People in politics love to make promises.  Campaigns and candidates go thorugh laundry lists during election season, promising, resolving, deciding and committing to fix roads, reduce crime, lower taxes and balance the budget.  Sometimes these promises get kept, sometimes they don’t… but they’ve always been around, and likely always will.

Today, we present a twist on those promises.  Today, we present a list of the top 5 promises to make to yourself.  Think of these like new years resolutions, without the new year…

1.  Run for Office

If you’ve been waiting for “just the right time” before you run for office, or if you’ve been planning to run, but haven’t thrown your hat in the ring yet, now is the time to do it!  There’s no better time than the present to dust off that campaign plan and announce your candidacy.  Win or lose, you’ve taken an important step toward achieving your goal of holding elected office.

2.  Never Let the Campaign Die

Whether you’re an elected official, a candidate, a party leader or someone who dreams of running for office, you need to make sure the campaign never dies.  In today’s political environment, elected officials need to go door to door to prepare for their next election, losing candidates need to get back on their feet and get back to civic and community meetings, and party leaders need to start registering voters and raising funds the day after Election Day.  The campaign never ends, so get back in the saddle. 

3.  Write a Book or Pamphlet

One of the best ways elected officials and candidates alike can gain credibility is by writing a book or pamphlet on some issue or issues of concern to their constituents.  Your book can be self-published (just make sure it is done by a professional printer), so you needn’t try to convince a traditional publisher to print your work.  You won’t make a lot of money from your book (in fact, we suggest you give away as many as possible for free) but you will gain lots of exposure, increase your name recognition, and add weight to your reputation as a policy expert.  For a great guide to self-publishing, we recommend The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing by Tom and Marilyn Ross.

4.  Dial for Dollars

It’s no secret that many candidates and party leaders dislike making fundraising calls.  In fact, many of them (you know who you are) are particularly happy when Election Day passes because they think it means that they get a year (or two) off before they have to start working the phones again.

The truth is, the best way to cultivate donors, increase your fundraising ability, and build your campaign warchest is to get back on the phones — right away.  My working the phones all year long, you’ll keep in better touch with your donors and get a leg up on your opponents, who most likely won’t start fundraising until closer to Election Day.

5.  Focus on Your Top 20%

It’s cliche, but true… 20% of your activities bring 80% of your results, whether those results are dollars (fundraising) or votes (grassroots activities).  In trying to accomplish everything on our to-do lists, we all feel the urge to give equal time and attention to all of our political activities.  Today, resolve to give extra time and energy to the top 20% of your activities, and you’ll see a huge positive difference in your bottom line.