The Plan for the New Year

"The Plan for the New Year"

Every New Year I knock out a plan.  You probably do as well.  Some of the plans are simple.  Some are detailed.  Some of them have all the elements of a "perfect" plan.  Others lack them completely.  Let's dig in.

A New Years Resolution could be considered a plan.  It's usually a lousy plan, but it's a plan.  It's always a change in behavior that needs serious work to implement.  They NEVER happen just because a new year arrived.  Here are a couple of mine from the past.  They all begin the same way:  "STARTING JANUARY FIRST I WILL...."

  • Stop Smoking.  Thank God I've finally beaten that addiction, but it didn't happen with January first.  Actually - that's a good story for another email. 
  • Lose Weight.  Sure...  Weight loss clinics are busy the first week(s) of a new year - but they go back to normal soon after that.
  • Go to the Gym Every Day!  Laughable, isn't it?

The next type of plan is the "BY THE END OF NEXT YEAR" plan which is worse than the New Years Resolution.  Worse because it pushes off the reality check for twelve whole months.  At least when you screw up your New Years Resolution - you can just go back to the way things were for the next 358 days.  You've only lost out on a week.  Using this plan allows you to continue to hope that a miracle will happen and your "end of the year" wish can still be fulfilled.  An easy example of this type of plan is:  "By the end of next year - I'll increase my income by 20%".  Ha!  Those of us that are business owners are pretty dang happy if nothing screws us up so that our income didn't drop by 20%.  

Lets get SMART goals  discussed and out of the way, shall we?  If you don't know - SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Abracadabra, Right on Time.  I have never met anyone who actually knew the full acronym's meaning.  They always say:  "SMART is Specific, Measurable, uh, uh, a couple of other things and then Time."  My interpretation reminds us that:  "You have to have very specific and measurable goals before you say "Abracadabra" and then right on time - your wish appears."  Looking back, I guess "BY THE END OF NEXT YEAR" actually fits as a SMART goal.  Huh!  Who knew?  I know that you purists just love your SMART goals.  Me?  Not so much.  

I remember that one year where I took every aspect of my life and wrote out very specific things that I would do to support and move me toward great things on each aspect.  The aspects were certainly from some 20 year old "life coach" who framed the world for the unenlightened.  Or, I may have seen them all on the cover of my daughter's December edition of Cosmopolitan.  Either way, I remember making a SIX PAGE list of all the amazing things I would accomplish during the next year.  I vividly remember finding that list at the end of that year (when I was about to create the next year's plan).  I remember looking at it and realizing that I hadn't come close to anything that I had listed.  I had tried...  But I remember giving myself a "D+" for that year.  Sounds like when I took Calculus the same year as Organic Chemistry.....  

Obviously, specificity was NOT the best way to go.  So the following year I wrote out INTENTIONS.  Because - what the heck - if we're going to move away from SMART goals, we should at least have something that sounds nice.  I INTEND to do this.  I INTEND to do that.  For some reason - these didn't work out really well - but at least when they didn't happen - it was only an intention...  Life after failure was much easier. 

Last year, a couple of friends introduced me to the book "TRACTION".  It has encouraged me to have a three year snapshot followed by one year "GOALS" which are then broken up into quarterly "ROCKS".  This way - you only have a few "ROCKS" that you focus on the three months until you realize that you didn't do them - and then you get to reset for another quarter.  You get to do this four times until you end up at the end of the following year in exactly the same spot as you are now.  I'm really excited to get this underway and test it out.  I get together with these friends once a week via zoom.  Last week the two of them hadn't created their TRACTION PLAN - I think that they are cleverly going to have "FINISH THE PLAN" as the end of the year's goal.  Each quarter's "ROCKS" are to think about the plan a little more.   

I'm very excited about 2021 because I have a strong belief that the world in general can't get much worse than it did in 2020.  AND...  Even if it does get worse - I think we've been conditioned to handle it fairly well.  So - We've got that going for us.... Thank you 2020!

Finally - I had planned to find a perfect "PLANNING" picture for this edition.  Having failed that - I took a nice picture from my back deck this morning that showed how lovely the trees are after a brief overnight snow.  You see - everything works out.  It always does.

Happy Planning!