Put your best foot forward now and into the new year. How to plan a brighter future in an hour, a day or a month.
Success - no matter what your starting point - is all about choices. Making the right choices that lead you to that success is the key - and the challenge. One of the first and best ways to ensure that your choices are taking you there is to define exactly what success looks like to you - by writing a personal vision statement and life plan. Here are three things you can do to today, this week and this month to set yourself up for a fabulous 2018 and beyond!
1 What you can do in
Grab a pen and paper and jot down your answers, ideas and thoughts for the following:
Take stock of 2017
Take a few minutes and think back through 2017, month by month. Lets your mind drift through the milestones - birthdays, anniversaries, vacations, events and decisions. Now answer the following:
Stop, Start, Continue
Make three columns on your paper and write "Stop" at the top of the first column, "Start" at the top of the middle, and "Continue" at the top of the last column. Now answer the following:
What do you want to STOP doing in 2018?
What do you want to START doing in 2018?
What do you want to CONTINUE doing in 2018?
2 What you can do in
Making better choices starts with a vision for the future. Without it, you are a rudderless ship. Spend some concentrated time focusing on yourself - your hopes, your dreams, your future.
Write a vision statement for 2018 and beyond. This is a written description of the idealized view of your future, the best possible outcome you can imagine for your life. The purpose is to show you the path ahead and inspire and energize you to move forward. In a word, it should be awesome.
It may take a few drafts, but your statement needs to be just a few sentences (maybe 50 words or less) that is inspirational and ambitious, yet realistic and reflects the authentic YOU. Write your statement in PRESENT TENSE so that you can almost feel yourself there, in that ideal state. Be sure you are describing the ideal state, and not the steps to get there. Finally, check your statement against these criteria – is it:
Here is an example:
You can write and re-write it as much as you need. Sometimes it helps take a break and come back after a good night’s sleep to make your adjustments. This is not an easy task. Don’t feel bad if it doesn’t sound perfect right away. Just keep going!
3 What you can do in
Who wouldn't like a magical guidebook that predicts each life choice you will need to make, with fully illustrated and step-by-step instructions for carrying out each choice? Good news! There is a way to create a guide that will be as close as you can get to magic.
The purpose of the Ten Thousand Choices planning process is to get you to be very focused and very specific about what you want to achieve in your life, and to create a solid plan to make it happen. Follow these three steps, complete the tasks within each step, and finish it off with your “Master Plan” for 2018 and beyond. Working through this process completely should take anywhere from a few hours to a month. It depends on how long you take to ponder your future, and how much planning time you are willing and able to put in. Click here for a free 2018 planning checklist.
Step One: Look Back
Past behavior is often the best predictor of future behavior. To improve future choices, it is necessary to take a look at some of the choices you have made in the past and fully understand decision-making preferences and habits.
Take a personality test to better understand some of your decision-making tendencies
Ponder the question “Where have I been?” by analyzing past choices and lessons learned.
What are some of the smaller choices that I have made so far today?
What are some of my biggest decisions in the past year? In the past five years?
What am I most proud of?
What are some of my biggest regrets?
Step Two: Look Around
Your second task will be to think about where you are today.
First, perform an appraisal of your current situation – your strengths, weaknesses and capabilities. This will be critical, as choices must be made within the confines your personal reality.
Second, determine the factors that are most important in your life, the things you value, love and cherish, which will provide the framework for how your future choices are made.
Finally, give yourself an honest appraisal of how satisfied you are with each of these elements.
Step Three: Look Forward
This is where the real fun begins.
Define your personal guiding vision, the written statement of what you want your life to be.
Then, set and prioritize goals for the areas of your life you value most, all perfectly aligned with your guiding vision.
Decide on the choices you will need to make to achieve these goals and capture all the details in your Master Plan for your life going forward.
This follows the planning process from my book Ten Thousand Choices, which is launching in early 2018. Sign up to receive updates on its release, as well lots of free tips, tools and encouragement throughout the year!