Closing out a Year
As we close out this year, do you have any idea where you’ll be next year? A train that is chugging uphill not making any progress at all, even slipping back down the hill, quickly becomes a nightmare. Most know what it feels like to run in place, not moving at all toward where you want to be. If that happened to you last year, it doesn’t need to happen again this year. You can move up on your personal track next year with some intentional moves and decisions!
In this article, we will focus on five areas. First, determine your purpose or mission, then dream about the place you’d like to be next year, different than this year. Don’t be afraid to dream big—with the steps I’ll cover here, you will move forward! Next, create small measurable habits to make your next year’s goal happen. Add in personal, as well as professional development so your emotional well doesn’t run dry, then evaluate and reflect often. We will start with your purpose, as it will give you the reason to jump out of bed in the morning!
Purpose or Mission
Defining your purpose and mission will greatly influence the direction of your activities and projects for your next year. If you are changing direction in your business, do you know why? If you aim to lose those extra 15 pounds, do you know why? Keeping a solid focus on your why with a picture of what your future will look like will help you stay on track and be successful. Instead of the technical aspect, focus on the adaptive, which is the feeling you’ll get when you reach your goal. Such as: What dress will you be able to wear and how will it make you feel? Or what new project will you be able to start? (See: How Will Going Beyond a Technical Approach in Business Help Me?)
Simon Sinek, in his book Start with Why says the key message is, Success is the fruit of design, not of short-term patches. He was referring to Japanese car makers that engineered the outcome they wanted from the get-go and had substantially fewer problems than U.S. counterparts. You can do the same in your life and business. If you define your outcome, or exactly where you are going, it will also help you determine a solid way to measure your success.
Dreams for Next Year
I hear many talk of dreaming bigger dreams for their business for next year and I love that! I never want to discount dreaming big, as that picture of where we’d like to be really does help us focus and bring energy to where we’d like to be. I also have some big dreams as I love the business I’m in!
What many forget in pursuing big goals in their business is how the personal is very connected to the professional. What do you want your life(style) to look like? As I see many of my colleagues traveling much of the time for their business, I know some would love to travel less and work remotely more often. I’m definitely in that space. Using the tech tools available to create more online and virtual programs with solid and effective ways of communicating and connecting is where I’m headed. This will free up time for leisure travel with my husband and family.
Create Small Measurable Steps or Habits
In the past, we have labeled these as short-term goals, but the philosophy of creating small, steady activities is the same. Break projects down into very small increments or steps for maximum benefit. This not only makes achievement more feasible, but it also helps you pivot when needed with consistent evaluation.
A book everyone should have on next year’s reading list is Atomic Habits by James Clear. He talks about the 1% difference and how this works very similarly to compound interest in the financial world. If you move the needle ahead just 1% daily or weekly, you will find your efforts multiplied, not just doubled. The key is defining small enough targeted projects and goals for consistent movement.
Each step should be measurable. If you are aiming to lose weight, you won’t see a huge result after one day of eating a salad instead of a pastrami sandwich. However, with the accumulation of many days making that choice, along with other small choices, you will see that scale move, guaranteed! Just don’t quit!
Personal development is a very important aspect to add in the mix for where you want to be next year. Many look at their professional goals, income stream and business but spend little time on developing personally. Do you write in your journal regularly and are you reading regularly? What books are on your next year’s reading list?
I have encouraged many to take the 90-day challenge. (See: Core Beliefs and Habits of Successful People) Write two short sentences in your journal daily. You can write about anything that pops in your brain. At first, it may be hard to create anything, but I guarantee that it will get easier! Many of the memes I create for my projects come from the thoughts I write in my journal, even if they seem scattered at the time. I know that if I don’t write those thoughts down, they will be lost forever! Anyone with me here?
You should also schedule in time to listen to an audio book or read. I usually double-dip during my workouts or while walking our little dog by listening to a book or podcast. You can make the time for this. You just need to schedule it and have a plan! I suggest keeping a running list of good books and podcasts. I have a monthly Amazon Audible account and keep a list of future book ideas. (Have you listened to Women at Halftime?)
This is a step many entrepreneurs don’t take the time to do in business because of crammed schedules and self-imposed deadlines. I admit, I have been one of them! Eric Ries in his book The Lean Startup encourages entrepreneurs to transform an idea into a product fairly quickly, then measure, learn and revise. This is especially beneficial for those embarking on new endeavors as a side business or turning a hobby into a profitable venture.
Ries also emphasizes really getting to know what your ideal client wants and needs. We can create something super-cool we think the whole world needs and wants, but when so few really buy it, we have to be willing to pivot and find out why. Artists especially get so excited about creating something new that they often rush through this step! (I know this group very well as I’m one of them!) In my work, fortunately many of my projects have paid off, but there have been several where I should have taken more time to study the market as well as my client for better results.
Also, evaluate your use of time and your lifestyle. This past year I found myself working more hours than ever, developing new programs. I realize this is what it takes at first when embarking on any new venture or program. However, because I’ve documented much of my process, I will now turn around and help others create a solid structure and system that won’t take over their life using automation and tech tools. That has been part of my mission and purpose to help others at halftime and I put my head down to help make this happen.
I’ve also resolved to be intentional about evaluation and making small changes and tweaks as needed when launching new programs. It takes extra time to do so, but by next year, I intend for my little train engine to be close to the top or even over the top! How about you? Let me know where you’d like to be by next year and how you’re going to get there!