“To read without reflecting is like eating without digesting.” – Edmund Burke.
Hopefully after ingesting this post, my words are properly digested into the energy that your body needs to achieve astronomical success in 2014. Yes f olks, it’s that time again for benefits enrollment. No, I’m not talking about your annual re-enrollment for your health benefits even though it’s equally as important and both share similar philosophies. Philosophies, such as the critical reflection and selection process, to ensure that your family is properly protected and that benefits will continue. While some may call it a “New Year’s Resolution List,” I’ve created an acronym that’s worked well for me for the past decade that I would like to share – R.I.S.E.
What is R.I.S.E.?
Unlike the traditional resolution’s list that rarely gets started, yet alone accomplished, my simple system will help you build the necessary foundation for success in the upcoming year. Here’s what you’ll need to do:
R = Reflect:
Reflect is defined as “to think, ponder, or meditate: to reflect on one’s virtues and faults.”
To ensure that 2014 will be great year, it’s vital that you reflect on the year that was. I prefer to start in November because it’ll give you enough experiences to reflect upon and adequate time to plan and set yourself up for success prior to next year.
Ask yourself these 10 questions and ALWAYS write down and explain your answers:
- Am I still happy and fulfilled?
- Do I remain on-track to achieve my goals and objectives this year?
- What were my biggest successes and how can I innovate further?
- What were my biggest failures and what did I learn from them?
- Did I make an improvement this year compared to last year (personally and professionally)?
- Can I prevent any of the obstacles that happened from reoccurring?
- Am I showing enough love and support to those that I care about (family, friends, peers, etc.)?
- Am I exercising enough and eating a healthy diet?
- Did I contribute enough to society and help others that were less fortunate this year?
- Am I saving and investing enough for a comfortable retirement?
By reflecting and answering these questions, you’ll be able to determine your focus, thereby, determining your results. In essence, these questions will force you to focus on what’s really important in life and once you take heed of them, everything else will surely fall into place.
If you don’t to take the necessary time to reflect, you won’t know if you’re heading in right direction and you won’t be able to learn from the events that’s shaped your life thus far. Not only would you feel lost but also waste time drifting through life without clarity. At minimum, everyone should reflect on their lives annually, if not more.
I = Intellect:
Intellect is defined as the “capacity for rational or intelligent thought, especially when highly developed.”
Next, I want you to use your intellect and brainstorm on 3 possible solutions to help you improve on the situations above. For example, let’s say that you felt that you haven’t done enough to help those less fortunate (question # 9).
After further thought, you’ve decided that 3 possible ways that you could help others is by donating your unused clothes / belongings to Salvation Army every year; volunteering 10 hours per week at the local Red Cross; donating $100 a month to the Make A Wish Foundation.
Please be as specific as possible and write down the intended solutions.
S = Select:
Select is defined as “chosen from a group to include the best people or things.”
Out of the 3 possible solutions, I want you to prioritize and select the top 2 that you’ll pursue and integrate starting TODAY!
To help you prioritize, here are 5 important questions to ask:
- What items are really important and represents the values and virtues that I want to instill in my family?
- What solutions will have the greatest impact on achieving my life goals and objectives?
- Is my efforts aligned with my purpose and passion in life?
- Can I delegate any of these so that I can play to my strengths while still achieving more in a shorter time?
- How can I break this solution down into “chunks” in an effort to integrate it as efficiently and effectively as possible?
As a proponent of contingency planning, you’ll also have 1 solution leftover as a backup just in case things don’t go as planned. Plus, if you’re able to achieve the top 2 items, you could work on the 3rd solution and continue to add more to the group as you progress.
E = Effect:
Effect is defined as “a change that results when something is done or happens; an event, condition, or state of affairs that is produced by a cause.”
Once you begin executing your solutions, it’s crucial to track the effects of it. You want to ensure that your efforts are helping you achieve your goals and that predicted results were achieved, if not over-delivered. Personally, I prefer to track my progress on a quarterly basis (every 3 months) in the upcoming year to ensure that I’m on track to achieving the results I want.
Overall, I chose these specific letters because the term “rise” represents the entire goal of this exercise. As defined by the dictionary, the term “rise means to move upward; to become higher.” Remember, the objective is n ot only to achieve life goals but also to develop and grow as the year progresses.
Plus, the representation for each letter also rhymes, which should help you remember it more easily (reflect, intellect, select, effect). In addition, I also want you to place the final copy of your goals in plain sight so that it’s the first thing that you see once you rise in the morning. This way, you’ll be reminded daily of what’s important and the steps needed to achieve future goals.
Charles Darwin once stated that “a moral being is one who is capable of reflecting on his past actions and their motives – of approving of some and disapproving of others.” So make an effort to reflect and learn from your past experiences in hopes of improving your future.
By following this simple program, I know that you’ll be able to “rise to the occasion” and continue to collect important benefits for 2014!