Taking time in the last few weeks of the year to assess (and celebrate!) the present year and set a direction for the coming year can help you get 2016 off to the best possible start.
Now is the time to lay the foundation for a great 2016
My process for laying that foundation involves 2 phases: a look back, and a look forward. These phases can be completed in a couple of sessions, with time to think in between. So grab a notebook, your calendar, your to-do lists, and a cup of your favorite beverage, and get started.
Look back — Observation of 2015
- Think about how the past year has gone.
- What worked for you? What habits, routines, or rituals served you well and made your life better?
- What didn’t work for you? What habits, routines, or rituals didn’t work or didn’t seem to help you create a life that matters to you?
- This is not a time for judgment; this is time to objectively look over how things have gone compared to where you want to end up.
- Have you changed?
- Are you different at the end of this year vs. last year?
- Have you changed for the better?
- Look through your journal or calendar to help jog your memory, if you need to.
- What were your goals for this year? How did achieving, or working toward, these goals help you create the life you want for yourself and your family?
- Review your word or words for the year and evaluate how you applied them.
- My words for 2015 were Connect, Build, Simplify (for more on these, please listen to Focus on Building the Life You Want — TPW 031)
- If you chose a word or words for 2015, how were those words reflected across the spectrum of your life in this past year?
- What were the milestones of 2015? What significant achievements did you reach professionally, in your family, life and personally?
- What were the challenges? What lessons did you learn from those?
- Acknowledge the impact you have on the world and the impact the world has on us.
Be sure to give yourself credit for the effort you made.”
Look forward — Setting goals for 2016
Now that you've given some thought to the year just past, you're ready to begin building that solid foundation and creating a framework for the coming year.
- Think about what you want the coming year to look like and what you want to accomplish.
- Where do you want to be this time next year?
- Suggestion: Get a full-year calendar to hang on the wall or somewhere so you can see the whole year at once. (I use The Now Year calendar designed by Mike Vardy.)
- Start by penciling in events you already know about:
- Professional events
- Personal events
- Family events
- Assign colors to different categories of events, if you choose.
- After penciling in the events, you can assess which months are busier than others, which can help you plan for the year.
- Start by penciling in events you already know about:
- Choose your “word (or words) of the year” to give focus to the coming year.
- Check out episode 31 for more information on choosing your words.
- Having words for the year can help give yourself a theme to focus on.
- As I'm considering what my “theme” words will be, I keep a note in Evernote to which I add words as they occur to me over the course of a couple of weeks, then group them, ponder them, narrow the list to those that seem most relevant to me right now.
- Choose words that resonate with you at this stage in your life and words that speak to your soul.
- These words don’t have to mean anything to anyone else except you.
- Keep those words somewhere visible where you can review them regularly.
- Look at your long-term objectives based on guiding principles for each of the roles we play — wife, mom, professional, friend.
- These don’t necessarily have to be concrete goals, but an idea of what you want your life to look like.
- Spend the time to map out goals for the year.
- What do you need to do?
- Where do you want to be with respect to each objective by the end of the year?
- Break each objective down into quarterly or monthly smaller goals.
- What steps can you take tomorrow to reach your first monthly or quarterly goal? What steps can you take today or right now?
- There’s no reason you have to wait until January 1 to start working toward your goals — let’s do it right now!
- Start building that momentum toward two or three goals.
- Once you’ve developed the habits needed to achieve you goals, take time to evaluate your progress at the end of the month or quarter.
- Break each step down from the long-term, then the median, then the smaller steps, then right now to help you plan.
- What from 2015 will you continue into the new year?
- What habits, routines and rituals will you continue?
- What isn’t working for you anymore?
- What do you need to tweak?
- It’s better to word goals in a positive way instead of a negative.
- Commit to adding a positive habit to replace a negative one. Instead of focusing on what you’re not going to do, focus on what you are going to do.
- Think about your stage of life when planning. Don’t pile too much onto yourself in a time of life when you have a lot going on.
Our life isn’t static; we change all the time.”
Keep in mind
- Planning for the new year is not about doing a complete overhaul of your life, but about putting systems in place and taking small steps toward what you want in life.
- Your life does not have to look like anyone else’s, no matter how awesome their life looks.
- You get to choose the life that means something to you and the people you love. Look in your heart, talk with your family, and work toward the life you want.
- Goals and plans are good, but don’t forget to appreciate the journey. Don’t miss the now by focusing so much on the end-goal.
- Don’t be so hard on yourself. There will be unintentional failures, and it would be really easy to focus on the fact that the end of the year doesn’t look like what you wanted it to.
- Learn from your failures, but don’t forget to give yourself credit for what you did achieve and celebrate those victories.
Give yourself credit for the things you did do instead of beating yourself up for the things you haven’t done yet.”
A little time and thought today can lay a solid foundation for a productive and fulfilling new year.
What do you think?
Have you started thinking about your goals and plans for the coming year? What are you celebrating? How will you close out the year? Please feel free to ask your questions or share your thoughts by commenting below or on the Facebook page or sending an email to me.
This will be last new episode of The Productive Woman for 2015. I'll be spending the last couple weeks of this year both focusing on my family and following the process I've talked about here to plan for the show in 2016. Do you have suggestions for what you’d like to hear and see from The Productive Woman in the new year? Please write to me and let me know how I can make this show even better and more useful to you. In the meantime, I hope your holidays are filled with great joy!Click here to discover my favorite apps!
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