6 Steps to Creating Your Best Year Yet
Are you ready to experience your best year yet? It isn’t enough to just wish and hope you have a great year. You have to actually create it! Your year can be as amazing as you want it to be. No, it won’t be without obstacles, challenges, difficulties or disappointment; but even with that, it can still be amazing. No more wishing and hoping that “things will get better” or that “things will just fall into place. The only way to create an incredible year is to know what you want, plan for it and take action!! Whether you’ve had a really difficult year and you’re ready to start fresh; or you’ve had a pretty good year, but you’re ready to make things even better…these 6 steps will help you to up-level your life this year!
1. Year End Review
To know where you want to go, you first have you evaluate where you have been. First, take a close look at this past year, and review how you did in each area of your life…your health, relationships, finances, career, personal growth, recreation/play, and service. Ask yourself the following questions, and write the answers down in a journal or on a piece of paper:
- What did you love about yourself and your life this year? What did you not love?
- What would you change in each area of your life?
- What do you need to let go of to make room for new dreams, goals or plans?
- Are you currently staying inside your comfort zone?
- What value do you want to put out into the world this year? What kind of impact do you want to have on your own life or in the lives of others?
- What kind of person do you need to be to make that happen?
- What kind of thoughts do I need to have to make that happen?
- How do you want to feel in 2018?
- Are you willing to REALLY commit to be that person who can accomplish your goals?
- What does your future self look like?
2. Think Big
“If we did the things we were capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves” -Thomas Edison
In order to have your best year yet, you have to first consider what you want your life to look like in 5 years. Do you want to go back to school? Maybe you want to change career paths. Have you always wanted to start your own business? Or maybe you want to pay off debt and improve your finances. Perhaps you want to get healthy or save for that dream vacation you’ve always wanted to take. Take 15-20 minutes to sit down and write out your vision for your life.
Now that you have a vision of what you want in your life to look like, pick a BIG one-year goal. This should be something that you want to accomplish this coming year, or something that is a stepping stone to reach your 5 year vision. You want this goal to be big enough that it stretches you outside of your comfort zone, but not so far out of reach that it is delusional. Once you’ve decided on your goal for the year, WRITE. IT. DOWN. No, seriously. There is something about writing your goal down that makes it come to life. Put it where you will see if often, and read it every day. You can even create a vision board if you really want to get creative and have a little fun.
3. Find Your Why
Next, determine what your “why” is by asking yourself at least 7 times WHY you want to do this. You want to peel back the layers and get to the bottom of why this is really important to you. Without determining why you want to achieve something, you will lose your drive and determination when things start to get tough. I can guarantee that things WILL get hard. The key is to prepare for the hard by knowing why you want it — this will keep you focused on your desired outcome when the going gets tough. Also, when your why is big enough, you will find your how!
“When the why is clear, the how is easy.”
4. Create a Plan
Now it’s time to create the plan that is going to get you to where you want to be this year. If your brain has a story on replay that goes something like “I’m not good at planning,” don’t panic! Your plan is what will make your seemingly huge goal seem more realistic and achievable. Now that you have your one-year goal written down, you will want to break it down into bite sized pieces for each quarter. This will make it feel much more doable. Here’s an example of how you would break down each quarter (90 days) into phases. Let’s say you’ve been dabbling in event and wedding planning, and now you want to get serious about it and make it a profitable business. Your goal for this year is to book a minimum of 10 bookings and generate $70,000 in revenue. In this case, your overall plan might look something like this:
Phase 1- Establish business relationships with vendors and key players in various industries
Phase 2- Complete creation of brochures, package pricing and proposals
Phase 3- Create website
Phase 4- Complete two styled photo shoots (one for weddings and one for events), and launch website
Phase 5- Start email and social media campaigns
Phase 6- Invest in professional development by taking some courses to improve your skills
Phase 7- Attend at least one wedding show and one event show
Phase 8- Start an online store on your website for rentals
Now that you have a plan for each quarter, you want to take each phase in 1st quarter and identify a goal for each week. Then, determine the tactics you will need to complete in order to achieve each weekly goal. Tactics are just daily to-do’s that will get you to your weekly goal. Some questions to ask yourself may be:
- What can you do to gain clarity to ensure your vision is crystal clear?
- Do your quarter goals require a financial investment?
- How will you market yourself and build your audience?
- Do you need to hire help?
- Do you need additional training or knowledge?
- What will you need to do in order to establish business relationships with vendors?
“Vision without action is just a dream”
Once you have your list of tactics or action items, you need to create a WEEKLY plan based on your weekly goals. I like to do this on Sunday evenings or Monday mornings. This plan will list the critical strategic activities that MUST be done to achieve your goals. Each week, you will review the previous week in order to plan out your upcoming week. Be sure to take 5 minutes at the beginning of each day to review your weekly plan and plan your activities for that day. This is extremely important!
5. Implement Your Plan
Creating a plan is a great step, but you’re not going to accomplish your goals unless you implement your plan by taking action! You won’t get to your goal unless you do what you said you would do. To do this, you will need a calendar. Get yourself a planner or use the calendar on your phone. I actually use both Google Calendar (because I like being able to set alerts to remind me) and the Living Well Planner. Any calendar or planner will do. Those are just the ones I personally prefer.
You’ll want to put any appointments, meetings, child obligations, etc. on your calendar first. These are things that are set in stone and can’t really be moved. Next, put any deadlines that you have to meet on your calendar-either personal or work-related. Now, schedule your tactics you listed into your calendar. So, maybe one of your tactics is to schedule a meeting with local bakeries. Write it into your calendar like an appointment…”Call Stacy’s Bakery & Landry’s Wedding Delights to set up meeting.” Schedule in each one of your tactics for that week.
“If you want to know what your future holds, look at your actions!”
Be sure to check-in with your calendar weekly to reflect and revise as needed. It should take no longer than 5-10 minutes, and should be treated like an appointment by scheduling this check-in time on your calendar. I like to schedule mine on either Sunday evenings so that I know what I have coming up for the week and can make any tweaks necessary.
Now that you have everything planned, and you’re choosing to do the things you NEED to do to reach your goals, you want to evaluate yourself weekly. Look at the percentage of tactics that you completed or executed. Authors of The 12 Week Year suggest that you need to complete at least 85% of the activities on your plan in order to achieve your goals.
“The barrier standing between you and the life you are capable of living is a lack of consistent execution.” – 12 Week Year
6. Get in the Right Mindset
Our actions, how we show up in the world, are driven by how we feel; and how we feel is completely based on the thoughts in our brain. This is great news! This means that if we can rewire our brains to think more useful thoughts, then we will be more likely to take the action that will lead us to the results we are looking for! Think about what you would need to believe in order for you to feel determined, driven and committed. Maybe it’s thoughts like, “I can do this. I don’t know how I’m going to do this yet, but I’m figuring it out.” You have to believe that you will accomplish your goal! One way to do that is to write yourself a letter as if you have already achieved it…as if you are already that woman. Write out what you have achieved, how far you have come, what kind of person you are and what things you are thankful for. Keep the letter where you can see it and read it daily to envision your achievement as if it’s already happened.
It’s been a good year for me, but 2018 is definitely going to be my best year yet! I have some big goals this year and some things that will definitely be pushing me to go beyond what I could ever have imagined for myself. The most exciting thing about it all is that I’ll have the opportunity to create and contribute an incredible amount value in the world….and that makes my heart happy.
So, now that you know the steps, what are you going to create for yourself this year?