To paraphrase a famous quote, we overestimate what we can accomplish in a day and underestimate what we can accomplish in a year. With 2020 upon us, we have an opportunity to set clear intentions for a new year AND a new decade. Before we look ahead, it’s critically important to reflect on the past year to recognize what has been accomplished, what we’ve learned, and how we’ve grown. Here are some questions I encourage you to write out answers to:
- What have you accomplished in 2019?
- What are you most proud of?
- What can you acknowledge yourself for?
- What are you most ashamed of?
- What did you say you would do that you didn’t?
- What are you holding against yourself as a result?
- What do you need to be, say or do to forgive yourself for how it went in 2019?
- What else do you need to say to be complete with the past year?
Once you’ve answered these questions, notice how you feel. If you don’t feel lighter and freer, go back through the questions and spend some more time reflecting. There’s still energy you need to release. After you feel complete with your 2019 reflections, you’re ready to create a “2020 Vision”.
Setting goals and creating projects
Most companies have their employees set performance goals for themselves each year. It’s really important to make personal goals for your career as well every year. To start creating goals, take time to list out everything you want to accomplish in 2020. Your ideas should be both big and small. I suggest writing your goals down with pen and paper, rather than typing them. It is a more effective technique as it will trigger your brain in a more lasting way. After you get all of your goals written take time to read through them and see how they relate to each other. Group the similar goals together to create 3-4 groups; these will become your “projects”.
Your projects should align with the SMART acronym:
Specific about what you want to accomplish by answering either: who is involved, what do I want to complete, where will it be completed, which requirements or constraints are there, and/or why do I want to complete this goal.
Measurable metrics to determine if and when you will meet the goal.
Achievable goals are realistically attainable with the resources you have or could potentially obtain.
Relevant to your projects, company, and personal objectives.
Timely deadlines that are realistic to accomplish.
It’s important to remember that your project goals should be written in a way that motivates you to complete them. They aren’t meant to be extremely challenging or else you will get discouraged.
Now take your “projects” and construct “mini-milestones” from them. Normally we think in sequential order, but in this case, to create a mini-milestone, you will work backwards. Think about what you need to achieve just before the entire project is completed. That is your last mini-milestone. Then, what needs to happen just before the final mini-milestone, and so on. Breaking down your projects into mini-milestones will allow you to focus your energy on one small tangible step at a time. If you don’t create mini-milestones, your goals will seem too big, overwhelming, and you might start to shut down even before you begin.
Envisioning your future
Try to envision your desired future as if you have accomplished a project goal and think about how you would answer the following questions:
- How does it feel now that you have accomplished it?
- What does it look like?
- What will your life experiences be like once complete?
- How have your relationships improved or changed?
- How has your view of yourself improved or changed?
The visioning process is slow and shouldn’t be rushed. You won’t be able to fully envision your future in one sitting. Work on it for a while, then take a break, and come back to it in a few days. Imagine visioning like an artist adding dots to a canvas. As first our vision will look like a bunch of random dots. But, as you come back to the canvas and add more context to it, you’ll start to see an image emerging. If you take the time at the beginning of every year to envision what your future could look like, you will start to gain clarity on where you want to be and what steps you need to take to get there.
Everything outlined above will help you have a clear understanding of where you want to go, how to get there, and why it’s important. Creating your projects with mini-milestones will give you easy steps to accomplish throughout the year. It won’t be overwhelming, but rather empowering to see the progress you make each week, month, and quarter. You’ll be able to look back on the year on December 31st, 2020 and see the journey you took to fulfill your visions.
Do you need help creating your goals, projects, mini-milestones, or creating a vision for 2020? Contact us for a free consultation.