Column: Setting a New Year’s vision

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It’s that time of year again. In between shopping, wrapping and eating, you’ll begin to look back at 2015 and think about what you can do differently in 2016.

The next thing you know, it’s the middle of March and you’re knee deep into 50 plus hour weeks responding to the challenges of 2016. One evening on your drive home from the office, you’ll quietly proclaim, “Next year I’ll plan.” Don’t let that happen this year. There’s still plenty of time. Here’s a handful of simple strategies to get you started.

First, start off by defining what success looks like to you. If you don’t, you’ll ending up building a vision that’s designed to impress other people. Here’s my definition – “The extent to which I use my unique abilities, strengthen meaningful relationships, and enjoy the journey.”

Next, start brainstorming a list of accomplishments you’d like to achieve in the upcoming year. Don’t worry if these are good/bad goals. Just get everything on a piece of paper. I’d utilize the following categories to stay organized – financial relationships, health/fitness, professional and fun.

Now that you’ve got some ideas, it’s time to make certain that you can actually tell if the goal was achieved in 2016. In other words, review each item on your list and make sure that it is measurable. For example, if you wrote down “get in shape” you’re going to need to define exactly what that means in as much detail as possible.

Finally, you should narrow this list down to the five that are the most important because a list of 13 will never get accomplished and it will only frustrate you ensuring that you never go through this process again. To do this, ask yourself a handful of questions about each goal including – will it utilize my unique abilities? Is it realistic? Will I enjoy/appreciate the journey? Will the journey help me to develop valuable skills?

Once you have the top five, write them on a note card and look at it every day.

It may seem too simple to work, but like most valuable lessons, the easier the better.

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