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Fuel for Thought: Ideas to Keep Going Strong All Year Long

By: Julie Escobar
 

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It’s interesting how some people seem to keep their momentum high despite the market dips and flips, personal setbacks or obstacles and all of life’s little detours.  When I think of what attributes those people have that are elusive to others, I am reminded of the words of Mother Teresa, “To keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it.”  I believe to keep our own “lamp” or spirit, mind and momentum burning – we must fuel it daily with the right “oil.”

With the New Year ahead and lots to do, what kind of “oil” will you fuel your life with in 2011?

Invest in yourself, your business and your family.  What can you do to invest in both the stability and security of your present and the prosperous potential for growth in your future?  Make a plan to invest the time, money and energy in your life that can propel you not just in the New Year – but for years to come.  In big ways and small ways you can make a difference.  From paying off debt and creating additional savings opportunities to investing in skill-building courses and tools that will allow you to expand your thinking, techniques, technology and talents – create a monthly goal to invest in YOUR life.  Multiply that by twelve months and you could rack up some wonderful   benefits in the coming year. Think about this – investing an additional 15 minutes of time each day with your children equals more than two weeks of influence, care and joy in their lives (and yours) each year.  What if you found an extra hour (it’s not as impossible as it sounds) each day and split it into quarters – one each for children, self, business and partnerships.  What positive impact can you make in your life for just an hour a day?  It’s worth getting up an hour early for – trust me.

Create an integrity partnership. Staying on track isn’t always easy – especially when difficult situations arise or you find yourself stuck in a proverbial rut.  Having someone in your life that will “give it to you straight” when you’re not walking the straight and narrow and help you not just keep focused but keep moving forward is worth its weight in gold.  Everyone’s different.  For some, a coach is the way to go – with financial skin in the game; they’re more likely to stay on task.  For others, a mentor relationship is needed to help model good business practices and learn new skills.  Or perhaps just a colleague that you like and respect and together you can keep each other on course is the answer.  Check in with each other on a regular (and planned) basis, be that weekly, bi-weekly or monthly – so you’re never in danger of getting too far off the success plan.

Create new habits. There are so many things that we do each day that are simply by habit, some good – some bad.  Only you know your own – so take inventory in the next week and really investigate which of those habits you should replace with better ones next year.  Careful not to take on too many at a time – it usually takes on average 30 days to create a new habit – so one step at a time!  What’s the one thing this month you can change to live a happier, healthier, more enriched life?  Write it down and focus on it daily.  Create a consistent SIMPLE action plan that’s easy to follow.  Once you get one bad habit licked, try the next!  Not only will your new habits be good for your mind and body – but the sense of accomplishment will fuel you as well!

Give yourself a break. I can’t tell you how many people I talk to each week that are just so tremendously hard on themselves.  You know – life hands us enough tough stuff, we don’t need to be our own toughest critics.  If you mess up – forgive yourself.  Figure out the lessons learned and move on, don’t carry it around like a set of Samsonite luggage for the rest of the year.  Each morning and each night, take a mental inventory of the good things, the positives, the joys, the lessons and the triumphs that you experienced that day, no matter how small.  (Don’t worry–the negative stuff has its own way of calculating its own tally!)  Did you make someone laugh?  Did you close a deal?  Did you talk to a client?  Did you hug your child?  Did you find the BEST shoes?  (Threw that one in for a friend – you know who you are!)  We have to be our own best cheerleaders and advocates in this world as well as our own moral compass.  As long as you’re living your life with integrity, character and compassion – then don’t beat yourself up.  Each day gives us a new slate to make things extraordinary.  Stop beating yourself up.  It’s too tough to get back up again and hey – you’ve got a lot to accomplish this year – so go easy!

I believe Mother Teresa was on to something.  Light your life with good “oils” – the kind that stem from powerful positive thinking, a great circle of friends and family, conviction and commitment to goals and actions and a will to make your world – our world – a better place. Let’s get to it!  Ready?  What kind of “oil” will you be putting in YOUR lamp in 2011?

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