By Dr. Richard Osibanjo (Forbes, December 30, 2023)
As the New Year unfolds, many people embark on ambitious resolutions, only to see them unravel within the first month. The lack of depth, infrastructure, and support systems often hinder sustained progress when life becomes hectic. Imagine trying to slim down but checking progress only once a year – this sporadic approach is a recipe for disappointment. To ensure 2024 becomes your most successful year yet, consider these practical steps:
#1 Make self-reflection a habit: Self-reflection is a prerequisite for growth. Harry Kraemer, former CEO of Baxter International and Kellog Clinical Professor, has been making space for self-reflection for the past 40 years. According to Kraemer, there are three questions you should be asking: If I am not self-reflective, is it possible to know myself? If I don’t know myself, is it possible to lead myself? If I can’t lead myself, is it possible to lead other people? Contrary to popular opinion, experience is not the best teacher; it’s evaluated experience. Self-reflection helps you transform your experiences into growth insights.
How to live this out in 2024: Set aside time daily to reflect on where you are, where you want to go, and what is required to make it happen. Reflect on past achievements and challenges of the past year before embarking on new goals. Understanding what worked and what didn’t can provide valuable insights, allowing you to refine your approach for greater success in 2024.
#2 Define your destination: Consider this conversation from the movie Alice in Wonderland. Alice: “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” The Cheshire Cat: “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.” Alice: “I don’t much care where.” The Cheshire Cat: “Then it doesn’t much matter which way you go.” Where do you want to go in 2024? Why is it important to you? Having a sense of purpose and clarity about who you are, your core values, potential, and passion are critical for your growth in 2024. Your destination isn’t merely a point on the map; it’s the culmination of your aspirations, fueled by a deep understanding of your authentic self.
How to live this out in 2024: The Japanese Ikigai framework is a good place to start. Take some time to answer the following questions to help point you in the right direction: What do I love doing? What am I great at (think of the accolades, awards, or things people keep coming to you for)? What does the world around me need? What can I be compensated fairly for?
#3 Understand your growth environment: I went to Home Depot during the summer to find a product that could restore dry patches on my lawn. The gardening department rep told me the product I found was good but wouldn’t work. He said the seeds needed a certain temperature to be activated. The current temperature was too high and would be, at best, good food for the birds. I had good intentions in fixing the problem, but my lack of awareness about a suitable environment would have yielded little to no results.
How to live this out in 2024: Identify the environments that activate and accelerate your growth. Reflect on past successes to recognize the elements that contributed to your best work. Incorporate these elements into your current environment to foster continuous growth.
#4 Understand your gifts and deliver them to the right audience: An apple tree doesn’t eat its own fruit. In the same vein, the gifts you have are not for you. Define, describe, and be able to deliver on your offerings. Second, understand your customer’s needs to establish a strong connection and match your product to their pain point.
How to live this out in 2024: Ask yourself the following questions: What work is your customer trying to do? What does success look like for them? What are their biggest pain points? How does your solution alleviate these pain points? Is it a good fit? Is your solution a need or a want for the customer?
#5 Embrace change for continuous development: Change with change if you don’t want to be exchanged. Continuously develop yourself, your product, systems, and customer experience to meet evolving needs. How can you leverage AI for your business?
How to live this out in 2024: Ask your customers regularly how you can best meet their needs. Stay up-to-date with the latest trends in your industry. Find mentors or coaches who can walk alongside you.
#6 Measure what matters: You have no chance of hitting or even exceeding your goals if you don’t have the right ones defined. Utilize the SMART goal-setting techniques like Objectives and Key Results (OKR) – make your objectives Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. By using a strategic approach, you can make sure that your goals are time-bound, measurable, clear, and aligned with your overall vision.
How to live this out in 2024: In defining what you should measure, think about leading and lagging indicators. Leading indicators are within your control, while lagging indicators are the outcomes and are outside your control. For example, servicing your car regularly (leading indicator) will reduce or prevent car issues (lagging) throughout the year.
#7 Create a support network: An Ethiopian proverb says, “When spiders unite, they can tie down a lion.” It underscores the idea that when individuals who share a common purpose come together, they can create a force capable of restraining something formidable.
How to live this out in 2024: Be intentional in nurturing and surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals who are invested in your success; provide encouragement, feedback, guidance, support, and hold you accountable.
#8 Prioritize self-care: Most things in life can be replaced; your health is not one of them. You can’t do everything, so focus on what truly matters. Amidst the hustle of pursuing your goals, aligning who you are with what you do is critical so you don’t wear yourself out.
How to live this out in 2024: Identify your primary sources of energy (spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional well-being) and allocate time for activities that rejuvenate your mind and body, ensuring you have the energy and resilience to face challenges head-on.
#9 Monitor progress regularly: Establish checkpoints throughout the year to assess your progress. Regular evaluations enable you to identify areas for improvement and make the necessary adjustments to stay on course. Celebrate milestones, no matter how small, to maintain motivation and momentum.
How to live this out in 2024: Choose progress over perfection. Find a coach, mentor, or accountability partner with whom you can work out daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly check-ins.
#10 Choose courage over comfort: In becoming your best self in 2024, make courage your greatest ally. Expect detours, setbacks, and unforeseen challenges, for they are inevitable companions on the road to success. Rather than viewing these moments as failures, consider them as stepping stones, not stumbling blocks. Each stumble is a chance to refine your approach, strengthen your resolve, and get back in the game.
2024 is not just a physical or professional milestone, but a symbolic representation of the person you aim to become. Your journey can become a transformative experience, with each challenge being an opportunity for growth. With a clear understanding of where you want to go and why, you pave the way for a purposeful and fulfilling year ahead. By implementing these practical steps, you can turn your resolutions into reality and make 2024 the year for unleashing your best self.
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