Art, Dreams, Life

Why Wait Until January 1 to Make Your Course Correction? article by Lesley Riley (with permission)

Three Quick Questions

Lesley Riley writes about Artist Success (and I think her thoughts here can apply to all of us) and presents her thoughts on the time honored ritual of New Year’s Resolutions. More about Lesley (one of my heroes) at the end of the article.

Life is one long continuum. We need markers in order to assess our progress. January 1st is one of those markers. I’m somewhat of a rebel. I don’t like to do what everyone else is doing. That means I don’t want to talk about new year’s resolutions, setting goals for 2012 or how to make this your best year yet. I have already received way too many emails along those lines. How about you? It did get me to wondering though, why there is so much focus on new starts and fresh beginnings at the beginning of a new year? January 1st is the universally agreed upon time, a convenient reminder for us to pause and assess. Rather than focus on new beginnings (which, let’s face it, are very hard and doomed to failure), let’s consider this a time for course correction. The first question you should be asking yourself right now is, “Am I headed in the right direction?” Whether you admit it or not, there is something you want to be doing with your life that you are not doing…yet. The dream may be so far off or seem so out of reach that you’ve been going about it in a roundabout way, if at all. Or, if you are at all like me, you have more than enough ideas to last 10 lifetimes and you just can’t figure out which one to take action on. You are creating a tight zigzag stitch of your life, back and forth, side to side, with very little forward movement.

The second question you need to ask is, “Which ideas, which dreams, hold the most meaning for me?” Pick three. And make one of them a stretch, something you consider to be out of reach. Be sure that the ones you choose make your heart go pitty-pat, either from excitement and desire or fear. Fear is a good thing. It’s a sign that you want something that scares you. If you are not thinking outside of your comfort zone, you are not living up to your potential.

Question #3 is, “Did I act on those dreams?” Did you take actions that would move you forward and closer to the realization of your ideas and dreams or did you zigzag through the year and divide your time among too many things? Chances are you did both. It’s exactly the steady course most of us take through life. And it’s exactly the reason why so many of us die with our dreams still inside.

To paraphrase Wayne Dyer:

…Don’t die with your music still inside you. Listen to your intuitive inner voice and find what passion stirs your soul. ..

It’s time for a course correction. January 1st is a few days away. You still have time to make a course correction in 2011. Rather than wait until that official, agreed upon day, do it now. Waiting like everyone else for January 1st is just another excuse. It’s procrastination. It’s telling yourself that a date is more important than your dream. Find out where and how have you veered off following your intuition, your passion – and decide what you can do right now, TODAY, to get back on track.

The hidden bonus is that you don’t start the new year off commiserating over all of the things that you want to change or start or commit to. You won’t focus on what’s missing in your life because you have already done something about it. You have a head start on everyone else! I know you will feel really good on January 1st because you took positive action now. Promise me you will continue to take action and make the necessary course corrections for the next 365 days.

Do that and I guarantee that 2012 will be your best year yet!

Happy New Year!

Lesley Riley, The Artist Success Expert, is the creative founder of Artist Success, Solutions for the Struggling Artist. To receive her bi-weekly articles on creating your own success as an artist, visit ;

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