Welcome to December 2012! From today, we have 31 days or 8.5% of the year remaining, to make of it what we may. Whether you intend to spend more time with your family, boost your performance at work, learn a new skill or successfully complete an exercise regimen, there is still time to do it. The challenges at this time of year are well documented – holidays are upon us, family events, shopping and travel crowd our schedule; meanwhile, tax season is not far behind, while financial questions abound. Plus, if you’re in the East Coast, it’s getting cold, adding to our list of chores and potential concerns (ie. putting on snow tires, running up gas bills, etc).
Another key challenge is in planning the year ahead, for those of you who do engage in goal-setting and New Year’s resolutions. In my view, December 1 marks the perfect time to actively engage in the parallel process of evaluating the current period (2012), while envisioning the year ahead; doing so with awareness that we still have ample time in 2012 to make progress and tie up loose ends, is flat out hard. With the right approach, and by making time for life visioning, we can do it.
Here are a few quick tips that I will leave you with, to hopefully increase your focus as we round the corner into the home stretch. This whole process will take up two hours or less overall, and can be broken up into three or four sessions.
1. [15-30 min] Reflect. Get some alone time, to reflect on whatever your goals or aspirations were for 2012, whether or not you wrote them down somewhere. If you’ve opened an account with goal sites like dailyfeats.com or 43things.com, take a look at them. Jot a few notes down about how things went and how you feel about the particular goals in play.
2. [30 min] Release the BHAGs. Now, at the same sitting or a separate time (before the new period, in this case before Jan 1, 2013), get out your notepad or ipad, and envision the best possible scenario for 2013. You hit on all cylinders, whatever your heart desires. Envision yourself attaining all of your possible goals for the year, even if part of you feels that it’s not realistic. This is what we call BHAGs (Big Hairy Audacious Goals) – I’m not sure whether Tony Robbins invented that term or borrowed it; but he definitely popularized it. Get your BHAGs going, and write them down. Close your eyes for five minutes, and meditate on how that feels, as if it is a concrete reality.
3. [30-45 min] Create a Plan. Alright, with these steps under your belt, it’s time to set a practical plan for 2013 (or any period that you want to plan for – this can be a quarterly or monthly process as well). You can keep the BHAGs in there, but also consider realistic time, energy and resource constraints and set baseline goals, as well as “reach” goals. First off, put a mark next to any goal that is a “snooze” or complete repeat from the prior year (ie. you listed “Quit Smoking” or “Learn Spanish” and you didn’t even start, or started and fizzled out quickly). You’ll have to watch these closely and come up with a good reason why it will be different this time. Try to employ the SMART model for goal-setting by writing down more details for each stated goal:
4. [30-45 min] Share your goals with somebody that you trust. It could be a partner, parent, child, friend, mentor, teacher, counselor – whomever you feel comfortable with. Send them or print the document for their review before you meet. If you are CEO of Me, this person (or people, it can be multiple) is now part of your Board of Directors or Advisors. Their role is to be an objective (as possible) sounding board for your goals, for your life.
This December, I will be fulfilling some of my own major goals by hosting two workshops on this very topic – it’s called the CEO of Me Workshop, and I strongly believe it can change lives for the better. The workshops take the processes noted above to another level of detail and depth. I encourage everyone to participate in this type of workshop, whether it’s mine or another. If not, there are a number of Do it Yourself books and social networking websites that can be of value, by providing frameworks and support structures for your life vision. Either way, make the most of this precious month, as both a time for what I call parallel processing – (1) reflection and (2) anticipation; with as much moment-to-moment Awareness as possible.