Assessing what to change in 2017 can be difficult. To determine what you should stop, start or keeping doing can be a challenging process. I do a process at year end that I learned from our life plan training. It is called the 4 Helpful List tool. It allows you to review the last year and classify the following.
- What is Right?
- What is Wrong?
- What is Confusing?
- What is Missing?
The process is to basically classify your last year activities in each category with bullet points in each section. Then to classify what today’s status currently is AND how much control you have on each bullet point. Your options for control are Full, Partial, None.
We use this tool when we do life planning and it is super eye opening. It was for me when I did my life plan, especially when I had to select how much control I had on each bullet point. This tool may help you with what you should change for 2017 and set goals to actually accomplish those changes.
- Fill it out for 2016 activities
- State Today’s Status
- Classify how much control you have over that item.
- Identify what changes you want to make.
- Fill out the Goals Sheet to document your plan and execute it.
Do a Life Plan
It’s your life, own it this year…
Perfection is a topic that comes up now and then, but can really be damaging when you are setting goals. Depending on your personality type, striving for perfection can cripple you from making any progress because perfection is unrealistic.
“Perfection is the Enemy of Progress”
Striving for excellence is way different that perfection. With perfection, enough is never enough. Excellence is attainable and you can feel and appreciate that accomplishment. When my wife and I work with team members or do life planning for individuals, we talk about things that can start their progress toward a goal, take small steps and a series of wins. I like having big goals, but like everyone, I must have realistic long term goals and be very clear on them. The path becomes more clear when the goal is clear, but the path is never a straight line. When perfectionism comes into play, you usually can’t see an absolute path to a goal and that stops progress dead in its tracks.
Some downfalls of perfectionism or perfectionism traits that we all should be aware of are:
- Not Allowing Ambiguity – if you need absolutes today, you are in trouble. Things are moving way to fast from a technology, information, and automation standpoint. You must allow ambiguity and grace along the way to figure things out.
- Negative Impact of Others – if others around you see you are striving for perfection, they will be fearful of rejection and your wrath. Be careful.
- Risk of Failure – There is always risk of failure but we live life forward and learn it backwards. Make mistakes, but not the same mistakes.
- Limits Ability to Ask for Help – normally perfectionist want to do it all on their own. We can’t know everything now a days and we should be expected to.
- Procrastination – This is probably the biggest downfall; you never start because the path isn’t clear. Just Start, Review, Adjust, Review, Adjust and so on. Just make sure you have some guardrails around you so you don’t drive off a cliff.
Starting a new year is always a big event for me as my wife can attest. I like to plan, document, dream, digest and discuss with my wife my thoughts for the new year. This process helps me make sure my goals make sense, my blind spots are covered and my wife and I are aligned. I feel alignment of priorities as well as working on the important goals is probably the best gift you can give yourself at the beginning of the year.
I tried a newer tool this year that I have used in business for many years. It is called the One Page Strategy Plan which was created by the Gazelles company. I am still using my other tools to process, digest and firm up my goals for the year as well as assess how in balance I am across my life domains. I usually start this process in December and work like crazy to have it done by January 1st.
If you haven’t created your goals, or a life plan for the year. Here are some questions you might consider to get your brain in gear.
- How balanced am I across my life domains?
- What is your biggest time waster and what are you going to do about it this year?
- What are you doing this year that will matter in 10 years, in 50 years?
- What bad habit will you stop?
- What good habit are you going to begin – by when?
- In what life domain do you need to grow this year?
You may think your thoughts are a plan. You may even think your hopes and wishes are a plan. The reality is your thoughts, your hopes and your wishes are simply ideas, but it certainly is not a plan.
I have been doing annual planning for many years and I continue to learn tips on how to make my plan and goals better which I like to share. Two of my goals for 2016 was to take quarterly get aways with my wife and a family Christmas trip. It took planning and effort but we were able to pull it off. It was a great trip this year especially because we brought our daughters husband and boyfriends.
Any kind of planning takes focused effort. Then the hard part – Execution!!! I know a few people that are control freaks or they are seeking perfection. Those traits kill plans everyday so be careful if you have either of those. Perfection is the enemy of progress, so remember to keep taking steps.
So how is your plan for 2017? Do you have specific goals that are measurable, realistic and have a deadline? I have included links to the tools I use that can help you have a successful year. Remember when making goals if it is not a “Hell Yes, it’s a No”!
We do not rise to the level of our expectations. We fall to the level of our training. –Archilochus, Greek Soldier, 650 BC
As I am evaluating my plans for 2017. I ran across this quote and it made me take a hard look at the expectations I have for myself, my relationships, my family and people reporting to me. This quote really sums up the hard facts. We can have expectations of others, but if we don’t teach them or train them they will never hit those expectations. In fact, they will indeed fall to the level of training and guidance we have given them.
