lifestyle change, not diets.  Learn about exercise and figure out a goal.  Want to learn about personal finance?  DaveRamsey.com has a ton of info for free, as does Suze Orman.  You can learn about debt elimination, what’s the best thing to do with your tax refund, whether or not you should lease a car.  There’s a ton of great info out there!  Or, maybe your j-o-b isn’t allowing you to reach your goals, and you now realize it never will!  Research alternative incomes like franchises, how to start a mowing business, or maybe you’d rather do something online?  Personally, I love the idea of online business but I don’t know much about it.  However, I did find a way to learn it “on the cheap”.  (If you know me, you know I’m cheap! ha!)  If you’d like to learn it too, check it out here: Wealthy Affiliate

Unsolicited Advice #4. Take Action.

Dr Seuss - Time Passes

If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that no amount of thinking, talking, desire, passion, planning, writing notes, studying, meeting at Panera (you know who you are!) will make a hill of beans difference if no action is taken.  Taking action is the most important part of any successful undertaking!  Whatever you do, whatever road you decide to take, just take action.  You don’t have to plan a year out, either…just have an overview idea and figure out what you need to do TODAY, then do it.  Just get out there and fail, learn from the failure, and try again.  Otherwise, you’ll be approaching the new year next year, like everyone else, saying “Man, I hope NEXT year is different.”

Here’s wishing you Success (whatever that means to you) in the New Year,

Chris Laymon

 

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