Key principles to help you win in 2010

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Robert Ellis
  • 39 Air Base Wing, command chief
Like many of you, I enjoyed the college football bowl games that occurred over the past week. Each team that competed had winning seasons, and you can believe that none of them became successful by accident. The coaches and staff of these teams did more than hope for success; as a wise man once told me, "hope is not a plan." These leaders spent hours drawing up game plans, strategies and plays to ensure victory well before their players stepped on the field. Likewise it's imperative for each of us to draw up our game plans and strategies to ensure our success. Here are a few key principles to help ensure your success in 2010.

Write your vision and make it plain. When you write down your goals, objectives and strategies and prominently display them, it keeps them fresh and in focus. The things that get our attention are typically the things we get done. So as you resolve to accomplish your goals this year, keep them in clear focus to ensure you don't fall off the wagon as many do who establish resolutions for the new year. Statistics show that only 20 percent of those who make New Year's resolutions maintain their commitment beyond Valentine's Day! If you want to be successful, stay away from fad diets and unrealistic workout routines that promise to give you a beach body in six weeks; trust me, it won't happen. Set realistic, obtainable and measurable goals.

Make fitness and nutrition a lifestyle change. Every year in January I see hoards of people piling into the fitness center and running around the base. No matter where I'm stationed this phenomenon continues, just like Groundhog Day or a bad movie. I joke about it because for years I did the same thing; I rode the fitness-nutrition rollercoaster. Every year I resolved to improve my fitness, my eating habits and my overall health. However, every year (some more successful than others) I fell off the wagon after a period of time. It wasn't until I came to the realization that the primary reason I needed to be fit was for my own quality of life, not just readiness. From that day on I stopped working out for the Air Force and focused on it for myself. I gave up the fad diets and miracle work-outs and came up with realistic/effective eating and work-out habits. We've got a great staff at the Health and Wellness Center that can help you do the same. While you're getting fit and improving nutrition, don't neglect your spiritual fitness either. A sound spiritual diet helps you through times of stress, hardship and tragedy. Our chaplains have great programs to assist you in this area.

Passionately pursue education and professional development. These are invaluable to our growth, development and leadership. These are not "nice to haves" and they are not things that only "good Airmen" do. If you are an Airman today you are expected to be your absolute best and that absolute best goes well beyond just your Air Force specialty. We need multi-dimensional Airmen who are specifically and intentionally developed to assume leadership roles today and beyond. Education and professional development provide you with the tools you need to be effective. Leaders never arrive, we are always in the learning/growing mode. If you haven't completed your Professional Military Education or degree(s) yet, get focused, get serious and get it done in 2010.

Quality family time must be a priority. This year we celebrate the "Year of the Air Force Family." It's a time to put priorities in order and recognize those who love, support and cover us. This year put your family on the pedestal they deserve, because they've earned it and all they ask for in return is appreciation. The mighty Air Force that we are today is a result of you, likewise you are the Airmen you are because of your family, so in 2010 let's commit to making family a priority and setting aside good quality time for them.

I believe this can be your best year ever! You can win your own personal Bowl Championship Series, but you can't just hope for it, you have to plan and then execute your plan. Thanks for all you do for our Air Force family and our nation; I wish you nothing but success in 2010 as you stay fit, focused and fighting for what's right, "Roll Tide!"