It’s the end of the first week of the year and I am sitting in a café looking at my plan for the year. Now, I have seen a number of articles about new year’s resolutions the last several weeks, and while my plan isn’t exactly a set of resolutions, it was created to help me in 2017. With this in mind, I wanted to share my current philosophy and strategies for creating a great year for one’s self.
First, this is a game plan. I enjoy watching football, and the way coaches work is that they have a plan before the start of a game that gives the overall strategy based on known factors—what their team’s strengths are, what their opponent’s strengths are, each team’s tendencies, and what to do in certain situations. But games, like life, unfold in unplanned ways and the game plan gets modified and updated. But the goal is still the same: to win!
Second, the shift is from resolutions to outcomes. Resolutions are about what we do or won’t do. Goals are about outcomes. The beautiful thing about this shift is that it opens us to innovation to achieve the goal. Instead of saying “This is what I have to do,” we can now say, “I want to reach this goal. What are the ways I can get there?” And resolutions sound austere, don’t they? It’s like going through Lent all year long! Goals are about getting to a better place. And that leads to my next point…
My goal is simply to lead a richer life. Professionally I want to help more people in bigger ways. To have a greater impact on the world. Graham Cooke says it’s about leaving a bigger footprint behind. I’ve got one life to live, with a limited number of hours in a day to make an impact. How can I make a difference. And that the same time, I’m a human with physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. Personally I want to continue having deeper relationships, spend more time with family. I want to ride my bicycle more. I want to see more of this world and its amazing people. I want to reach personal goals. New Year’s resolutions talk about disciplines, not richer lives. I’d rather focus on the latter… wouldn’t you?
So how do I get a game plan that lets me reach my richer life? Here are my steps:
First, I state my ideal life in writing, typically in broad categories. Craig Ballantyne, author of The Perfect Day Formula, breaks it down into health, wealth, social, and personal development. I also added my ideal business life to this. Part of my ideal life includes authoring a book, so I included that on my list.
Next, I write where I am in relation to this ideal life. Right now my book goal has a note that says that I completed the list of topics to cover and a rough outline for half the book. So now I have two lists: ideal life, and current life. I personally like to put them on paper so that the ideal life is on the right side and the current life is on the left. That lets me see where I am and where I want to go.
The next step is important: I brainstorm the action steps. How am I going to get from where I am to where I want to be? What makes this step so great is that we have so many options to get there. After I list them, and then I figure out what I am likely to do. It doesn’t do me any good if I won’t do it! I’d love to extend my impact beyond New York City, but I don’t think I’m at the point of opening branch offices in other cities yet. I’d have get lawyers involved, deal with multi-state tax issues, and then build a team… none of which I want to deal with at the moment. But I can write the book, I can start to do webinars, I can even formalize and build the coaching side of my business. Those are action steps I know I can and will take action on.
With my action steps, I now know what I’m going to do throughout the year. Some of these action steps are new habits that I am going to adopt—and I make a list of those that I look at daily to make sure that I am actually doing them. Other steps are projects that I’ll do during my early morning magic time, and for those I’ll do one at a time, doing the ones that I can do quickly and will have high impact first. And sometimes I need to do a project that has both! Writing a book is a project—creating the outline, hiring an editor, getting a graphic designer for the cover art and doing research are all one-time efforts. But writing means developing the new habit of getting in front of the keyboard and typing away.
So that is my current productivity hack… where am I going, where am I, what can I do to get there quickly, and take action. And you? Where would you like to be a year from now? What is missing? What could be better? What needs to change? What will give you life? Go get them!
Wishing you a fabulous 2017!