Happy New Year! Are you ready to make 2016 the best year of your life and become the best possible version of yourself? Great! To do so you’ll need some clear goals and strategies for the important areas of your life (spiritual, physical, emotional, relational, business, etc.). And you’ll need to avoid the key pitfalls that those who live great lives have learned to overcome. Renowned psychologist Dr. Henry Cloud identifies those in his most recent book, Never Go Back: 10 Things You’ll Never Do Again. Here are six of them (special thanks to our friend David Weinstein for forwarding these to us – thanks David!):
Those who live great lives strive to never again:
- Return to what hasn’t worked in the past. Whether it’s a former job, a broken relationship that was ended for a good reason, or a habit that doesn’t serve you well, those who live great lives never go back to the “same thing” expecting different results. The old adage, “If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting,” applies totally here.
- Do anything that requires them to be someone they are not. In everything we do, we have to ask ourselves, “Am I being true to myself and my values? Am I suited to this? Is this a good use of my time and skills?” If the answer to any of these is no, avoid it!
- Believe that they can please everyone. Once a person learns that it is truly impossible to please everyone, they can begin to live purposefully and to focus on those to whom they have true responsibility.
- Choose short term comfort over long term benefit. Those who are the best versions of themselves know that their highest aspirations require a long and sometimes arduous process. They avoid the short term solutions and stay focused on the long term benefits of achieving that which is most important. Living out this principle is one of the most fundamental differences between those who live great lives and become the best versions of themselves and those who fall far short – both personally and professionally.
- Take their eyes off of the big picture. You will function better emotionally and perform better in all areas of your life when you stay focused on the big picture of who you are striving to become. No one event defines a person striving for true greatness – small losses are simply steps along the way.
- Forget that their inner life determines their outer success. A great life has little to do with wealth or worldly success. It is more an inner journey of becoming who you are meant to be and finding fulfillment in living out your life with purpose and joy. The results will speak for themselves.
The converse of the above is true as well: those who are still struggling to live their best life are typically doing one or more of the above over and over again. Ask someone who knows you well and who you respect to give you an honest assessment on the above pitfalls to see if you might be the victim of one or more. If you are, identify the strategies you can implement each day to overcome that pitfall. If you can, you’ll end this year knowing that it was a great year (perhaps your best year ever!) and that you are that much closer to becoming the best version of yourself.
Cloud, Henry. Never Go Back: 10 Things You’ll Never Do Again. New York: Howard Books, 2014. Print.