Are you ready to achieve what really matters in 2016?
I love this time of year. The busyness of Christmas is over, the guests have gone home, we are still on winter break and snow often drifts down from the sky. Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas, but I also love the weeks that follow. I especially like this time because it is a time of reflection and goal setting. I get excited about what the new year will bring and I want to do what I can to achieve what matters and make it my best year yet.
How about you? Are you looking forward to, or dreading, this upcoming year? My hope and prayer for you is that you are getting excited as you look ahead to what 2016 holds in store for you.
I would love to share with you my 4 best strategies for achieving what matters in this brand new year.
- Reflection. At this time of December, I like to reflect on the year that is about to close. I take some time to think about and write down activities that fall into these three categories: a) What worked well; b) What didn’t that needs to be done differently or not at all; and c) What new things would I like to try. This process can be done for personal, family and/or business activities. Writing it down brings clarity. I also post my list next to my desk for regular review, so I don’t forget to pursue the things that worked the year before and so that I don’t go down a path that I decided wasn’t worth my time.
- Gratitude. I aim to be thankful all year long, but I certainly step up my gratitude from Thanksgiving through the Christmas season. I have so much to be thankful for! I spend time every morning reflecting on what went well the day before, what I can do to make today a great day and reflecting on three things I am thankful for. The best way I know to have a positive attitude is to spend time dwelling on the things I am thankful for.
- Forgiveness. A new year is a blank slate, but only as long as you aren’t dragging in last year’s baggage. I try to leave last year’s problems behind by considering what junk I am carrying around and forgive those who have injured me, whether intentional or not. As Anne Shirley once said, “Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it.” Amen. Let’s move into 2016 leaving last year’s junk behind us.
- Goal setting. I’m not much into New Year’s resolutions because most of them fail, that’s why I begin my goal setting process in November. 🙂 But seriously, I do have a system for goal setting that sets me up to actually achieve them most of the time. There are 4 parts to this process: a) identify my goals for the upcoming year (or even just the first quarter); b) write them down along with due dates and my key motivations for wanting to accomplish them; c) break the goals down into manageable chunks by identifying the next step; and d) review them daily (or weekly at the least).
Here are a couple examples, so that you can see my goal setting process. My biggest goal for 2016 is to publish the next book in the Child’s Geography series: Explore Medieval Kingdoms. I want to have everything sent off to the printer and CD replicator by March 31st. So, I write that down on a sheet of paper along with the due date and the key motivations that I have for wanting to do this. Because someone once said, “People lose their way when they lose their why.” I don’t want to lose my way, so I keep my “why” in front of me at all times.
Then I look at that huge task and I identify my next steps. For me, the next step is to finish reviewing and rewriting my first draft. After that, I will send it off to my editor. For now, that is all I need to think about. As I get these items checked off, I can think about my next steps. I put due dates on my chunked down next steps, so that I don’t take too long to get these done in order to meet my larger goal later in the year.
Finally, I review my goal daily (along with next steps). I do this by keeping a file in Evernote that I can refer to every day as I move through this process.
Here is another example. I need to lose 20lb by March 31. I wrote this down along with my key motivations for losing this weight, such as: a) I will feel better about myself / more confident; b) my clothes will be more comfortable; c) I will be 2/3 of the way to my ultimate weight goal; etc. I have broken this goal down so that I can focus on just 5lb per month. That’s doable and more inline with long-term weight loss rather than a fast weight drop that isn’t as sustainable. (By the way, I started this process at the beginning of December and am on track to lose the first 5lb this month, so I hope I achieve this next step!)
Some of the best inspiration for me in setting goals has come from Michael Hyatt, the creator of the 5 Days to Your Best Year Ever course. You can check it out here.
I hope that you are looking forward to this upcoming year. I know that I am!
Let’s go make a difference in 2016!
Question: What is your most important goal to achieve in this year and what are you doing to keep that at the forefront of your mind?