20 Tishrei 5782 / Sunday, September 26, 2021 | Torah Reading: Sukkot
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Five Steps to Elul Success    

Five Steps to Elul Success

Frustrated that you make the same goals every year with little change? Here are simple steps to ensure a favorable judgment for the coming year.


During these last days of the month of Elul, it is critical that we make a concerted effort to prepare for the coming days of judgment. Here is a five-step plan to help you succeed! 



1. Simcha - Happiness 


When we review the goals that we made last year versus the actual results, we may find that there's still much work to be done. Allow yourself to be dissatisfied, but without getting discouraged. It is important to acknowledge where we can continue to improve. However, it's also important to identify and be grateful for the progress we've made. Happiness gives us the strength and encouragement we need to move forward. Sadness will only immobilize and put us in a downward spiral. The most important thing to remember is that our job is to put in the effort to change, which includes praying for God’s assistance no matter how many times we fall. Ultimately, the results are up to Hashem! 



2. Smart Goal Setting  


Set a few major goals to work on during the course of the year. Our Sages say that one who tries to seize too much ends up coming up away with nothing. If we set too many goals our efforts will be dissipated and spread thin. With one goal at a time, we mobilize and focus all our resources in a unified effort – and we succeed! Hashem has patience and knows you cannot change overnight. He is so happy with your efforts and baby steps! Prioritize and have patience with yourself too. 



3. Small and Clearly Achievable Secondary Goals 


Establish a small number of easily achievable yet meaningful secondary goals. While these may seem small, they make a tremendous impression in Heaven and provide great merit. At the same time progress on small goals will give you confidence and momentum. Examples of this would be to select one blessing to say with extra devotion and joy or to resolve to answer amen with greater concentration and enthusiasm.  



4. Self-assessment 


It's absolutely essential to assess ourselves daily. Review everything that's happened in the past 24 hours. Regroup and make plans for the next day. Thank Hashem for any progress you've made during the day. Ask for his forgiveness and patience where you fallen short or sinned. Ask for his help to do better going forward. Our Sages say He will lead you in the way you want to go. Moreover, we are advised that spiritual requests are always answered! 



Without this daily accounting we are prone to drift and risk major regression. It's best to set a specific time each day for this self-assessment. Rabbi Arush says that the minimum time for this spiritual accounting to be powerful enough to erase all your sins and give you the title of someone who is constantly returning to Hashem is only 30 minutes a day! 




5. Sicha - Prayer  


We can't expect to wipe out decades of dysfunctional thinking and behavior without the help of Hashem. Moreover, the Evil Inclination is a mighty angel who won’t be defeated without Heavenly assistance. Without the help of Hashem, we're powerless but with His help we can overcome any obstacle! 



In order to achieve your goals for the year, it is crucially important to be reviewing them, and praying about them, every single day. Whatever happens – just don’t give up! 



In the merit of these five steps, each beginning with the letter s, we will surely attain the big S: S: Success! We will receive a favorable judgment on Rosh Hashanah along with blessings and salvations in the coming year.  



May it be the best one ever for you, for Israel, and the entire world! 

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