Throw Out Fifty Things

Okay, it's one thing to say, as we all have, "Thank goodness 2008 is over. Boy, I sure hope 2009 is better. I mean, it has to be, right?" And quite another thing to take the bull by the horns and make it - 2009 - everything we want it to be. Look, this isn't the kind of year we want to leave up for grabs, right? Not after what we've been through. And the good news is that, although bad stuff happens that is totally outside of our control, there's a lot of good stuff we can create if we actually put our minds - and hearts - to it.

Maybe you want (and need!) a new job, maybe you want to change careers entirely, maybe you're looking for a new relationship (or making the one you've got better) or maybe you want to feel healthier, look better and get your bod in shape. Whatever it is, if you follow these simple steps, you'll have a much greater chance of making it happen in 2009.

1) Create a clear vision of exactly what you want. It it's a new job, paint a visual picture of exactly what it could look like, what you'd be doing, how much you'd be contributing. If it's a trim, healthy body, what will you look like, feel like, what will people be saying about you. If it's a relationship, how will you and the other person be feeling about each other, about life in general? Flesh out the vision, color it in. Put in all the details you can so that you can almost "taste" how good it will be when it becomes a reality. (Walt Disney said, "Build the castle first!" He was right. Because when you can feel the magic, you can go the distance every time.)

2) Edit! Edit out all the negative voices, your own included, about why this'll never happen: the job market is in the tank, they'll never hire me. Or, I'm not disciplined so I'll never stick to a diet or quit smoking or whatever. Or, I'm over the hill and no one is going to find me attractive, etc., etc. Delete it! Let it all go. Go home and throw out fifty things! You've got to clear the decks if you're going to make room for the future you want.

3) Design the future from the future. Pretend you've already accomplished your goal. You've got the job, the bod, the girl or guy. How'd you do it? Draw a triangle on a piece of paper. At the top of the triangle - or "mountain" - write the date when you'll have gotten what you want. Be specific. Put down the day, date, month and year. Then, working down the "mountain" ask yourself, "What did I do right before that, that allowed for that to happen?" Write it down. And then, right below that write down what you did right before that to make that happen. Continue all the way down the mountain with your "steps" until you reach today - the day you've decided to design the future. When you're done, you'll have a plan. Now all you have to do is execute it.

4) Anticipate that you'll get what you want. Assume things will go your way. Walk into every situation - a job interview, a blind date, the gym - anticipating that you've got everything it takes to make it happen. On the whole, we get what we expect in life - even from ourselves. So expect the best, okay? Good.

Happy New Year, my friend.


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