January can mark a whole lot of amazing things; new perspectives, a fresh start, a set of new goals and commitments, opportunity, hope, energy. The biggest goals all seem to be possible. You have a whole year ahead of you to make things happen. You are (hopefully) refreshed from a bit of a break. “This is the year” you say to yourself. The year to get it done, be on your best form and be ultimately, proud at the end of it.
With all of this excitement buzzing around, the beginning of the year can, however, also mark a time of confusion and overwhelm with the simple possibility of accomplishing these landmark goals. The subtle pressure you have unknowingly put on yourself starts to creep in. Ideas are buzzing around your head and you are so energized by what’s possible that actually getting it all straight in your mind feels challenging; where do you start? What IS the biggest priority? Do you have the skills, the resources, the people, the time to make it all happen? And, to make it happen the way you envisaged?
I certainly have this type of excitement at the beginning of the year. I buy a new planner, get my life sorted, set some big goals and then as we creep into February I am already starting to wonder if this will all be possible. Suddenly, life, has got in the way. When I finally find a quiet few hours, take a deep breath or 7, pull out some blank paper and I start on the following process:
- Make time to plan. If you want to make things possible you have to plan and to plan you need quiet, focused thinking time. Find a spot you love, perhaps it feels inspiring. A local coffee shop perhaps or a garden or even a nice room in your house if you have one that you love (and can get some peace in).
- I harp on about context all the time – because it works. Know what your context (single decision-making word / focus point) is and base your decisions for the year around that. Or, at least for the time period in which it serves you. Can you really start that second business when your context is ‘calm’? Should you be inviting guests over all the time when your context is ‘family’? What about ignoring any planning time when your context is ‘structure’? Make sure you are using it to determine your decisions.
- Look long-term, then come back to today. What is it you want to be able to say at the end of the year? Perhaps you even know in 2 – 4 years what you might want to be proud of. Start there. Then, work backwards and breakdown what needs to be done into bite-sized chunks so that you can feel really good when you accomplish is piece of the puzzle. It’s important to stay flexible too. Things change, including your perspective. Be bold and readjust your position when things shift around you.
- Build a timeline based on energy. Take those bite-sized goals and start placing them in a large calendar that allows you to see the whole year on one page. Be honest and add all your key personal dates too – holidays, birthdays, visitors etc.
This way you can look at the year from an energy-perspective. Does it look comfortable? Can you see times that might leave you feeling burnt-out? What can you do to make this more workable and energizing for you and your loved ones.
Remember, you can accomplish amazing things. Make it real for yourself by taking the time to plan.
If you’d like to find out more, join the conversation in our next open workshop.