Best Year Yet: Seven Questions to Ask Yourself To Start the New Year with a Bang
We all want the upcoming year to be our best year yet. And, I believe there are two parts to planning to ensure this happens. The first is to review what’s worked and what hasn’t in the year just gone. The second is to map out the key things we want to achieve in the year ahead.
Here’s seven questions I use to reflect on the year just gone and to plan ahead to create my best year yet.
1 What did you accomplish?
Was this your best year yet? If so prove it by writing down all the things you achieved for the year. I have a rule around this where I must write down at least 50 things. You might think this is a lot and it will force you to look beyond the obvious and dig deeper than you might have.
Here’s some things to consider:
- Money: Exactly how much money did you earn?
- Followers: How many new subscribers joined your email list? Or how many new followers did you gain on Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, etc?
- Produce: How many blog posts, podcasts, webinars, etc did you publish or present.
- Clients: How many new clients did you start working with and what results did you produce?
- Milestones: What business milestones or personal records did you achieve? For instance, e.g. Completed your 5th year in business or for the first time you earnt over $25,000 in a single month
2 What were your biggest disappointments?
In other words, what did you set out to achieve but didn’t quite make it? This is about creating room for future learning and improvement and it requires you to be honest with yourself. My general rule is to find at least 25 things that I failed to achieve. Even if the year just completed was your best year yet, there should still be a few things that didn’t meet your expectations.
Here’s some things to consider:
- Unfulfilled: Which of your goals or targets did you not fulfil? For instance, did you earn as much as you expected?
- Clients: Which client projects didn’t go as well as expected?
- Balance: Was your lifestyle balanced or did you find yourself failing to look after your health and wellbeing?
- Social: Did you work too much or fail to spend enough time with family and friends?
- Values: Did you spend enough time on the important things?
3 What did you learn?
What were your most valuable lessons from the year just completed? This is your chance to stop and reflect and convert stuff that just happened into valuable experience that you can avoid or replicate in the future in your quest for your best year yet.
There are two perspectives to consider here:
- What worked really well? Which elements of this can you repeat?
- What went badly? And, how would you explain this failure so you could avoid it in the future? What can you be responsible for?
4 Where did you stop short or limit yourself?
Did you give your best everywhere? I doubt it. Here’s your chance to come clean. Where did you pull up short? The goal is not to be perfect in the future it’s about your level of effort and going for a goal that’s important to you. Ultimately, this is about living your life with no regrets.
There are a couple of obvious places to look here. For instance:
- 100%: Go through your list of items in your biggest disappointments. Review each one and ask this question: Did I do all that I could to turn this out?
- Good to Great: Also, review your accomplishments. There may be a ‘good’ result here that could have been a ‘great’ result.
- Small to Big: Thirdly, consider the goals you set for yourself. Did you ‘dream big’ or ‘just aim a little bit more than before’?
5 What is your theme for the year ahead?
Now it’s time to make the transition from review to creating our best year yet. And, our starting point is to consider a general theme for our entire year. Chris Brogan creates a powerful theme by distilling it to a couple of words.
Here’s a couple of ideas for creating the theme of your best year yet:
- Focus: Based on what you learnt from last year, what will you focus on to avoid falling for the same trap? For instance, manage my energy not my time. My focus for the year ahead is: Products.
- Perspective: The way we see the world is crucial to how we react to what is going on. What’s your consistent viewpoint going to be? For example: ‘trust people’, ‘expect the unexpected’ or ‘if in doubt, go for it’.
- Emotion: What do you want to feel for most of the year? For instance, do you want to be inspired, happy or satisfied? This is not about trying to feel that every moment of every day. Instead, it’s about catching yourself when you’re not being this and adjusting course.
6 What is going to be your master goal in the year ahead?
Themes are general, goals are specific. Now it’s time to turn your general theme into a specific and measurable result for the new year and your best year yet.
Here’s a couple of general guidelines for creating your master goal:
- Specific: You need to be able to quantify your goal.
- Measurable: This is important for the completed goal and for you to know you’re on track, or not, along the way.
- Big Enough: Make sure it’s a stretch for you! Remember we want this to be your best yeat yet!
My master goal is to create products. This has two key aspects – create my own products and help others create theirs. In particular, create 12 of my own products this year (specific, measurable and a stretch!) And, to run 6 two-day workshops helping people to create their products. Again, super specific, it allows me to measure my progress and given I not run a two-day public workshop previously, this will be a good challenge. When I achieve these two goals I can declare my year my best year yet!
7 What new practices are you going to create?
It’s useful to think about your master goal as the destination you’ll arrive at during the year. And, to think of your practices as the things you will do on a regular basis to help you reach this goal. Start to think of the essential actions you need to take to create your best year yet.
Here’s some suggestions:
- Obvious: some practices will stand out like the nose on your face. For instance, if you’re writing a book, then you’ll need to… Yep, you guessed it.
- Preparation: Athletes train to perform on game day. What do you need to practice to be ready for your big effort? For example, creating slides or rehearsing your stories to be ready to present a keynote presentation or webinar.
- Mood: A special category of preparation is getting yourself in the right space to do what’s needed. This might include doing meditation or yoga to ensure you’re relaxed, or it might be to attend a networking event once a week to ensure you’re out there meeting new people.
Love to hear what you do to plan your best year yet. Also, what you plan to create. Drop us a line below in the comments section.