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Ready. Set. Redefine. Restore in 2013

As you reflect on your resolutions for 2013, consider that in order to make a true and lasting change in life you must have a desire, a plan, a strategy, a resolve, and a vision that can be executed into action.

There are now less than ten days left in the year 2012, and as we all prepare to celebrate Christmas in the New Year, many of us will sit, reflect and come up with the obligatory checklist of “Resolutions” for our lives in 2013. But ladies, I am here to tell you that resolutions rarely work, and that is because in order for you to make a true and lasting change in your life you must  have a desire, a plan, a strategy, a resolve, and a vision that can be executed into action.

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One of my favorite scriptures is in the book of Joel 2:25 which reads, “I (GOD) will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten–the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm–my great army that I sent among you.” I love this scripture because like many of you, much of what has come in my life, has come after hard work, long periods of waiting, upheaval, loss, adversity, and having allowed “locust people” to dwell in my life for too long.  Over the next two weeks as we end this year, I am going to help you set out a process, and strategy to redefine and restore your life in 2013.

The first thing you must do is get a journal or a safe place where you can write out, and share your thoughts, do the exercises I will share, and lay out your desires, wants, needs for 2013, and how you plan to achieve them one by one.  I want to start you off in Part I of this series with 7 foundational principles that are critical to your ability to get your life to where you want it to be in 2013.  I will not ask of you anything that I have not first done myself, successfully.

Principle #1:  Who are you, what do you want, and more importantly what do you need from life in 2013? All authentic, meaningful, and lasting change starts with self. You must conquer you before you can conquer anything else in life. You must face you in order to fix you. Trust me anything that is was wrong in your 2012, will stay wrong in 2013 unless you change your mind, your perspective, yourself.

Principle #2: You have to be able to see what you want.  Make a list of five goals that you want to achieve, or 5 needs you want met, or 5 changes you want to make in 2013 and write them in your journal. Next to the column with your goals write down how you plan to get there.

Principle #3: You  must be intentional about what you want to attract to your life. This is a critical life skill that successful people have mastered. Their words, thoughts and deeds all center around positive, focused, aspirational living.

Principle #4: You must conquer your fear. You can turn your fear into your power if you are brave enough to acknowledge your fears, face them, and fix them.

Principle #5: You must be aware of your circumstances and who is in your inner circle. Every year end you should do a relationship check. Who is really for you? Who speaks words of life into you? Who lifts you along with them as they climb? Who blesses you as you bless them? Learn to expect reciprocity in your relationships. Be aware of who surrounds you, who is for you, and who is against you.

Principle #6: You must learn to forgive, ask for forgiveness, untie vs. cut people, and restore people. This here is really life 101 in a nutshell. If we cannot get these basic principles of conflict resolution right, show grace and mercy, show love and restoration then we will never get to be the people we aspire to be. If you can learn to untie things/people versus cutting you can always go back and restore, or better yet be restored. Forgiveness is a journey. One we should take often, and with charity because we ourselves need it everyday also.

Principle #7: You must learn to look forward out of the vast windshield of life in front of you instead of the small rear view mirror behind you. This is the most important principle of life, not getting stuck on what is behind, not fearing it, not regretting it, and not being unable to let go of it! Stay focused forward.

These seven principles are what you must work on before you can make change and transformation for the year ahead a reality in your life. So the questions I want you to ask yourselves are these: 2012 is just about over.  What do I WANT for my life in 2013? What do I need? What do I desire? And do I possess the courage to dare desire more for myself than what has been lost, taken, or “eaten by the locusts” of life? Write down the answers in your journals. Next week we will dig into how you put these 7 core principles into action and develop a life plan, and vision board for 2013 that will actually get you where you want to be by this time next year.

Sophia A. Nelson is an Essence.com contributor, an award winning author, and inspirational/motivational speaker for Fortune 500 corporations, colleges, churches and national organizations. You can join Sophia’s power-up daily chats via audio & Twitter under the hashtag #ReadySetRedefine2013