Years ago, a good friend of mine, Tim Elmore, got me hooked on a process that has really impacted my life. Tim encouraged me to develop a strategic plan for the new year. The process included spending time looking back at the previous year, and then looking forward to the year ahead. I wanted to share the process I go through with you. I have made some modifications to what Tim does. You can follow Tim’s amazing work at www.growingleaders.com. He has his process listed on his blog. Enjoy!
Like I said, I spend about half a day looking back at the previous year. I journal a lot, so it’s easy for me to look back at the details of the year and the bigger events are pretty easy to recall. I always look at seven main areas of my life and see how I did in accomplishing the goals and dreams I had set, and where I achieved beyond my desires and where did I not do such a great job. My seven areas are:
- School (I am getting my doctorate and it is a huge part of my life right now so I include it)
I ask the following questions:
- Did I grow in this area? If so, where and how?
- Did I benefit the growth of others in this area? If so, how?
- What was the one thing I am most proud of in this area?
- What is the one thing I am least proud of in this area?
- Was my strategy for each area effective? Why or why not?
- Did I fulfill the mission of my Life Sentence (this is essential and I will blog on this later) this past year?
Once I complete this process, I send a day looking forward and setting goals (actually, I like the term dreams better than goals). Tim Elmore calls his items “action lists” or “standard lists” which I love! This process looks like the following:
- What is the main dream I have in each of my seven areas? What will be needed in order to achieve this? (I use a Dream Chart that I developed in order to complete this process. A Dream Chart looks at where you are [Now] and where you want to be [Dream] and then maps out all of the steps required to get you there.)
- Of my 7 areas which areas do I need the most growth?
- What resources will I need for the required growth? (i.e., books, seminars, counseling, coaching, web sites, podcasts etc. I decide all of this at the beginning of the year and map out a schedule of when and where.)
- I map out my entire year. Monica and I do this together. We set date nights, family date days, vacations, major events on our calendar at the beginning of the year. These are non-negotiable!!
- Monica and I set family goals. What are one or two things we are really going to try and teach the kids this year? Last year it was patience and courage. We also set financial goals for the year and plan purchases for our house, what and to who we support financially, gifts, etc.
- I have a weekly chart that I use to account for pretty much every hour of my day Sunday – Saturday. I do have free areas where nothing is planned in order to account for surprises as well as provide me with down time.
My dream is that I continue to grow in all areas and the best way to do that is to learn from the past and plan the future. I believe just about any dream can be achieved with a good strategy, regardless if it is losing weight, changing jobs, buying a new car, building relationships, etc. My dreams are only as good as the strategies I implement. (you can tweet that)
Have a great new year!!