What are you waiting for – till the time is right? It’s never going to be right and nothing is going to happen unless you make a decision. I stole this idea from Chris Brogan, the world’s leading authority on owning the game you most want to win, who says that for some people, planning the New Year starts on January 1st. For others, it starts in June of the previous year. For him, it’s always at the first of November.
What about you?
If you’ve been reading this column long enough you may have heard my stories about working for a printing company whose customers were always late with their Christmas calendar orders and probably still are! Christmas has been celebrated every year in December – with the earliest mention of December 25 as Jesus’ birthday coming from a mid-fourth-century Roman almanac that lists the death dates of various Christian bishops and martyrs. In about 400 C.E., Augustine of Hippo mentioned a local dissident Christian group, the Donatists, who apparently kept Christmas festivals on December 25, but refused to celebrate the Epiphany on January 6. So we can agree that celebrating Christmas has been going on for quite some time now and we are VERY familiar with the dates. So why are customers usually late with their calendar orders?
And why can’t you start planning for 2015 now? It’s coming, just as sure as Christmas is coming too. I’m just nudging you to start because before you know it, the year will be new and you may lose this window of opportunity to plan sensibly.
Pick a day, any day and start. Think of it like a blank slate. Chris Taylor, founder of Actionable Books says “There’s something powerful about a clean slate…a natural planning phase and undeniable optimism at how the future may unfold.” We need a trigger point to climb out of our doldrums, chaos or weed filled garden, and refocus on what matters. Calendar dates work as a resetting point and the blank slate allows you to see more clearly. The clutter and complexity of too much information can hold you back.
Now that you’ve decided when you’re going to plan and know that you’re going to come to the table with a clean slate, what are you going to write down?
Chris Brogan uses four circle categories from which to decide on what to work on:
- 1st Circle – You and your higher power.
- 2nd Circle – the people you love the most.
- 3rd Circle – your Monchu (those mentors and people you mentor who you’d work with for free).
- 4th Circle – your clients/customers, and/or the people you serve.
Here’s a sample of what the output of this method looks like using the circle idea:
- 1st Circle – Run at least 2 more obstacle course races in 2015. Drop 20lbs of body fat. Continue to build mass. Improve my sales skills, my copywriting skills, my speaking abilities.
- 2nd Circle – Plan 2 trips in 2015, one with just Jerome, one with the family, all together
- 3rd Circle – Get even more deliberate about weekly check-ins with my mentor
- 4th Circle – Plan 1 large live event, maybe 4 smaller ones. Plan 12 speaking gigs. Focus on further helping people incorporate discovering their unique pattern to improve their own performance. Work with more HR teams to illustrate how using the ME Achievement™ Profiles can assist in addressing the root cause of employee performance issues.
Many times when we’re planning we forget about self-care. I’m guessing because we feel that every goal we set is for us anyway so why focus specifically on ourselves? If we don’t take good care of ourselves, we’ll be unable to take care of others in the long term. I told a friend of mine recently that if he doesn’t work on replacing himself in his business, giving himself an opportunity to take a vacation or take a break then the Universe is going to give him that much needed break and it may not be pleasant.
Planning purposefully to take care of yourself is the best decision that you could make going into 2015. Laura Tirello shares her own interpretation of self-care which I think is a great one:
“Self-care only works when you listen to your body, and do what you want without resistance. For me, I’ve learned to do what I want to do in the moment. So if I randomly feel like reading a few pages of a fictional novel or walking my dog, I do it. I don’t push it aside or promise myself I’ll do it later, I do it right then. Why? Because in that moment my body is telling me it needs a break. My mind is probably overwhelmed with thoughts, and trying to do work at that moment would be highly unproductive. And when I do what I want in the moment, when I sit down to work, everything gets done in a much easier way. Because now I’m relaxed, I’m not resisting anything. My mind is free to produce what it really wants, and my body feels good.”
So now you’re ready to move onto logistics. You hopefully know where you’re heading and how each circle is going to get you there and so now you can focus on the nitty gritty.
I absolutely love how Chris B. describes this: Your year, is your month, is your week, is your day. Boom! Simplicity in all its splendor.
If you don’t break your plan down into months, then weeks, then days, none of it will get done. You don’t just magically lose 20 pounds of body fat. You don’t magically double revenue. It comes from your daily effort. And this is a mantra I now have tattooed on my eyelids: you have no control over the results only the effort you put it. Too many of us don’t achieve our goals because we’re not putting in enough effort. And even when we do put in the effort – it’s never sustained.
My friend and blogger Zachary K. Reid, who owns quickmeups.com gave me this advice, “We’re programmed to work, receive almost instant gratification / praise, and then continue. This feedback loop creates an expectation of positive reinforcement almost immediately after doing something. So for example, when we try to change our body and don’t see an immediate improvement, it’s easy to become disheartened and quit.”
Give yourself an early 2015 gift of a solid plan and commit to the discipline needed to keep your commitments, or else nothing will get done. And remember this “You are responsible for exactly who, what, and where you are in life. That will be just as true this time next year.” – Dave Kekich.
- Do you have clarity around WHO YOU REALLY ARE?
- Are you being noticed for your contribution in your current role?
- Do you know WHAT you need to do to get the results you want?