Mike Hodges spent most of his career in the health insurance industry before starting his own business consulting and personal development company. You can contact him at [email protected]

When you look at what you’ve done, and what lessons you’ve learned along the way, you take big steps toward improving yourself and your business. Here’s five things I learned in 2018, and publicly commit to improving in 2019:


MEASURE IT


There’s an annoying tendency in the modern world for life to get in the way. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with details, minutiae, problems, and craziness. I’ve found when that happens, I’m tempted to stop doing things I need to do so I can deal with everything swirling around me.


Then when I review my results, I find I’m WAY too inconsistent.


If it matters, measure it. I don’t care what it is. Want to drink more water? Exercise? Make a certain number of sales calls? Finish those training courses? Take advantage of the amazing technology available to us and MEASURE IT!


Don’t cheat. Be honest with yourself. Record, then review. In 2019, I’m going with weekly, monthly, and quarterly reviews, regardless of how ugly things may get.


Measure it if you want consistent results.


PUT SYSTEMS IN PLACE


I realized during 2018 if I want consistently excellent results, I needed better systems in place.


The fact is, most people are overwhelmed with everything that needs to be done. It’s easy to get overwhelmed. To forget things. To deal with shifting priorities.


I have found some AMAZING software that helps manage my days, my projects, my tasks…everything. I intend to use it MUCH more in 2019.


I’ve resisted doing this, because I value freedom and flexibility.


However, 2018 taught me that developing strong systems and consistently following them allows me to get more accomplished and be more consistent. Ironically, this leads to MORE freedom and flexibility.


FOCUS:


This is a big one for me. I have a creative expressive personality, I’m a bit on the ADHD side, and LOVE to chase those bright shiny objects.


2018 taught me I can accomplish quite a bit when I sit down, buckle up, focus, and get stuff done.


A lot of this is personal. It stings a bit to admit it, but I have allowed too many “harmless” indulgences to creep into my world. Harmless social media surfing. Harmless sports watching…Netflix binging…entertaining big ideas that are mainly “pie in the sky” stuff.


The thing is, they’re NOT harmless when they keep you from getting the stuff done you need to get done.


Two phrases that will rock my world in 2019: “I appreciate it, but no thank you” and “I’ve got to get this done before I move onto something else”


TAKING ACTION…EVEN IMPERFECT ACTION


This has been a tough one for me, but I got much better in 2018 and plan on carrying it over in 2019.


Planning is good. Organizing is important. Studying and training and putting in the work before you leap are all good things. But at some point, you must pull the trigger and spend the money, or the time, or take the risk.


There’s no substitute for action. You start getting immediate, real results, rather than imaginary ones. Even if you fail, you can learn why and not make the same mistake again.


In 2019, I’ll plan and prepare as best I can, then take action. If you see me fail or fall flat on my face, it’s because it was imperfect action. No worries…I’ll figure it out, fix it, and make sure it doesn’t happen again.


But I’m taking more action.


RISK TAKING


2018 taught me I can handle risks, but I need to take on even more.


I’m not talking about financial risk.


I’m talking about risking failure and embarrassment…about not being good enough.


There’s an old saying in the world of sports that explains a certain way of behaving that leads to a LOT of problems: “Not playing to win, but playing not to lose”.


Screw that.


2018 taught me that when I won, it’s because I challenged myself…I took a risk and pushed myself. ’ll be doing a lot more of that in 2019.


What did 2018 teach you?