What if this year you made ASPIRATIONS instead of RESOLUTIONS? What if you focused on things you want to DO and experience rather than a narrow set of problems?
I start each year with a big hairy question: “How can I make this the best year of my life?” Making each year better than the last is a tall order, but I’d say four of the past seven years have been my best. The first year I did this simply blew me away. Packed with all kinds of new experiences and lessons listed on a simple piece of paper. Merely tacked to a cork board.
My self-challenge usually includes resolution-y things related to finance and weight. But the idea here though is to work on those goals as part of an overall yearly plan with related goals.
Step 1: Make a life list to help you think about what you want in life.
It’s all the rage NOT to make lists. But based on feedback from people who made life lists on my old bucket list-making SuperViva, having an “a la carte menu” of things to do in life, both big and small really helps. Come time to plan the year, or wile away a rainy day, it’s easy to find something fulfilling then check it off, rearrange and re-prioritize.
My list has things big and small on it like:
- Go surfing in Bali (check!)
- Teach my niece to make cookies (check!)
- Buy a rental property (check!)
- Write a book (checked, twice!)
- Lose 20 pounds
- Start a typewriter cafe (still mulling)
Needs ideas? Peruse this worldwide brainstorm to get some ideas from others.
Step 2: Start planning the year (It’s not as boring as it sounds.)
Some practical and fuzzy tips:
Generally, what are you in the mood to do based on your current life situation? Are you in a “mid life crisis” or ready to settle down? Are you feeling wanderlust? Fit this general feeling into your yearly theme to guide you.
- What will become impossible if you don’t do it now? For example one year I realized if I wanted to work on saving the rainforests now is the time, not in 10 years. Did you want to see James Brown in concert? It’s too late now. Think about what you want to do that you should not delay.
- What will your goals take in terms of time, energy, and money? Don’t say no too quickly, such as if you want to take classes at night but feel you don’t have the time. I highly recommend the book Wishcraft by Barbara Sher if money is a limitation.
First think about what you want to achieve and experience related to work, fun, community, spiritual, financial, relationships and health.
Now imagine your “resolution to lose 10 pounds” tied to a goal to run a marathon or go scuba diving. Or becoming a tango dance!
Come year end, you’ll have a lot more to look back on than a boring weight loss process.
Step 3: Take weekly or monthly reality checks
Yes time will fly and every day life administrivia may take over. Every once in a while I stop and ask myself two important questions:
• “Is this my best year?”
• “Am I feeling good about myself?”
I often do this at quiet moments such as in the shower, while stuck in a traffic jam, or waiting for someone at a restaurant. If either answer is no, imagine how powerful it is to blame yourself. Re-set your course toward making it your best year. Caveat: Resist thinking in terms of success or failure.
Things always happen you can’t anticipate. Roll with life’s punches. Getting cancer wasn’t on my life list. Even so I used my downtime to reconnect with friends, focus on spirituality, and learn about my body and health. I also acted on my #1 love which is to help people brainstorm, by creating SuperViva Life Lists.
Those are all things I’d been meaning to do.
Looking Ahead at Looking Back
Imagine it’s December 31. Maybe you’ve realized the year hasn’t turn out how you planned. You’ve reviewed your life list during the year, tried changing things to improve the year, and chronicled the year’s events on your list of things you’ve done. At a minimum you’ll have a lot to look back on. That yearly review you’re doing based on Chris Gillebeau’s advice is a piece of cake.
If you’re not happy with the year you can look forward to the next year being your best. And know that you damn well tried.
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