With the holiday season now firmly in the rear-view mirror, we start a new year full of energy and plans to make this year better than the last.
But how do we prevent our best intentions from withering by early February?
I’m glad you asked :)
We can choose to be proactive rather than reactive.
For example, if you’re a parent, you know that life with kids is extra unpredictable. It’s so easy to fall into a reactive state. And while it’s true that you can’t prevent your kids from, say, coming home sick from school, you can help them eat better so they get sick less. You can also have a plan in place ahead of time with your spouse should one of your kids get sick and need to come home early.
It’s a matter of controlling the things you can control so that you get less tripped up by the things you can’t control.
Here are some other examples:
Reactive: Staying in a job that pays well despite the writing on the wall that your job is in danger.
Proactive: Seeking out a new job rather than waiting to be let go from your current employer.
Reactive: Waiting till your kid is a junior or senior in high school to figure out how to pay for college.
Proactive: Setting up a college savings plan in your name before your kid is born so you can start saving early. (Anyone? No? Just me?)
Reactive: Worrying about how you are invested after the market has dropped.
Proactive: Having a plan in place that already accounts for market corrections.
Reactive: Waiting till your folks need help to talk about their financial situation and wishes.
Proactive: Having a tough conversation early on so that when the time comes you’re ready.
You might be really good at being reactive. You might tackle problems well when they’re presented.
But how are you at being proactive? What’s one thing you could do right now that could make a future problem go away or be much easier to deal with?
Approaching things proactively is key to living a better life. It becomes easier to handle whatever life throws your way when you’ve put in place the pieces you can control proactively and ahead of time.
One way to stack the cards in your favor this year is by introducing some accountability to your best intentions.
I’ve personally been working with an accountability coach for the past four years. Every Monday at 11 am, we’re on the phone listing out what I’m going to accomplish that week. Next Monday, I call in, let him know whether I did what I said I was going to do, and start the process again. I’m much more proactive about doing what I said I would do because I have (and pay for!) some built in accountability.
I provide similar accountability in my work with my clients. It’s much easier to let ourselves off the hook or convince ourselves someone or something else is to blame. But when you’ve got someone in your corner holding you accountable, things have a way of getting done that might otherwise have been pushed aside or written off.
In 2019, try being more proactive and add some accountability to your best intentions. And if you’d like some help, you know how to reach me.
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