See Your Way to the Best Year Ever

Happy New Year!  That’s a wish.  And here are 3 actionable ideas, especially if you haven’t set goals for 2014.

First, put yourself first!

Second, make yourself focus.

Third, work backwards from January 1, 2015.

Put yourself first, because nobody else (other than a great coach) should or will put you first.  Don’t start the year with others’ needs and wants — those of your boss, spouse, team, kids. They matter, of course.  But only you get to live your life, to be you.  So, who will you be?  Perhaps the biggest threat to actually choosing and planing to have a good year does not come from serving others’ needs.  Instead, it comes from being on autopilot. Autopilot is tremendous, factory-installed equipment we all possess.  But autopilot is an absolutely terrible tool when it comes to choice and change. If you want to set any new course, you need to grab the controls away from that inner reactive pilot. That takes us to part two.

Make yourself focus.  I challenge you, challenge you, did I say challenge you — to set aside 45 minutes with a blank screen or page and clean table or desk, and answer one question:  On January 1, 2015, having had the best year of my life, what are the things that I would SEE that would make this true? What would I have (had)? Where would I be (have been)? With whom would I be engaged? Don’t cheat yourself. Write it out.  Choose to focus, and pick the endpoints, the key destinations first.  Then you can Mapquest or Google Map it.  But first, decide where, what really matters?

Third, work backwards. Take a second page, or an Excel spreadsheet, or any of the amazing Gantt chart aps, and work backwards. From your picture of January 1, 2015, what will you need to have done by July 31?  What by March 31?  By January 31?  By the end of this week. Chart the path, working backwards from the vision of where you want to be.

Finally, put it up where you will see it.  Some people LOVE to work the plan. God bless them.  Wish I could be so systematic.  Being religiously linear and methodical are not my way.  But visions (literally: what we SEE before it’s real) have their own power and beauty. If you put your visions up in front of you, they will work on you and in you.

So, I’ve got my big 4: excellence in family, teaching, client service, and research – with pictures for each.

I wish that you’ll have an awesome 2015.  I challenge you to set aside time for you, focus on the pictures of success, and work backwards. Share your ideas with me and our fellow readers on how you’ll make it a great year, as you:

Lead with your best self in 2014.


  • … Until one is
    committed there is hesitancy,

    the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness.

    Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation),

    there is one element of truth, the ignorance of

    which kills countless ideas and splendid plans;

    that the moment one definitely commits oneself,

    then providence moves too.

    All sorts of things occur to help one that would

    never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream

    of events issues from the decision, raising in

    one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents

    and meetings and material assistance, which no

    man could have dreamt would have come his way.

    Perhaps one of Goethe’s couplets says it best:

    Whatever you can do, or think you can,

    Begin it,

    has genius, power and magic

    In it.

    • Will,

      I love this! The Goethe quote has always been one of my favorites. Here’s another form Julia Cameron from The Artist’s Way:

      “In my experience, the universe falls in with worthy plans and most especially with festive and expansive ones. I have seldom conceived a delicious plan without being given the means to accomplish it.
      Understand that the what must come before the how. First, choose what you would do. The how usually falls into place of itself.” pp 66-67

      Thanks again for contributing!
      P.S. Your name is even better than that of my favorite fictional character, Walker Percy’s “Will Barrett.” Will hart! It’s a statement. A commitment?

      • Thanks for the incite re my blog name… a name only used by my classmates at the Naval Academy, which now opens up some thinking for me.

        Re “Understand that the what must come before the how” above… I’ve spent the last 30 years of my life studying human motivation and I have developed a deep respect for for the power of “WHY” over what and how.
        In “Man’s Search For Meaning” Viktor Frankl observed “Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.” His laboratory was Aushwitz, and he determined that the common trait of those who found the How/What to survive was something they still felt they had to do. One can know what to do and how to do it and not do a thing. There is no motion without emotion.
        Have a great 2014, this Hart will.

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