Posted January 7, 2019 by Mark Perna
It’s January, and we’ve all made (or at least thought about making) New Year’s resolutions. There are always things we want to change, things that we could do better—whether they be in our personal or professional lives. I don’t want to give you another New Year’s resolution to take on, but rather a way to approach the goals you’ve already set for 2019. That mindset is simply this: be proactive.
Scores of books have been written on the benefits of proactive behavior. I won’t reiterate the information they provide, but to simply offer a bite-size summary of what the word means and how it can make keeping those New Year’s resolutions a bit easier.
So what exactly does “proactive” mean? One definition states that it means “serving to prepare for, intervene in, or control an expected occurrence or situation, especially a negative or difficult one; anticipatory.” It’s thinking and planning ahead to alleviate the damaging effects of future challenges. And everyone can do it.
When your branch is creaked, when you’re out on a limb and you hear the ominous crack that signals an imminent problem, you don’t sit and wait for a positive outcome to just happen on its own (most likely it won’t). No, you proactively focus, plan, and take action to solve that challenge as quickly as possible.
I didn’t always do this well. 20+ years ago, my approach to life was fairly passive…and this contributed to countless major challenges I had to overcome. Today I strive to be proactive in every area of my life—looking ahead to anticipate any problem spots and preparing ahead of time to counter them. Obviously not everything can be planned for, but I’ve found that even the impact of life’s most unexpected curveballs can be lessened by proactive planning wherever possible.
Being proactive is a habit that is built with time and commitment. For me, being an active participant in life every day was a choice I had to make each day—and still is. Long-established routine has made that daily decision easier with time, and proactivity has become almost second nature now.
So be proactive. Think (and act) now for the bumps you can see down the road. Don’t wait for good things to happen; make them happen. This is not about making another resolution; it’s just bringing a proactive approach to the resolutions you’ve already made. Plan ahead to make 2019 your year of positive change—and experience the power of the proactive life.