This is my last Leading Thoughts for 2017 and I want to talk to you a bit about your perspective on 2018.

In the coming weeks, you will likely be thinking over the new year, dreaming a bit and setting goals. I believe this is an immensely important process, not during the holidays or at the start of a new year, but constantly. Envision the future. Plan. Set goals. Determine objectives. This is what great leaders do and do unceasingly.

As you approach 2018, I want to urge you to set yourself to some specific goals. Here are my suggestions.

1. Whether you are a male or female, it is important for you to plan to break barriers. I’m referring to specific, practical, measurable barriers. I believe, for example, that everyone reading this should set an athletic goal that is beyond what they’ve accomplished before. I’ve set myself to hike 50 miles in one day. This will take some training and addressing a “click” in my left knee before I can accomplish it. I’m going to do it, though. One of the reasons I’m so determined is that immense resources of mind and body are awakened when we decide to achieve breakthroughs. These resources would be unsummoned if we didn’t challenge them, if we didn’t place a demand on them. So, what are the barriers you are going to break this next year? Determine to destroy your previous bests and then make breaking such barriers a lifestyle.

2. Set yourself to gain perspective on your life. I’ve written often here in Leading Thoughts about how most leaders live at such a rapid pace and so close to their work that they rarely gain the perspective required to work wisely and fashion a path to greater success. You may remember that I’ve written about a leader who sits on the roof of his company building for an hour a week, thinking over the whole of his firm and his own life as part of it. I’ve also written about a leader in Texas who walks the circumference of his corporate property nearly every day and uses that time to look at all the company does from a mental distance. He’s a better leader for it. How can you build that time in? How can you gain the perspective you need in 2018?

3. Commit to a leadership diet. There are books, podcasts, YouTube videos, and conferences you need to be your best in this coming year. Make a list. Feed well. Lead powerfully as a result. Don’t choke out the spiritually and intellectually rich leadership nutrients you need to be your best.

4. Finally, decide to invest in relationships. How is your marriage? Your relationship with your children? Do you have friends who know your life without having to hear your narration first, who live close enough to you to know what is wrong without having to ask? Who is in your band of rowdies and do you connect with them often enough? Hear this; Your relationships will determine your success as a leader more than nearly any other facet of your life. Take stock. Invest well. Harvest richly.

That’s it. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you. And may 2018 be your best year yet!