imagesCAP58YQWEverybody loves New Year ’s Day, not because of the endless supply of football games or the built in day off to recover from a late night of over indulgence but for the blank slate a new year brings with it. With each New Year comes reflections of the previous year that create dreams and resolutions that if completed will make 2013 better. For all those things we “wanted” to do in the previous year but did not, at the dawn of the new year we are given the perceived gift of time and with it possibilities.
Remember when you were in school and you were given a huge project to complete with a long deadline in which to complete it? Do you remember how when given the assignment and the deadline you felt no stress or worry because you had time? Remember how you thought about how great you were going to make the project because you had the time to do so? Remember how excited you were to add all those little details that would really make it stand out?
Then do you remember what actually happened?
If you are like me, time became your enemy. Failing to plan and continuing to put off the project to finish items with shorter deadlines left me in a position where I was scrambling at the last minute to turn in something, never reaching the intention I had for myself to create a first class representation of my work or abilities. 2013 can be your best year to date but it will not happen if you begin your “project” in November. The challenge then becomes where to begin, how do you set yourself up for success in the New Year now and avoid waiting until the 11th hour before finally giving up and saying “I’ll do it next year”?
The last 3 years have been very good for me personally and professionally. I have had opportunities to achieve new goals and follow new opportunities in areas I am passionate about. Before writing this article I took some time to reflect and think about what had been different about the past 3 years compared to the years before them. What has allowed for the realization of my goals over the last 3 years that was not there before?
I was pleasantly surprised to discover that there are 2 very simple things that seem to be at the core of all the positive shifts that have taken place:
Writing Intention letters. Goal setting and breaking down big goals into small actionable items is a scary task for most people. Putting goals on paper makes them real which means that failure is now a real option & the fear of failure is enough for most people to stop before they even start. This was always a very challenging area for me in the past until I was introduced to a very powerful exercise (3 years ago) that helped me ease into this process with greater confidence and success. I began writing Intentions letters. A the beginning of each year I would metaphorically hop in my DeLorean, rev her up to 88mph and travel to exactly one year in the future, I would imagine myself looking back over the last year and write a letter recapping my year as if it was just finishing. Think of it as writing next year’s Christmas card this year, before it happens. The greatest part about this exercise is that you are not limited at all by what has happened but can explore what could happen. You get to create a vision of what your year will look like and when you can see in your mind it is pretty amazing how some of those visions begin to become realities.
12 books in 12 months. In high school somehow I managed to get by with only reading 3 books (and they were all short). In college I read almost nothing and had text books that made it through a semester without ever being opened. I can honestly say that between 2004 and 2009 I can remember reading maybe 4 books (again, all very short). In 2009 someone I greatly respect told me that “great leaders are great readers”. I had never heard that before but it struck a chord. They suggested starting with 12 books in 12 months. There is not enough space in this article or time in a day for me to begin to tell you how that has changed my life. Dave Ramsey says “In 5 years from now I will be the same person in dealing with the same situations, the only thing different will be the people I meet and the books I read”
Take some time to write your intention letter and choose your twelve books and get ready to enjoy new beginnings and possibilities in 2013

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About caseystutzman

Casey Stutzman is an AFAA certified trainer and has been actively involved in the fitness industry since 2004. Since 2006 he has acted as the Head Trainer at the Bay Athletic Club in Alpena Michigan. Casey’s love of athletics and competition drove him in to the fitness industry. He uses his experience as a division 1 college football player, amateur bodybuilding competitor, strongman competitor to help others reach their goals in all areas of fitness. Casey spends his time at Bay Athletic Club teaching Boot Camps, small group training sessions, training clients and working with participants in Bay Athletic Club’s Corporate Fit Challenge program. He also develops strength and conditioning programs and does performance training for a number of local athletic organizations and high school teams. As an Ignite Performance Master trainer and Master Instructor for TRX Casey travels North America to educate and connect with fitness professionals to help them offer more to their clients and athletes. Time outside of fitness is occupied with reading, travel, indoor rock climbing, snow sports and being an active outdoorsman. He enjoys spending free time with his wife Mary Beth, his daughter Vesper, son Indiana and Turkish the family dog.

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