December. I love this time of year.
Actually I should say that for the first time in a long time I’m loving this time of year. For several years now I’ve found this time of year to be stressful as I managed my workload and my staff so that we were all finished with what needed to be done, or at least well on our way, so that we could all go away and have some well-earned time off.
This year is different. This year I sold my business and started something new, and I am now creating my life around my business, not the other way around. One thing is for sure and that is that I never want to go back to that place of being stressed and placing other’s needs above my own. I don’t regret doing that in the past, the lessons learned on that journey have been immense and my new coaching business is in large part a result of that journey so far.
But I digress. As I was saying, I love this time of year. It’s a time of reflecting back on the year just been and of recognizing the lessons learned but mostly about acknowledging the accomplishments and how far I’ve come.
And it’s a time of possibilities. I have been planning my 2016 and I’m looking toward the coming year with an optimism that I’m sure visibly makes my eyes shine and puts a spring in my step.
I’ve not been partiucularly brilliant at planning in the past to be fair. If I’m really honest with myself I tended to take a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of approach to life until this time last year. It’s amazing how much I have been able to accomplish with that kind of attitude so I’m really excited to see what I can do when I’m a bit more intentional about where I’m devoting my time, energy and resources.
With what I have since learned about planning and put into practice with both myself and my clients, here’s what I consider to be the essential steps and points when it comes to planning for a new year (or a new whatever really):
- Look back on 2015 – absolutely celebrate the wins, and find the lessons in the not-so-great moments.
- Get clarity about the life you want to live in 2016, the people you want to hang out with or work with, the money you want to bring in, the type of work you want to do, your family goals and your personal goals. Sometimes I think this can be hard, because we think we don’t know what we want, or we think that what we really want isn’t achievable. But I find it helps to brainstorm the crap out of it so that you capture everything big and small and then narrow down your focus from there. But not too narrow! Get rid of the “yeah but…” when you’re doing this, don’t be afraid to put down all the big stuff that seems implausible in the moment. It may not be.
- When you’re setting goals it helps to make them SMART goals – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timely.
- Once you know the goals, or where you want to get to, then work backwards and determine what milestones need to be met along the way and how you might be proactive in achieving those. What potential roadblocks might you encounter and how could you move through or around them.
- Take action. Goals are no good if you do them once and then put them in your top drawer never to be looked at again. Set your first actions steps and proceed to knock them off. Review your goals regularly, as often as daily if need be, set new actions as you smash the old ones always with the focus of the end goals in mind and what steps you can take presently towards achieving them.
- I find it helps to have an accountability buddy along the way, a coach, or a Mastermind group. When you know that you need to ‘report in’ to someone periodically you don’t want to show up empty-handed so-to-speak so you tend to make more of an effort.
I am taking the next couple of weeks off. I started cruising into this holiday season over the last week or two actually with reduced work hours. That’s the other reason I love this time of year of course. Two or three weeks of allowing myself the luxury of days with nothing in particular I have to do. I can read late in bed if I choose to, play my guitar and sing (maybe even write a song or two), visit with friends and family, spend lazy days with my kids, and get out and about on the water.
Summer. New Year. Introspection. Endless possibilities. And the feeling that I used to have as a kid when summer holidays went on forever and life was carefree. More of that please!
Have a magical Xmas, New Year, and summer break.