Will you set 2017 on Fire?

For the past few weeks, I have put a good amount of energy into assessing the year and setting up for a great 2017.  Folks have asked what process I use so here it is…

·         First, I review the past year:

o   Assess what I enjoyed and what I didn’t:  I look back through my calendar and journals and list out the things I liked and the things I didn’t.  I use this information as an indicator of what I should do more of in the next year and what I should steer clear of.

o   What were to 2-3 things that make the biggest impact?  Celebrating is important and I often don’t take the time to tell myself, “good job.” 

o   What was the biggest drag on my year?  This is where I look back at the year and consider what things, activities or people slowed me down the most.

o   What do my stakeholders think about my year?  I gather data via conversations, surveys and any other method necessary to understand what my stakeholders think I how I’ve done in the year.  This isn’t to say I will respond to each comment but, as patterns emerge, it will give me a chance to evaluate if those patterns are aligned with how I want to operate and interact with the world.

·         Second, I brainstorm the big ideas and goals that might be next up for each of the roles I play.  My roles include husband, father, work, explorer, etc.  These are the roles I play in my life and the lives of other that I find important.  I take time to jot down for each the vision I have for myself by year end and keep on brainstorming.  At the end of this 30-minute exercise, I often have a pile of notes and a long list of things to do for the year

·         Third, I find the One Thing for each role.  If you are like me, your first pass of goals reads more like a book – pages of words and possibilities.  Optimism at the beginning of the year is great but, for me, this January aggressiveness can lead to a February or March stall out.  Overwhelmed by a long list of things to do, I tend to default to the same old same old activities to maintain where I am versus taking on new and bigger challenges.  Paralyzed by the endless possibilities, I do nothing.

            So here’s what I do.  I take the long list of possibilities and opportunities and consider:

Which of these things enables all the others?

Which has to happen first?

Which will change the game for me the most?

Asking these questions isn’t meant to eliminate anything but it is meant to drive you to the one thing you need to focus all of your energy on now.  Knowing you’ve gone through mental gymnastics of all the possibilities, you can take comfort in your immediate focus – the one goal you need to focus on now.  Once you complete this goal, review your opportunities, ask the questions again and pick the next one thing.

This is a glimpse into my year end process.  Take from it anything that may help you.  Most importantly, take the time to reflect on the past year and ensure for yourself that you are choosing to focus on the most important and relevant things for you in the new year.