Yes, you read that right. I am writing my 2015 review. E.g. for the coming year… in the first week of January.
Why? Because I don’t deal in wishes and wants. I create intention and accountability, and then take massive action to attain it. That is why I write my goals as though I have already completed them.
I’ve been working on this on and off for a couple of days, and will continue to tweak it as my vision crystallizes. I’ve also done a lot of travelling and a lot of partying in the last few days: 22 hours to get to Bangkok, 4 nights out, 15 hour overnight train to Chiang Mai, where I am now; so I expect to gain more inspiration and flow once I settle back in to a normal routine, and especially now that I’m in beautiful surroundings (Bangkok is filthy) AND I just found an awesome list of independent coffee shops to work from in Chiang Mai.
Live by design
I am literally designing my life. I started to do this (properly) in June last year and you know what? The majority of it came to fruition. I had a great end of the year and the best start to this year possible.
You can achieve things remarkably quickly when you make a solid intention and commit yourself 100%. For example, I bought a one way flight before working out any details, or having enough money put away or business income to fund the trip, and lo and behold, massive commitment and accountability lead to massive action and massive results.
Don’t think that design creates rigidity and too much structure. In fact it is the complete opposite most of the time. Of course, there are times when you have to knuckle down and work hard if you intend to achieve big things, but like I said in that post, at the time, that was giving me more pleasure than anything else would have.
Now, the outcome is freedom. Massive freedom of my time, my location, my schedule, my will. I can do pretty much any spontaneous thing I please. How many people can say that?
The plan will not always work out exactly how you first imagine. Depending on how high you set your expectations, unforeseen change of will or unexpected external forces. That doesn’t matter, you are still going to be a whole lot better off by having clear intentions.
If they build a new road in the city tomorrow, you are better off with the map book from today than with no map at all.
How do YOU do it?
- Start by writing a list of achievements for the year.
- From the list of achievements (events), write that in to a mini-story, including such things as how the events and achievements have changed your character, beliefs, values; and create a more rounded story. Also including knock on effects, “achieving A lead me to doing B differently, beginning C and no longer doing D”.
- Break the 12 month achievements in to 6, 3 and 1 month milestones. Some things will be ongoing and take the full 12, others will be completed within 3, etc. At each time period there is going to be a number of milestones you have completed, and a number that you have made progress on. Some you may not have started yet as they require achieving other things first, or you simply cannot spread your energy across all the different things at one time.
- Take the 1 month list and write each individual milestone as a header. Underneath each header list EVERY single step that is required to go from where you are now, to achieving that final 1 month milestone. This is sometimes easier to do backwards. Where possible sub-break things down further. For example you may have written ‘join the gym’. This can be broken down further in to ‘research gyms near me’, ‘budget for my preferred spend’, ‘ask so-and-so for advice’, etc.
- When you have completed this step it is a good idea to rank the outcomes in order of importance. What is the biggest single thing you want to achieve this year, the second, third…Of course you may find that some of the ‘less important’ things act as stepping stones to your bigger goals anyway, but now you have your list by order of priority.
- Take the highest 2 priority lists and go right to the bottom. What can you do today to move forward on this goal? Go and do it.
- Revisit every month to update and set your intentions for the coming month.
You’ve taken action today on the very first steps, how do you continue on the right path..?
You continue checking off the earliest steps on the highest priority tasks until you have achieved what you wrote for your biggest picture goals!
As you get further in to the action steps (of which there could be dozens or even hundreds) they will generally become more difficult and/or time consuming. You should never lose focus of your priorities. Always do work on the top 2 priorities first. You really cannot focus on any more than 2 things at once.
The lower priority things will start to get done:
- when you are waiting for prior work to come to fruition on the main priorities
- when they have become habitual and no longer require thought
- when you have spare time/don’t have the energy for complex tasks but can tick off quicker/simpler things
- if you suffer a little burnout and need a change of pace for a week or two
- when you have completed the higher priorities
This will be quite a time consuming task to do. The question is, are you the sort of person who commits to investing time in yourself and taking the necessary action to achieve your dreams or are you, like most, going to give a token effort at life as a ‘resolution‘ before settling back in to your standard bare-minimum existence, medicating on reality TV and gossip rags?
I will share my top priorities with you in the next few days and give an insight in to the action steps that I will be taking to achieve my goals today, this month and this year. What are yours?
If you like this exercise, be sure to check out the 3 FREE short e-books underneath this post with great exercises to help you live your dreams.