I hope you’re having a most Happy New Year and that January has started off with a bang for you. Normally, I hit the ground running, chasing the dreams and strategies I laid out in pre-year planning. However, the start of this year has been entirely different for me.
I’m still shaping what I want out of the year ahead, and I’m asking a lot of questions. The years 2020-21 included a lot of involuntary events, and many of us found ourselves coping with change that was happening to us versus creating change and carving new pathways.
Have you felt like you’ve been in the passenger seat more often than you’ve been in the driver’s seat of your own life these last couple of years? I know I sure have!
I feel like I’m in the car, it’s moving fast, life is passing by outside, but I’ve been too disoriented to navigate or steer. Everything has been happening all at once and coming at me so quickly, I can’t make sense of where we’re at, let alone where we’re going. I’ve felt inundated, overstimulated, and upended by involuntary and natural life changes as we go.
Can you relate?
It’s been dizzying, and what I feel most called to do in the New Year is find my bearings and right this ship toward well-intended destinations! So, I’ve been organizing my goals differently this year, and I thought I’d share the template for my planning with you today.
What Do You Need To Do Differently?
As we are all creatures of habit, this is a great question to start with. Our world is getting noisier every day, and it’s becoming more and more difficult to find a distraction-free zone. What’s worse? Distractions are such an easy choice.
As I got to this section of the content I’m writing (about 50% to completion), I started opening tabs to “check” on other things. I actively invited noise and distraction rather than staying in this window and focusing on deep work.
Hard choices, easy life. Easy choices, hard life.—Jerzy Gregorek
Ask yourself what are the easy choices that are making your life harder each day? For me, it’s surfing social media websites, perusing Amazon, and otherwise wasting time on my laptop instead of investing more into self-care and home life. At work, it’s opening Voxer (or Slack or Teams or text) and chatting about the non-essential while the essential work sits unfinished.
Be a Good Career & Life Planner
Whether you’re self-employed (the boss to yourself) or a corporate professional, a good manager should always ask: Where do you want to go professionally? What excites you, long-term? And, how do we carve a path for you to get there?
These questions are essential for your career fulfillment, but for whatever reason, bosses rarely ask them. Be a good boss to yourself, and ask this question on a quarterly basis—especially if you feel like you’ve found passion and purpose in the work you do each day. It should feel like your profession is always giving back at least as much as you put into it.
The same goes for your personal life and relationships. Where could those use some improving? What’s an exciting vision of success for you romantically this year? How about friendships or gatherings or new adventures? Be sure to set some guideposts for 2022.
Set the 3 D’s: Destination, Difference, Deadline
Goals are so easy to rattle off, aren’t they? I could think up two dozen right now—a rapid log of to-do’s and outcomes I’d like to achieve. But New Year’s energy is frenetic, 12 months is too long to be specific in follow-through or instructions, and the kind of goal-setting we normally do is better saved for quarterly or monthly initiatives.
Instead, I like to set a list of destinations for the year, note the difference (between where I am and where I want to go), and then set reasonable deadlines for achieving each (hint: the dates can’t all be within the first quarter or December 31).
For example, I have a fitness destination I’d like to arrive at in 2022. I mapped:
- Where I’m at now: (current weight, fitness level, diet)
- The finish line: (desired weight, fitness level, diet)
- A very specific plan to meet the difference between where I’m at & where I’m going
- Deadline: May 2022 (a motivating date with a very special trip planned)
That’s the big picture version, but if you were to see my weekly calendar, you would see the plan already mapped out into my daily routines. I treat the goal like an actual destination that I have to physically move toward every day.
Every destination you set is achievable, but you must physically move toward it. If I wanted to travel from Pittsburgh to New York, I can’t sit down on a park bench in Pittsburgh and wonder why I’m not getting to New York.
And you know, it seems simple but few people actively move toward their dreams. Most people are sitting on a park bench complaining about how the dreams aren’t showing up for them. Can New York show up in Pittsburgh? NO! If you want to see New York, you have to move toward it.
I truly believe 2022 is going to be a banner year for entrepreneurial and creative spirits the world over. I’m excited to embark on this adventure with you. LET’S DO THIS!
Here’s to Your Best Year yet,