For the past three years, each December, I have gone through an audit and life planning process. This process has been the key to letting me achieve some pretty big goals year after year. And, has made it possible for me to create and live my ideal life. Here’s the thing, it isn’t about creating a rigid plan that you cannot divert from. The point is to create a road map for what you want to achieve in the year ahead. This process will provide you with a general structure around the life you want to create AND let you exercise some freedom in getting there.
Everyone says it’s important to set goals but not as many people go into how to do that exactly. Yes, having SMART goals is important (Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic and Time bound) but how do you come up with the right goals in the first place?
Read on for my 5 step process to help you make 2014 your best year yet!
Step 1 – 2013 Review
How do we make a great plan for the future? By taking a look at the lessons learnt in the past. Ask yourself three questions:
1 - Wins
What wins did I have this year? What big and small achievements? Write an inventory of successes, wins, achievements and special moments.
2 - Losses
What didn’t go so well? Where did I fail (you may hate the word but accepting failures as lessons is the first step to getting to your awesome!).
Try to come up with 8-10 answers in each category. If that’s too difficult, this could be an indication that you didn’t play your biggest game this year and didn’t try enough new things. Going through this process will ensure that won’t happen for next year!
Note that it's also important to make sure you list things that you have control over - the goal is to do an assessment and create a plan based on what is in your control.
3 - Education
Identify the key lessons from each success and failure. What did you learn in the past 12 months? And what are the top three lessons? What are the three best business lessons that you learnt? What are the three best life lessons that you learnt? What were you doing differently when you achieved these results?
Step 2 - Rate your life
Now it’s time to do a current assessment.
Where are you NOW as a result of your actions this past year?
Give a score from 1- 10 in the key areas of your life:
1 = needs attention
5 = going okay
10 = freaking awesome!
These are the attributes I rate myself on - feel free to add/change to fit your life: Family, Friends, Fun, Health and Fitness, Business, Romance, Financial, Travel and Spiritual.
Step 3 - Clarity
Now it’s time to get crystal clear on what you want out of your life going forward.
What five things must happen between now and December 31, 2014 for this to be the single best year of your life? What are your top five values for the year?
Your values drive your behavior. Living a life that is congruent with your top values is what leads you to your awesome.
Now set one to three goals in all the key areas of your life. Remember, the key is to focus on what you really want – what would be game changing for you? Keep the goals concise and measurable. For more, read what I have to say about goal setting.
Get clear on the WHY driving each goal. When your “WHY” is big enough, you find a way to reach your targets, even if you have to struggle and try many different things to achieve it. Read what I have to say about the importance of 'WHY'.
Step 4 - Planning
This is a critical step in fulfilling your vision. Ask yourself what actionable steps do you need to take to achieve your goal? For example, if you’re training for a marathon, you need to run X miles four times a week, etc.
Next, break the goals down into a 12-month plan of execution. What is the January goal? What is on hand for February?
Step 5 - Visualization
After and only after you have completed all the steps above, take a step back and create a theme for the overall year. For instance, I am looking to try a number of different avenues for my coaching practice and personal life (new classes, audio recordings, video classes), so this next year's theme is experimentation. Your next year could be the year of growth and learning or the year of independence (as was my first year in my business).
Now, close your eyes. Visualize your life, as you want it to be one year from now. When you have achieved what you’ve committed to – what will your life look like? What do you see? Create a detailed image; record what you see or journal about it. Draw a picture if that works better for you. Revisit this picture and image every few days until it is ingrained within you.
A clear vision will drive your behavior to be aligned with the images and beliefs you run through your brain.
End Result? AWESOME.
If you’d like my template that walks through this process and serves as a great reference throughout the year, download it here.
Here’s to a wonderful end to 2013 and a kick ass plan for the year ahead!