Have you started planning your 2016 yet?

If yes, great! I hope the approach and tips I am discussing today will help you prepare a solid plan.

If you haven’t yet started, don’t wait any longer. Clarity in what you want is THE first step in getting what you want. Use these first couple of weeks of the new year to write down (or type) your vision for the year.

What do you say? Are you ready to get started with your vision for a successful new year – Vision 2016?

I am on a two and half month long vacation in India. Well, I am delivering some speeches, doing some writing for different projects but most of it is a vacation. (And in all honesty, when I am talking or writing, I don’t feel like I am working. It’s all fun and energizing anyway. 😉 )

In the midst of the beautiful tea and coffee plantations, I was inspired to start thinking how I would like my 2016 to be. What would I like to feel and experience more of? What new skills would I like to learn or master in order to get there? What is the best way to convert my intentions into reality?

Here is my 3 stage approach that will help you clarify your vision which will then serve as a strong foundation for planning and executing your goals for the upcoming year.

 

1. Write it down!

There are many advantages of having a tangible document in front of you than just having a thought in your mind:

  1. Putting it in words brings more clarity to your vision. You start realizing what exactly is bothering you that you would like changed. Just thinking about it is not enough because it easily makes you miss or forget some points.
  2. A clearly written vision or plan is inspiring because it is not ambiguous. You don’t have to question, “Do I really want this?” every time you make a decision in your career and life. You just refer to your document.
  3. A clear vision will inspire you to work towards making it a reality. You have the flexibility to edit it as needed. It also serves as an anchor to see if you are on track, and reminds you to refocus your effort and planning in case you have floated away from it. (How many times does that happen!)

In the next couple of days, as you think about different aspects of your vision, just note them all down in one place. I like using Evernote for such documents in transition. Use the tag system instead of notebooks to organize such documents. Check out this efficient process of using Evernote by Michael Hyatt. That will keep you organized.

Set a goal of finishing your vision by the first week in January. By that time, you should have a document “Vision 2016” ready.

It doesn’t have to be perfect. It just has to be! You will see how much it will inspire you to see that written version 1.0 of your ideal 2016.

Throughout the year, if something on that vision does not serve you any longer, remove it! Don’t be afraid of saying “No”. That way you create space in your life to welcome what serves you even better.

Are you convinced yet of the power of a written vision? Good!

Now let’s see, how you come up with the content of this vision.

 

2. Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize

Nobody can do it all, and that is a fact!

Rather than trying to be a super hero and fail for sure, just be a normal human being who succeeds one step at a time. Don’t set up lofty goals, and that, too, a bunch of them in front of you. That will only overwhelm you, and before you know it, you would have given up on ALL of it without trying your best.

Is that what you want? I hope not.

So what we need to do instead is to focus our motivation, planning and effort on only a limited few.

How do you know what to focus on?

First find out what matters to you the most. When you are clear on that, you can pick the changes that will make the biggest impact in getting you more of that.

For example, let’s say, being healthy matters to you the most. Throughout your experiences in the last year, you have realized that you need to put some effort in bring healthier habits in your lifestyle. Once you know that it matters, ask yourself what that one thing is which if I had, I will be much healthier than today.

Let’s say that your answer to this question is losing 20 pounds in the year.

Just adding this in your vision usually will not inspire you enough mainly because it feels like a lofty goal. So now, your job is to find out one easy change that will help you get some small but quick wins. There is no better motivator than progress itself!

You can start by exercising more or reducing sugar in your diet or avoiding fried food or just by using stairs instead of elevators (lifts). But if you try to do them all, you are bound to feel overwhelmed, and not do any of these.

Instead what you do is, out of all these possibilities – choose what comes the easiest to you, and stick to it. Let mastering that one thing be a part of your vision. You always have an option of adding more as you develop one habit.

Now, your intention of “Being healthy” has reduced to a solid, doable, and achievable plan of “Using stairs instead of elevators every single time.”

There is no confusion about what you are supposed to do every single day. There is no decision making involved because you have already done all the work and decided at the beginning of the year “This is what matters”.

Before you know it, you will see great results mainly because you automatically do it, without much thought!

Think in terms of the “Top number 1” (at the max “Top 3”). The less the number, more focused you will be, and more likely it will be to be achieved.

This is not an essay writing competition. Limiting yourself to “Top 3” forces you to REALLY dig deeper, and find out what you really want, and need.

Sounds like too much work, ha? I thought so, too, at first. But once you get started, you will see how quickly you get the hang of it.

Now that you have written down your intentions and actions, how do you ensure you stay as inspired to achieve it as you are when you wrote it down?

That brings us to what I have found out to be small but effective inspirer.

 

3. One Word Intention

This is your theme of the year. One word that paints a picture of your actions and intentions in front you. It is a pattern or underlying principle you will notice in your vision.

It is the word that describes who you want to be in the next year.

Some one-word-intentions I have seen others setting are “Kind”, “Forgiving”, “Family”, “Declutter”, “Ask”, and “Confident”.

It doesn’t have to mean anything to anybody else but it should have a powerful connotation to you. It should instantly create a picture of your vision in front of you.

It will serve as your light house every time you accept or reject an opportunity or are faced with a dilemma or wondering if the feedback you just received should be acted upon or taken by the grain of salt.

This will help you choose what matters to you the most, and easily let go of what doesn’t serve you anymore, even when it does not come easy. This is the organization criterion to declutter your life!

Setting goals, and planning your actions is great. But referring to them every day is just not possible or if you do it, it’s inefficient.

The system of “One-word-intention” serves as an easy reminder of those goals in your vision without having to look at them every single time.

How do you come up with this word?

Ask yourself what that one adjective is, that is NOT used to describe me right now, but if I were to develop that quality, it will bring me closer to getting what matters to me the most (refer the vision for this).

Is it “confident”? Is it “Loving”? Is it “Patient”? Whatever it is for you, that’s who you commit to be in 2016.

[Note: After you discover your one-word-intention, just go back to your written vision and see if it fits who you want to be. If not, remove or add what’s needed.]

Here’s what I am choosing as my one-word-intention: I want to be an “Essentialist”. Do only what is essential, and remove the fluff. I want 2016 to be the year of setting efficient processes. As Greg McKeowen – the author of the book titled “Essentialism” – says, go for “less, but better”. (As a side note, I highly recommend reading the book.)

After my journey in decluttering the physical space, decluttering my mental space, and systems of work seems like a logical extension.

Every decision I make and action I take, I will ask myself, “Is it essential to what I want to achieve?” If the answer is, “No”, I will have to stay away from it – no matter how enticing the lure is. That’s the skill I want to embody in 2016. Hence the one word intention to constantly remind me of that pursuit is “Essentialist”.

 

Whoosh! Seems like a lot of work, doesn’t it? But I assure you, it is worth it. If you are the kind of a person who wants your next year to be even better than the previous one, this system of creating a written vision and one-word-intention will serve you well.

Instead of leaving it up to the fate that you will make right choices every day, you can invest some time now, create a foundation guideline which will serve you in taking right decisions throughout the year. That way you would have done everything in your power to control the direction of this year.

 

What about you?

When you are ready, share in the comments your one-word-intention. Let that be the promise you make to yourself to commit to your vision, and turning your intentions into reality.

I hope that these 3 tips for setting a clear mindset will help you bring the growth, learning, and progress you want in 2016.

Wishing you a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year!

Image credit: annca at Pixabay