Are you giving the people around you the proper guidance or training to meet or exceed your expectations? It seems like a common sense item, but I don’t think enough of us consciously plan this out consistently. As I reflect on the past year, and what I want to accomplish in this new year, I will need to have a consistency of training and guidance. Not the one off ideas or guidance here and there.
People don’t know what they don’t know. If you are in a position where you know more than your team, friends, or family, be careful not to judge. We all were there and someone had to guide or teach us either in the street or in the classroom.
Do you have your plan for yourself for 2017? Is it written down or in your head? If you don’t have it written down or thought out, you are most likely not to accomplish it because a plan in your head is just a thought.
Living on purpose is important to me and I don’t see why you wouldn’t want to be intentional about where you are going and who you want to be. My first life plan helped me understand my priorities and adjust how I was living to match them. It actually lead my wife and me to sell the business we co-created after 18 years. It was a huge turning point in our lives and I don’t regret it for a minute. My second life plan helped me clarify my thoughts around legacy thinking.
I validated my:
- My priorities
- Core values
- Life plan
Do You Think You’re Ready for a Life Plan? Here are some quick questions to determine or clarify if you are ready for a Life Plan.
As we go into 2017 and plan what we want to accomplish, it is important to be intentional about prioritizing the important things and not just the urgent. December is a big planning month for me and usually for all of us. I recently was at a conference in Boston with my wife and a few collegues and Gary Vaynerchuk was the keynote speaker. He had a lot of great things to say which made me really think differently about 2017. I recommend reading his blogs, reading/listening to his books, and watching his videos, there is always nuggets of knowledge to apply.
As I am in 2017 planning mode, it reminded me of one thing Gary V said that contributed to his success, which is to pick 2 to 3 things and double down on them. He said:
“If it’s not a HELL YES, it’s a NO”.
My wife and I have made great strides in our relationship over the past few years. Admittedly a lot had to do with me and I am happy to admit it. It’s a fun time for us as we had lots of changes in 2016. It’s nice to look back and see where we made conscious choices or decisions that lead to positive outcomes that we are experiencing today.
Owning your life and doing your own life plan is a very intentional accomplishment, but shouldn’t be limited to you only. When my wife and I did our individual life plans, it was a great experience. It opened our eyes to a new way of thinking. It actually led us to re-creating our relationship that we now call V2 (version2).
Knowing where you came from, knowing how you are wired, and knowing your purpose/mission in life will allow you to live a life that you can be proud of. Imagine living your life with your best friend, knowing how you want to leave the world, and coming to grips with what your legacy can be is extremely fulfilling.
Going into 2017 I plan to be even more intentional about my relationship with my wife. It might even be a V3 or just V2 to the next level. One thing I am working on which might be helpful for you is doing monthly check ins with my wife and asking the following.
- What was the best and worst part of last month?
- What is one thing I can do to be a better partner?
- What is one thing that worries you?
- What is one thing you are grateful for?
Does your external self match what you believe and what you stand for? Are you a different person at work than at home? How about when you are “hanging” out with friends, at church, or at a community event? We all have different roles we have to play in different situations, but your external self should reflect who you really are.
Character is something we must protect continuously. I used to tell our daughters – “you are the only one that can give your character away, no one can take it from you”. I still believe that today. Did you get a deal at the grocery store because a price was wrong or did you simply steal?
Your internal self is really your character. Shaping your character is an inside out job and a very important one. Our character can be shaped in many ways like:
- Inputs we consume from others
- Relationships we pursue
- Habits we have
- People we hang out with
Have you ever sat down and truly defined your core values and what is important to you? Do you know your core values and what you stand for? My wife and I held a workshop at St. Mary’s College this week on life planning and one of the topics was personal core values. In order to live on purpose and support what is important to you, your core values are decisions that need to be made – by you – by digging deep down inside of yourself.
Without knowing your core values and what you stand for – you’ll be in a state of confusion and potentially in chaos. These values are like the foundation your house is built on. When your values disintegrate, everything around you also disintegrates because your actions are not in sync with your belief system and core values. This is also known as cognitive dissonance.
Cognitive dissonance is “the mental stress or discomfort experienced by an individual who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values at the same time, or is confronted by new information that conflicts with existing beliefs, ideas, or values”. Wow, that is a mouth full. In today’s technology and interconnected world, we are getting introduced to new ideas and others beliefs at crazy speeds. It is more important than ever to know what you stand for, your beliefs and your foundation.