Your best year, your way

simon-migaj-432653Will this be your best year yet? It could be.

What I want for you is to create the year that YOU want. To have a deep knowing of what that is, what that looks like and to choose that for yourself.

No resolutions required.

It’s time to get out your journals, your vision boards, spreadsheets and thinking caps. Find your quiet place, your productive place, your happy place.

I’m going to share a few strategies to experiment with as you start your year. All of them have been road-tested by my clients over the years and they all are designed to help you create more fulfillment, more clarity, and more of what matters to you this year.

Let’s begin. Before you do anything else, do this:

Ask yourself smart questions. What do you really want this year to be for you, and equally important, why? What would you most like to experience? Where would you like to see progress on an important goal or vision? What changes would you like to make (knowing that “none” is a perfectly acceptable answer)? What contribution feels important to make right now?

Gaining clarity on what you really want from the year ahead is the foundation of making plans, goals and decisions that feel meaningful and fulfilling. Spend the time. These questions can be more challenging to answer than they seem. Until you’ve done this, don’t touch that planner.

And when you know what you want, try these:

Focus on a big quarterly stretch goal. Choose something meaningful and of consequence for you and make it the cornerstone of your scheduling and planning. If you’ve got room for more, add one or two more. Then focus on what matters and feel free to ignore all the shiny things. They are not for you, right now.

Choose 100 things to do this year. Imagine 100 things you’d like to do, experience, learn, and feel if the next 12 months were a fantastic year. Write them down on an actual list. This list might look like a compilation of the goals you have for the various areas and/or roles of your life. It might include other things entirely. This is the list you will turn to when you’re needing inspiration, when you’ve got a free weekend day to plan, when you want to remind yourself (again) what you love and what it is that you wanted. Think of it as your Goodreads for the soul. Check off as many as you can.

Consider who’s on your board. If you were to hire a board of directors to guide you in running your life, who would you choose? Compare this to the people whose voices (real or imagined) have been guiding your thinking and decision making. Your board might need some shaking up this year.

Build your courage slowly. Take Eleanor Roosevelt’s excellent advice: do one thing every day that scares you. It can scare you a little, or a lot. It can be a small thing to stretch your comfort zone or something that breaks a big self-imposed boundary. That’s not important. What’s important is what happens when this becomes a regular practice.

Pay attention to your thinking. Often, clients come to coaches to address something that is not working in their personal or work life. They’re not happy with the result they’re getting and they want a new result. Almost immediately, they have a story to share about the circumstances that are causing them to be in the situation that makes them unhappy. Nearly always, the piece that is missing is what they are thinking. It’s how we see things that influences how we feel and the choices we make. As we practice slowing down and paying attention to the thinking, we open the door to so many other options.

Get tough with what’s not working. Those things that you complain about (or secretly resent without mentioning)? Write them all down. Every last one. Now, make it your mission to resolve every one of them. Some may require challenging conversations, boundary setting, making a tough choice, delegating and letting go of control. Others may be simpler—like getting the car fixed or throwing out clothes you hate. Some may be big fish that when solved will impact several other concerns. All of it will be so very worth it.

Inspire yourself. This is where tools such as vision boards, words of the year, theme songs, talismen, new routines, and daily practices can be useful. It’s also where goal tracking and rewards can be motivating. Consider going further and getting more personal. Track what inspires you and keeps you motivated. What fuels you? What feels nourishing? Maybe it’s adding music to the tasks you don’t like, working out with podcasts, heading out once a week to a place that infuses you with energy. Notice what inspires you and weave it into your days whenever possible.

Try these out and I promise your year will be memorable and meaningful. It will be fun. And you’ll have plenty of successes to look back on this time next year. I can’t wait to hear about them.

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