I found myself still in student mode 6 months after graduation, and realized…it’s time to get building. I’ve wanted to write, to grow my consulting business, to share with others my purpose, which is to help others envision, collaborate, create and lead the lives they want. I have as much experience and education as other experts to share with others. Time to take focused action!
I was inspired by my friend and colleague JM; and also by Michael Hyatt, founder and CEO of Intentional Leadership. He writes on leadership, productivity, publishing, and social media and shared an eBook called “Set Yourself Up for Your Best Year Ever: 8 Strategies Super Successful High Achievers Use To Prepare for The New Year. Each item includes ideas from different thought leaders, making it very useful and inspirational.
Here are the 8 things:
- Reflect on the past year
- Stay positive
- Express gratitude
- Eliminate the excess
- Set goals
- Break down goals
- Schedule the year
This items on this list really resonated with me. In my daily life, I already maintain a practice of reflection and gratitude, which helps me stay positive even when things are challenging. Where I can be more effective is in eliminating the excess, setting and breaking down goals, and gaining clarity in my scheduling.
So I took some time to outline the areas that I want to focus on this year: personal, family, finances, and growing my business. I then spent time on each category, deciding what specific goals I envisioned for the year and then defining why. Asking the “why” question is important; because it helps you determine what is truly worthy of your time and what might not be. What are your motivations? Will they be sufficient to inspire you to action on your goals through the entire year? How does this fit into your life vision or plan?
Here are my goals for 2015:
- Continue my daily practice of reflection more consistently. Include review of goals and life purpose, financial goals, and gratitude.
- Increase my strength and flexibility for physical health by committing to swimming 3X weekly and stretching daily. Incorporate movement breaks throughout the workday (Based on work, about every 2 hours.) Why? I have spent years putting my physical and mental health on the back burner, and I want to be more integrated now, and feeling fit and healthy throughout the year.
- Take a trip abroad with family. Introduce ourselves and Alex to a different culture and way of thinking. Why? The experience of travel contributes to both leisure and learning, two things that are important for growth, which is one of my core values.
- Continue to grow Alex’s health, independence and life skills through participation in Boy Scouts and sharing household responsibility in our daily lives. Yes, that means chores, but with the focus on developing life skills. Why? I want Alex to learn the skills he needs as he moves out into the world, and to develop healthy relationships with exercise, his peers, money and responsibility.
- Continue to build financial health and wealth through conscious attention to living within our means, and maintaining clarity about where we spend our time and treasure. Why? Because attention to our financial health will allow us to build for the future we desire. It will also be a way for us to educate our son so we can all maintain a healthy relationship with money.
Business: This is an area in which I have done the most planning as it is my biggest focus for 2015. I have included the short version – the details are still in development, but will be following the SMART GOAL format.
- Deepen my expertise in leadership development, executive coaching and organizational effectiveness through continued learning, teaching and writing
- Expand my network by joining and participating in ATD and Toastmasters
- Build the infrastructure for Kristina Au Consulting (website, branding, internal organization)
Why? There are a few answers for this. The most obvious one is that I make my living doing this. Also and equally important: Through coaching, I want to help others unlock their dreams and hopes and to collaborate to find effective and actionable ways for them to pursue these dreams and goals.
An important side note: In keeping with the idea of maximizing effectiveness, I have been very purposeful in creating business goals that feed into each other and that do double duty. For example, joining ATD and Toastmasters will expand my network, but will also help me develop professionally, which will increase my expertise.
Sharing goals can be a very personal thing. I feel somewhat exposed sharing this on my blog but I choose to share my goals to inspire others and for the simple sake of being accountable. I expect and hope to report at the end of 2015 as to my success, and I share them with others in order to be accountable. Feel free to check in on my progress and hold my feet to the fire!
Keys to successful planning
- Set aside time for brainstorming your goals. It can be a day or a week but have it be an amount of time that is realistic for your decision making style.
- Pick no more than 3-4 goals that are stretch goals that bring you in the direction you want to go.
- Reverse engineer the goals and break them down into quarterly, monthly, weekly and daily goals. When this gets overwhelming, make it as simple as possible by eliminating anything unnecessary. The purpose of creating goals is for clarity, not muddiness, so don’t create more work than necessary. You’ll know when you have broken it down sufficiently for your work style.
- Be clear about your schedule. Managing your calendar is very important. During the week prior to New Years, I prepare my calendar for the year by blocking out the time off I plan to take, any projects, school breaks, due dates –everything I know I need to attend to. I am fanatical about keeping my calendar clean and only putting items on the calendar that belong there. I don’t put tasks on the calendar; however I do schedule time for planning sessions or specific work that needs attention.
- Review and Accountability. We all know how easily it is for things to shift for us during a work week. This is not an excuse to let your goals go due to lack of planning – if properly thought out in the context of your bigger life picture, it is up to you to guard and protect that time as sacred. It is important to create a daily practice of reviewing your goals to keep them top of mind, so that when other things invariably tug at your attention, you can decide with clarity what is really worthy of your time, and what is an unnecessary distraction. Put them on a white board, in a phone, on a list – wherever you can get to them easily and consistently for review. Find someone to share these with who will hold you accountable.
I’d love to hear from you! Do you do any planning for the New Year? How do you create and achieve your goals? What would help you pursue the life you dream of?
- Michael Hyatt: http://michaelhyatt.com/
- For more on managing and preserving your calendar see Dave Allen’s Getting Things Done
- For info on important/urgent matrix see Steven Covey’s 7 Habits
- For more on creating mission, vision and values, look for my upcoming post on January 1st!
From Kristina Au Consulting
Envision, Collaborate, Create, Lead!