The end of the year can be depressing.
Especially if you’re trying to think about next year, but feel like you didn’t accomplish much this year.
Any time you face fear or anxiety, think of it as an opportunity. As your opportunity to swing the pendulum the other way and find a path of action you didn’t see before.
In the video below, I share the “Fairy Godmother Planning Strategy.” This is where you wave your wand, revisit your old self, and start to acknowledge and celebrate your new self.
The FGPS strategy keeps you from deceiving yourself and forgetting what you’ve accomplished. It’s a guide to show you how far you’ve come. After you watch the video, (and the meat is at 0:48), take 15 minutes to take the steps below.
1. Make an inventory, a list, of everything new or different you did this past year.
You can make this list in Evernote, your Notes app, or on a piece of paper.
- Pull out your calendar, and review it.
- Take note of new places you visited, trips you took, new people you met, or special moments spending time with people.
- Take note of things to add to your resume or career portfolio. What programs did you lead or contribute to? What results happened at work through your efforts?
- What new skills or experiences did you pick up this year?
- What were your greatest lessons learned?
- What mistakes did you make? How will you grow from them?
- What are you most proud of?
- How did you help people?
2. Dream big about what you want to happen in the coming year.
- What are you good at? What do you enjoy doing most?
- Recall the moments you feel most at alignment.
- What do you want to see happen next year? Write it down. For example:
- I want to renovate my kitchen.
- I want to finish decorating my house.
- I want to have a routine of working out in the morning and reading at night.
- I want to get a new job.
- I want a promotion.
- I want to be making $5,000 a month on the side.
- I want to backpack around Europe.
- I want to be proficient in Mandarin.
- Start to chunk it down into parts that are realistic and measurable.
3. Set yourself up for success with process goals.
If you say: “I will learn Mandarin by Dec. 31,” you may not be clear on how to reach this goal. But if you think about specific steps in the process, you’ll ease your mind and avoid a guilt trip.
Process goals can be:
- Get a Mandarin book from the library.
- Find a meet-up group for Mandarin learners.
4. Pin down the habits and strategies that will get you closer to the results you want.
Strategies can be:
- Spend 30 minutes a day on my Mandarin workbook.
- Watch a Mandarin TV show once a week.
- Attend a Mandarin-learner meet-up event once a month.
- Sign up for Mandarin-learner Facebook groups and online forums.
5. Think about the nudges you will need to make yourself implement your strategy.
You may be good at implementing in the beginning, but our human nature is to get distracted and off course. Expect this. Don’t feel bad about it. Just get smart about it. Plan for it.
Failure will happen if you expect your willpower to work. Just because you want something doesn’t mean you will naturally do it. But when you are intentional and aware of your human nature, you can keep moving forward without wallowing in disappointment in yourself or your willpower.
Good nudges are:
- A calendar that marks off designated time for you to work on your Mandarin workbook, attend a meet-up group or watch Mandarin TV. If you don’t mark it in your calendar, you are likely to let this activity fall through the cracks.
- An alarm on your phone.
- Putting your Mandarin workbook out on the counter on the days you use it.
Nudges reduce the brain power required and decision making fatigue that can set in when you don’t have a routine.
It is draining if you have to decide day after day whether you will work on a certain tactic.
But if you don’t give yourself a choice, and if you have a variety of automated nudges in place, you are more likely to do the work.
6. Set 90-day goals.
Set quarterly goals to reach your big year-end dream. Use the dates of March 30, June 30, Sept. 30, and Dec. 31.
If you have a particular project to complete, you might prefer a 100-day goal. Use John Lee Dumas’ The Freedom Journal. This is an amazing tool to keep you on track.
Write these goals and dates down. Not just once. Write them, type them, in different places. Your mind needs to hear things, see things reinforced multiple times to really get it.
Give yourself 15-30 minutes to plan how you will make the most of the first 90 days. Do the same for the other quarters.
7. Do the work.
This is so important. I loved Ronell Smith’s talk on this. He said: If you focus on the outcomes day after day, you will get frustrated. Outcomes take time to happen. I hear stories over and over again from people who say their overnight success was really 15 or 20 years of hard work.
If you keep working on your tactics, your habits, and your strategies, you will go somewhere fast.
When you do the work, no one can take that away from you.