There’s a reason people love the start of a New Year – or the first day of spring, or maybe the first day of school.
The idea of a clean slate – of making changes or starting over fresh – can be exhilarating.
“It isn’t necessarily that you don’t like the life you live,” says John C. Neyland, author of How to Live the Life You’ve Yet to Dream (www.johnneyland.com). “It’s just that you suspect there’s something you’re missing – something more fulfilling.”
The truth is, those possibilities are always within your reach, Neyland says. “But to have the life you want means you have to change course.”
Here are some ways to make that turn in your life, using what Neyland refers to as “pivots”:
• Put fear in its place and understand it. Fear has no power unless you lend it power. It doesn’t change the end result, and often it causes more damage than whatever it was you were so worried about. Neyland suggests you think about the biggest fear you’ve ever had. What was the outcome and did you recover? Chances are you came out the other end just fine.
• Courage is not the lack of fear but going forward in the face of it. Courage is like exercise: The more you use it, the easier it becomes – and the more you benefit. We are taught to avoid pain and danger. You have to choose to face life with courage – but in the end, it’s how you handle fear and how you respond to it that can change your course.
• Compromise is a dirty word. It can steal your life and dreams. To work for or spend time with someone who doesn’t share your values is a compromise, Neyland says, and compromise robs your energy and affects your momentum.
• There is great value in having mentors. It’s less painful and more efficient to learn from the mistakes and successes of others: a family member, teacher or business leader you admire. Learn from them and emulate them in your everyday life.
• Dream without restraint. Thinking about what you want to do only in the context of what you know you can do is more of a nightmare than a dream. Pursue your goals with all you have. Don’t be concerned with failing. “The journey and the struggle can be extremely satisfying,” Neyland says. “It rivals the attainment of a goal.
• Be honest with yourself. Many people lie to themselves about whom or what is most important to them. Lying sets off a chain reaction that stalls momentum and makes your life a little less than what it should be. Even small lies chip away at the person you want to be.
• Be impatiently focused. We have a limited a number of breaths to build the world around us. Focus on a goal and don’t wait for the right moment or perfect conditions to go for it. Time matters.
• Control what you can control and forget about the rest. Every moment you spend lamenting a situation you couldn’t control, you’re stealing from yourself. Direct your energy and momentum to something you can manage instead.
Before you start over, spend some time revisiting what matters most to you, Neyland says. What are your values? What are your likes and dislikes? What do you want to do with your life?
“Make a list of all these things,” he says. “Then dream boldly and take action.”
John C. Neyland, president and Investment Advisor Representative at JCN Financial & Tax Planning Group, is the author of How to Live the Life You’ve Yet to Dream (www.Johnneyland.com), which is part memoir and part blueprint for readers who want to get more out of life and leave a positive mark on the world.