Identify Errors for Future Success – It’s Easy With Strategy

By Carmen Reed-Gilkison | Blog Articles

Jan 09
Stylized painting of a city background with a person in the foreground

Well, the new year is here. Everybody wants to have their best year ever – but, how? Identify errors from 2016, so you can eliminate and correct them in 2017. That’s it!

Sounds easy, right?

It takes grit to perform a personal assessment,  identify errors, and then admit where things went wrong. Our ego likes to pull the shade over anything we do wrong. Pushing ego aside, and doing the hard work of introspection is necessary if you want to improve.

If you let your ego seduce you and ignore the facts, you may be able to slide for a few months without feeling the effects, but, they’ll surface at some point – they always do. If for no other reason, self-audits on a regular basis are a must if growth is your thing. If not, keep doing what you do (or don’t do) and react when the shit hits the fan. That may be a little blunt, but those are your options; be the one that sets the direction for your life or get bounced around like a pinball as life sets it for you.

Success isn’t just for “other people.” Success is for anyone willing to learn how to implement strategy in their life. Strategy is merely a recipe; a set of instructions that lay out the steps you need to take to reach the desired result. As in cooking, applying strategy to your life requires practice. The more you cook, the better you become. The more you examine your life, correct errors, and create and implement strategies that work for you, the better you become.

The most important part of creating a winning strategy is knowing you. Wherever you’re at right now is your starting point. Identify the following:

  1. What are your current stats? (This would apply to the area you want to improve, such as monthly income, current weight, number of clients, number of days per week you exercise, etc.)
  2. What’s your goal? (You can’t set an effective goal – your desired end point – without first identifying your current stats – your starting point)
  3. What steps are you going to take to reach your goal?
  4. What strategy are you going to use to incorporate those steps into your daily life? (Strategy is required! Merely identifying what you want does nothing to get you there. Even when you identify the steps you’re going to take, you need to identify the critical information about HOW you’ll implement them.)
    • Identify your strengths – this will directly play into your strategy. You need to use your current strengths to develop a strategy that will work for you. Identify three strengths and figure out how they will help you take the steps you identified above to reach your goal. This can look like:
      • I love getting up early, so I’ll workout first thing in the morning to make sure it gets done.
      • Or, I’m a night-owl, so I’ll journal every evening and use those notes to create my social media marketing posts for the week.
    • Identify your weaknesses – Here we go again, taking a not-so-pleasant look at ourselves! This is just as important as identifying your strengths. For instance, I know I won’t workout after work. It just doesn’t happen. If I create a strategy that includes working out three times a week after work, I’m going to fail. Then I’ll get discouraged, down on myself, and quit. That’s the trend with New Year resolutions. You can’t become a completely different person overnight; you’ve got to implement strategies that will work with your lifestyle to create the change you want.
    • Make three lists: a list of the steps you need to take to reach your goal, a list of your strengths, and a list of your weaknesses:
      • Next to each of the strengths you listed, write how that strength will help you with one or more of the steps.
      • Next to each of the weaknesses you listed, write how that weakness could keep you from taking the steps you need to take.

By identifying this up front, you’ll be ready to identify any sneaky behavior your ego throws in your way. For instance, if increasing my income by 10% is my goal, and a weakness of mine is shopping, I’d better figure out how to appease that part of my ego with something other than spending my money. It’ll do me no good to increase my income if my spending increases with it. One way to appease the part of my ego that says “You work so hard; you deserve to treat yourself,” is to treat myself to a walk in the woods, a day at the beach, or extra time with my family. Since I’ve identified a new reward, my ego is satisfied, and I keep my spending in check.

  1. Now that you’ve identified how your strengths and weaknesses will play into your strategy, it’s time to create your strategy. An example is:

Current Stats: I weigh _____ pounds.

Goal: Lose 10 pounds

List #1 – Steps:

Step 1: Create a healthy menu each week.

Step 2: Increase my exercise

Step 3: Reward my progress          

List #2 –  Strengths:

  • I Love to cook – this will help me with menu prep, and using healthy recipes
  • I Love to get outside – this will help me enjoy exercising outside
  • I’m all about rewards – it will be fun to create milestones to work toward and look forward to.

List #3 – Weaknesses:

  • I have a huge sweet tooth – I’ll be tempted to eat sweets, there will be excuses, justifications, etc. that I need to shut down and change course
  • I’m impatient – I’ll be tempted to do too much all at once. I know it took a long time to gain the weight I want to lose and it won’t come off immediately. Slow and steady wins the race!
  • I’ll be tempted to feel deprived. I need to make sure I find some great recipes to avoid this. I also need to make sure I think of some great rewards that aren’t food-related.

Now that you’ve got your goal identified and your lists made, you have a great start on a strategy. We’ll need a place to keep our goals and track our progress. Here is where you can reward yourself before you ever begin by putting everything in a special book, binder, or file that you decorate in a way that makes you happy. Whether you’re creative and want lots of swirls and color, or you’re a tech geek that likes columns and checkboxes don’t hold back! Make it somewhere you want to visit often to collect your data and track your progress.

Using the steps above as an example, we’re ready to start creating a healthy menu. Start with one week at a time, and work up to four weeks. Then, you can mix and match those meals to keep yourself on track.

If you’re like me, and you want to make things simple, think of two or three breakfast items and use one of those each day. I strive to drink a green smoothie every day. By making a blender full, I have two or three tall glasses done. When I’m out of time, I’ll eat a banana with some raw pumpkin seeds or nuts – easy peasy.

Follow this process with the other steps in your goal plan, and you’ll be on your way to creating positive change in your life. To ensure your changes stick, set aside a day every so often to look back at your progress. Where did you get tripped up? What worked well? Are you seeing any negative patterns that you need to address? A plan is only as good as the follow-through. You’ve got to collect data as you go along so you have something to measure. Where you need to tweak things, do so without berating yourself. Change is difficult, but if you lay out a plan and monitor your progress you’ll be on your way to making positive changes in your life.


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