The end of the year is one of my favorite times; when we pause to reflect on what has been and what’s to come. This is the time when we all get to take inventory of the last 12 months and to plan how we will spend the next year. I start my new year the way I start every single day. You can join me in your best year yet by following these 7 ways to ensure success in 2018.
When I get up early, eat a healthy breakfast, hit the streets for a 4 mile run, it gets my ideas flowing and sets me on the path for a successful, productive day. The same strategy applies for beginning a new year. If you start today—making progress towards your goals right at the beginning of the year—you’ll gather momentum that can propel you through all 12 months!
Here are seven proven ways to ensure that you have a successful and productive 2018:
1. Write It Down and Stick To It
Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey didn’t build their empires by rolling out of bed at 10 o’clock, wiping the sleep from their eyes, with no idea what they were going to do that day. Most successful people have a daily plan of attack that they stick to religiously. You can, too, if you invest in a good daily planner. Define your goals, write them down and use your planner to organize your day. This is a proven way to help you achieve your goals! If you hate paper, use your smart phone’s notes and calendar. They will work just as well. The point is, plan it, write it down and soar!
2. Dream Big
Remember the days when you would daydream for hours and imagine that you could be anything in the world—an astronaut, a supermodel, a Senator or Congresswoman, a music mogul or a world-class pianist. This is the time to rekindle those dreams. Don’t let your routines, daily schedules and obligations prevent you from imagining your best self. If you only think about the things that already are in your life, you will never achieve beyond that. Get out of your box and imagine the life you want to have. Before you can execute on a plan, you must have a plan and nobody ever achieved greatness playing it safe. If you want to find success in 2018 you’ll need to dream really, really big!
3. Make Health and Wellness a Priority
Many people incorrectly think “I’ll exercise once I get my work finished and have more time.” Some even believe that exercise is only important if you are trying to lose weight. Wrong! Exercise is important for your mental and physical agility, your overall wellbeing, and your good heart health. In short, it will change and extend your life. In fact, if you commit to exercising regularly, you’ll likely become more productive and successful at work. Some of my best thoughts come to me on my regular morning runs. Whether you run, walk, kickbox, spin or cycle—find an exercise and stick to it.
4. Read More Books
I can’t stress enough the importance and value of reading a wide variety of books. Studies show reading reduces stress, stimulates your brain, expands your vocabulary, improves your memory, analytical skills, focus, and concentration. Reading also increases your ability to handle difficult situations and face life’s obstacles. The information you glean from reading more books can be used to problem solve, innovate and create. I created some of my most successful projects from information I got from reading great American novels from acclaimed authors to pop culture best sellers. Some of my favorite memories of time spent with my daughter, Michael, is standing in long lines to buy the latest Harry Potter novel.
5. Commit To Working Harder
Okay, I’m gonna go Debbie Allen on y’all with my modified version of her quote from Fame: “You want success? Well, success costs. And right here is where you start paying. With sweat.” So, in other words, if you really want to run your own business, write that book, buy that new house, lose weight, get that promotion, or save a million dollars — then put in the sweat equity and make it happen!
My personal mantra is — you simply will not outwork me! I learned a long time ago that there is no substitute for hard work. If you look at the most successful people, they’re the ones who grind away and never give up. Often you only see the famous person, not the years (or decades) of work they put in to get where you see them today. But trust me, if you dig deep enough, you will find that the artists, sports figures, business people and brands you admire and respect the most put in years of hard work long before they became household names. Success in 2018 is going to require commitment. But the good news is that it’s never too late to commit!
6. Surround Yourself with Positive People
The beginning of the year is a great time to do an inventory of your friends. Ask yourself who do you spend most of your time with? What do you and your friends talk about and how do you spend your time? Then ask yourself the really tough questions—are my friends encouraging me? Helping me reach my goals? Or, are they draining me? It’s hard to face it, but it’s easy to fall into a rut and to spend time with folks that affirm you, rather than challenge you. Some friends even demean and undermine you. You already know it—but we all have some friends that we need to say “Bye Felicia” to! The sooner you edit your relationships and rid yourself of negative friends, the sooner you will reap tremendous benefits.
7. Celebrate Your Achievements
Life is about progress, not perfection. If you follow one through six above, you are going to achieve success every day in the new year. That’s something to celebrate! You don’t have to wait until the project is completed to acknowledge your accomplishments.
I started writing my new book, Make It Rain, in 2016 and it won’t hit bookshelves until March of 2018. I am not waiting until then to celebrate. I celebrated turning in the first draft; completing the first set of edits; taking the photo for the cover; learning that I was getting endorsements from big brands like Dr. Phil; sending out my first set of galleys, and learning that the book made Amazon’s Hot New Titles List.
The point here is: recognize your successes along the way to your destination as they will inspire you to stay the course and finish strong.
Where have you found success?
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