Happy New Year!
I know, I know, the new year is still three weeks away. I figured it would be okay to wish you a Happy New Year because every business I’ve gone into, people have been wishing me a Merry Christmas since October 15th.
Retailers are so anxious for Christmas, that the beginning date of holiday shopping seems to be inching backwards every year. As I recall, the day after Thanksgiving used to be the kickoff. Now it seems that Thanksgiving is the middle of the holiday shopping season. I assume next year, it will begin right after the 4th of July.
Anyways, the subject is New Year. And the reality is that this year went by a little bit faster than last year did. It’s now time to look back on what you have accomplished, what you should have accomplished, and look ahead to what you hope to accomplish.
I’m not asking you to make resolutions. I’m not even asking you to make goals. I’m asking you to reflect. I’m asking you to think. And then I am going to ask you to expand your thought process into how to make your thinking a reality.
Spend some time focusing on your past successes. They’ll make you smile. They’ll make you feel good about yourself. And they will be the inspiration that will carry you to future success.
If you look back at this past year, also focus on the things that you did not achieve, but thought you would. Think about the reasons they didn’t happen. Just a second there, Sparky. Not the excuses, the reasons.
There’s an old saying that goes something like, “For everything that goes wrong, or doesn’t get done, there are hundreds of excuses, but very few good reasons.”
The reality of your lack of achievement will help inspire you, and kindle a new resolve to get it done next year, so you can have that feeling of accomplishment, and that feeling of achievement.
In my experience, almost everything that was not accomplished this past year, could have been accomplished given a different set of circumstances — that you were in 100% control of.
Therein lies the key to your next year’s success: realizing that you are in control of the thoughts you have and actions that you take to advance your own achievement.
It begins with thinking. I’ve written several pieces about the power of daydreaming. I’ve written several pieces about the word “think” in business. It was created by John Patterson of National Cash Register, and propelled to prominence by his fired employee, Thomas Watson — who founded IBM.
The process of thinking is at the core of your ability to succeed. And it’s very easy to begin, as long as you’re willing to set aside time to do it.
Take out your calendar and begin to enter 15-minute “self appointments.” When the meeting times arrive, take out your laptop and begin to jot down your thoughts.
Then start to make other appointments with yourself for doing things that don’t require thinking: taking a walk, taking a bath, exercising, having coffee. It’s during these “mindless times” that ideas from your thoughts will begin to pop into your head. Over the years I have found that “mindless times” often become “mind-full times.”
When your mind is free (not uncluttered, just free) the thoughts that have been rattling around in there will manifest themselves in the form of ideas and answers. When an idea occurs to you, or when the answer to one of your own questions appears to you — stop what you’re doing at that very moment in time, and write it down. By capturing your thoughts and your ideas in writing, you will put yourself on the mental road to success, and from there, it will be much easier to find the physical road.
The holiday season is a very high emotional time. Your time is much more pressured, gifts, budgets, end of the year business things, family gatherings, travel — all of this, combined with the memories of what’s happened in past holidays.
Too often, the negative holiday memories occupy a large portion of your thought process. That’s not the “Ho, Ho, Ho” you were hoping for.
Think about it this way, you’ve all heard the expressions, “holiday spirit” and “holiday cheer.” Try capturing the emotions of spirit and cheer into your thoughts, and you’ll begin to convert the negatives into positives almost instantly.
Take time to reflect on all the good things that have happened, and assure yourself that more good things are on the way. If your thoughts are right, and in the right spirit, then all your days are holidays. All you have to do is think they are.
Jeffrey Gitomer, author of “The Sales Bible,” and “Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless,” is president of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer. He gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings and conducts training programs on selling and customer service. He can be reached at (704) 333-1112 or e-mail