An Easy and Fun Way to Prepare for 2011


As I’ve enjoyed family time in the mountains of Colorado (the snow is excellent this year!), I have realized the importance of completing 2010 and mentally preparing for 2011—before I’m in the middle of it.

So I took time over several sittings, using our Framework for Review and Planning, to do just that. The process was so inspiring and mind-clearing that I thought I should suggest it to you.

Now I realize that you’ve already done review and planning with your key team and this does not replace that. What this does is completes the past year in your own mind, in such a way that is encouraging and inspiring—regardless of how your year went. It also clarifies new year strategies and tactics in a way that clears your mind and readies you for specific action.

One more comment before sharing the process: you might want to do this separately for different parts of your life: business, personal, relational, etc.

So, here is the process:

  1. Think about “What worked or is working” from this past year. I went back through my 2010 calendar to remind myself of some of the activities over the year. From those, I was reminded of successes, small and large, that I then captured onto my list. This list will be long and encouraging. Seldom do we give ourselves enough credit for our successes. I actually did this process over two days. Sleeping on my initial list allowed for some additional processing and insights overnight. I probably spent a total of an hour during this step.
  2. As I captured each success, I often realized the next steps in order to take advantage of the initial success.  Then I would scroll down on the page (on the computer for editing ease), create a Step 5, which is “What can I do more, better, or differently to move closer to my objectives?” Whenever I had an insight about additional steps, I captured it right away. This is incredibly freeing for the mind, as I knew I wasn’t going to lose those insights. By time I finished my long list of successes, I had an accompanying long list of action steps—many of which were, “Plan how to utilize XYZ success.”
  3. While I could have stopped the process right there and still received a great deal of value, I knew a bit more work would go a long way towards achieving my goals. So I went to Step 3: “What are my primary objectives for 2011?” Again, I already knew these objectives, but there is a special value in revisiting them from the standpoint of successes I had had over previous months. Sure enough, the creativity that was opened up by remembering a lot of successes in a short period of time gave me fresh insights about 2011 objectives. Those new insights were particularly inspiring.
  4. Step 3 was so useful that I decided to spend a few additional minutes on Step 4, which is “What are the benefits to all stakeholders for accomplishing the objectives?” In my case, there was nothing earth-shaking here, but worth reflecting about.
  5. That brings us again to Step 5, which is mostly complete. Nevertheless, I reflected again, based on new clarity of the objectives, “What can I do more, better or different to move closer to those objectives?” New action steps came up, several of which required some additional thought and planning. Even though the action list was long and a bit daunting, how freeing it was to get it down on paper, thus freeing my mind to enjoy my family time, knowing I was ready and excited to launch into the new year.

This didn’t feel like work to me. It was quite encouraging, inspiring, and energizing. I encourage you to give yourself this gift. It likely won’t take more than an hour or two over a couple of days. If it takes more time than that, it will be because you’re so engaged that you want to put more time into it! Enjoy the process.

We are so grateful for our subscribers and we wish you the most joy-filled and prosperous 2011.

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Love how you build on what works. It’s one of the most common mistakes I see leaders make is they stop focusing on what is working and focus on what’ new.

Sage advice my friend.

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