Happy New Year!
Learning an easy two-step process is a great way to help you start the year off strong and is also perfect to do anytime you have so many things on your plate that you feel like your head is going to explode.
I want you to grab a pen and get a notebook. Step number one is the brain dump. Get all of those amazing dreams and goals and to do’s out of your head and down onto paper. I want you to write down all the things that you want to accomplish, that you want to achieve, or the things that you want to experience over the next 12 months.
When you do this kind of brain dump it can be helpful to think about it in relation to different domains or areas of your life.
The first area might be yourself, meaning what are some of the specific things that you want to accomplish this year? In terms of – your health and fitness or your self care or your finances. Or maybe it’s something that you want to learn or practice or any creative projects. Or maybe something about your home or where you live, whatever it is, all I want you to do is think about how you want to grow yourself this year and write it down.
Another area might be your relationships. So, think about the most important people in your life. Who are they? Is it your spouse or maybe a significant other? Maybe kids? Or maybe it’s your friends. Do you want to plan some holidays or adventures with people that you love and care about? What are some improvements that you want to make in your relationships that are going to require some time and some focus? And then another area might be your business or career. So what are some of the major projects or goals that you want to work on this year in terms of your professional life? Maybe you want to launch a new product, maybe you want to freshen up your resume and look for a new job or ask for a raise. Once again, think about all of this, write it down. One thing that’s important, do not edit or censor yourself. Don’t stop and think I don’t know how I’m going get this one done. All I want you to do is get everything out of your head and onto the paper.
Step number two is to now cut back. I want you to focus on the critical few things rather than the trivial many. Really focus down. What are the small number of goals and projects that are going to give you the highest, most powerful, and meaningful results in your life? I understand you might be thinking – I do not want to lose anything off my list. I like all of my goals. I understand, but here’s the thing. Most ambitious, driven people take on way too much. If you have your focus scattered, you’re going to dilute your energy, and then you’re going to wind up feeling overwhelmed and either quit or just spin your wheels around and around and never make any meaningful progress. That’s why I’m suggesting that you take the opposite approach.
I want you to take a look at your list and ask yourself, what do you really want your life to be about this year? How do you want to spend your time over these next 12 months? Who do you want to become? These are big important questions. They’re not necessarily that easy to answer, but it is vital that you do. Now, if you find yourself being torn up about what to cut you can look at each item on your list through one of these questions.
Ask yourself, how is that going to impact your life mentally, emotionally, spiritually, physically, or financially? What’s the benefit for the other people in your life, the people that you love? Who will you have to become in order to make this goal or project a reality? What habits or skills or character traits will you need to develop in order to make these things come to life?
If you go through those filters and think, “That’s not really worth it,” or, “You know what? That’s not a big enough payoff for me right now,” or, “I’m just not ready for that kind of commitment,” it is time to cut. Don’t judge yourself, just cut it off the list. However, it’s important to remember crossing something out doesn’t mean that you’re never going to take that project on, just that you’re not going to put pressure on yourself to work on that thing this year.
Finally, there is no perfect number of goals, projects or plans to end up with, and that’s because every single one of us is so different, all of us are completely unique in terms of our capacity, our current life circumstances, and our ambition. So just use your judgment, use your instincts, and cut that list back to make it as tight and right as possible.