Not sure about you, but I’m still processing what I want my year to look like. I have personal and professional aspirations. I have ideas, thoughts, dreams, & goals all swirling around in my head, heart and soul. Sometimes, just focusing my energy is challenging. My heart races and I get so excited to get it all done I stall before I complete just one task.

To help me focus, I’ve found setting these “D” distinguishing pillars in place provides the invaluable opportunity to establish direction:

Desire/Acknowledgement – How do you know how you want to spend your time? When I feel the kernels of new ideas popping around in my chest like a popcorn maker, this is usually a sign I’m onto something. My heart races, the adrenaline flows and off I go to examine what’s going on. I acknowledge it. I write it down. I revisit it. I visualize it developing. I imagine myself living it. If I’m constantly thinking about it, visualizing it, imaging what it looks or feels like, that is when I know it is time to focus – because it is what I want to do. Not because someone says I should do it, or I need to do it. When it is clear I want to do it, that’s when I focus. On the other hand, if at any point the spark is not there, the desire is not there, the passion is not there, what then? I move on. Accept it is not what works for me. I’m not meant to focus on it. Let it go.

Decision/Being at Choice – Once you know, decide that you know. Own that you know. What I mean is: choose to make it a big deal. Choose to invest your mind, heart and soul into making it work. Talk about it, live it, breathe it. You should be feeling you want to make this a part of your work every day, because it matters to you. If it means that much to you, this step should not be that difficult. Exhausting, perhaps. But, it should not difficult.

Determination/Commitment – This one is probably the most time consuming, and the one that requires the most resolve. How determined are you to make it happen? How much energy, which is not necessarily the same as ‘how much time’, are you are committing to it? There is a difference between energy and time and finding the happy medium between fulfilling your desires and taking care of everything else is critical. Working towards something until you burn out is not practical, efficient or productive. What you must require of yourself is that you will be honest about your motivation, appreciative of your efforts, and patient with your progress. As the saying goes: It’s about the journey, not the destination.

Discipline/Accountability – What’s the value of accountability anyway? Huge, huge value! After you have acknowledged what you want, decided to go for it, and committed to it, will you have the internal drive to keep checking in with yourself? To stay on track, even when you are veering off track, or stalling? Declare your intentions to a person you respect. A mentor. A colleague. A friend. A coach. Having an external presence to hold you accountable, when you are exhausted and lack the discipline to hold yourself accountable, is critical to keep you moving towards your destination.