Here we are in December of 2020 – one of my favorite times of the year. Many people are winding down, getting ready to enjoy the holidays, spend time with family and recharge for the upcoming new year. This is a great time to start planning and preparing for the next year ahead. 2020 has been a unique year and one we’ll remember for years to come. A global pandemic impacted in some way nearly every single person’s life on our planet. This has been a devastating event, and our thoughts and prayers are with those who have felt the brunt of the impacts this has left. You’ve probably heard people talk about what a bad year 2020 has been, hear news media tell you what disasters have characterized this year, and you may find yourself starting to think along those lines.
However, like anything else, you can find silver linings wherever you look. Think back over the past 12 months of your life and I’m sure you’ll find some things that you’re happy about. Take 30 seconds here to reflect on the positives in your life, big or small. Perhaps you’re financially stable, still have a great job, have a healthy family, got to spend more time at home, picked up a new good habit, started a new project, bought another investment property, helped someone in need, kept food on the table. I challenge you to think of 3 things you’re happy about right now.
See, there are things we can all be thankful for. Let’s carry that momentum now and look at 3 steps we can take to prepare for the new year.
- Reflect. Think back over this past year and reflect. If you had any goals identified for 2020, look at how you tracked towards those goals. Likely, your goals changed over the course of the year. Identify things that went well for you and things that didn’t work so well. It’s important to take these lessons forward with you into next year. Practice gratitude. Celebrate your accomplishments and aim to learn from your failures.
- Visualize. Ask yourself what you want your life to be like in 1 year, 5 years, & 10 years. By visualizing your life, you create your own reality. Get clear with yourself about your priorities. Identify a few areas of your life you want to improve. The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan is a great book that will help you identify your most important priority. Once you have a clear vision of where you want to go, you can start to map out goals to get you there.
- Set Goals. Maybe your goals took a backseat this year. Or maybe you crushed your goals and have some great momentum headed into the new year. Either way now is the time to start thinking about your next set of goals. I say your next set because I’ve found the best time period for setting goals is 90 days (or 3 months). This goal setting strategy was first introduced to me with Bryan Moran’s 12 Week Year, and I use Brandon Turner’s 90 Day Intention Journal to implement it. Going back to your vision for your life in 10 years and working backward to 5 year and 1 year visions, you can break down those large goals into smaller goals. There’s a Chinese Proverb that says, “A journey of a thousand miles must start with a single step”. Start thinking now about your goals for the next year, and break those down into 4 sets of 90 day goals. You’ll be able to take consistent and daily action towards your bigger goals. In the One Thing book, Gary and Jay teach you to ask yourself “What’s the One Thing I can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”. This is a great exercise when you’re looking at your big picture goals and when you’re looking at your daily action steps.
“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin
Those are 3 things you can do now to prepare for the new year. Your life is more important than some arbitrary man-made date, so don’t wait until January 1st to start becoming the best version of yourself you can be. Create your own reality. Be intentional with your actions. Line up your dominos and start by knocking over that very first very small domino, and you’ll eventually become unstoppable.