By Cindy Campbell

While we haven’t yet wrapped up 2017, it’s never too soon to start considering what we will accomplish in the next year. I’ve recently been thinking about my goals for 2018. I created my annual “to do” list, and I have to admit that I’m not at all satisfied with it. Perhaps it’s age mixed with a dash of wisdom, but I know I can dig a little deeper.

As I was browsing through Instagram the other day, I came across the site “mindsetofgreatness.” They offer a number of thought-provoking, inspirational statements, but one really resonated with me:

Three simple rules in life:

1. If you do not go after what you want, you’ll never have it.
2. If you do not ask, the answer will always be no.
3. If you do not step forward, you will always be in the same place.

This statement easily applies to either our personal or professional lives—maybe both. Personally, I’ve decided to apply this concept as I set my professional sights on 2018. Creating a list of goals or tasks to achieve is good; knowing the motivation behind why we set them in the first place is paramount. As I create my goals for the next year, here are the questions I’m asking myself:

  • What brought me to where I am in my career today? Am I on the right path professionally?
  • Have I achieved all that I hoped or planned to date? What obstacles remain—and can I remove them or do I need to work around them?
  • Are next year’s goals all within my professional comfort zone, or am I pushing myself to gain knowledge and develop new abilities?

We all encounter obstacles as we move towards the goal. I choose not to allow myself the option of letting current obstacles derail forward movement. Obstacles may change my path, but they cannot change my end goal.

I encourage you to consider these questions as the new year draws closer. In 2018, challenge yourself to push past the edges of your comfort zone. Go after what you want. Ask the questions. Step forward. Don’t settle. Make 2018 the year you realize your potential.

Cindy Campbell is IPI’s senior training and development specialist.