If you’re like me, you love the beginning of a new year…so much possibility lies ahead.
One question keeps coming to mind: How can I make this year awesome?
I love learning about what works (and doesn’t work) for high achievers. Then I try to apply their best practices in my life as a husband, father, and social worker.
Michael Hyatt is a New York Times best selling author and blogger with an über popular course 5 Days To Your Best Year Ever. In Hyatt’s short e-book Achieve What Matters In 2018, he interviews and shares strategies that high achievers and influencers in different industries use in their lives.
In today’s post, I’ve outlined their three most important strategies you can use to start your 2018 right.
You ready? Let’s do this.
Strategy 1: Reflect on the past year
Successful social workers take a strengths-based approach to their lives.
Strengths= Something you do well or effectively.
I suggest that when you spend more time in your strengths, you increase the wins in your life.
Wins= Things and events going right for you.
Most of the wins in my life happen when I spend time using my strengths.
Reflecting (and focusing) on what went right in 2017 is critically important to having more wins in 2018.
Surprisingly, you may have to work harder to tease out the positive events.
Research shows humans have a strong negativity bias:
We tend to remember negative events more intensely and accurately than positive events.
You may need as many as 5 positive memories to counterbalance one negative memory.
😀😀😀😀😀 vs 😞
Make a list with two columns and record your answers to these two questions:
What went right or worked in 2017?
What went wrong or didn’t work in 2017?
Tip: Focus more on the events you were able to directly influence. I avoid listing events that were unavoidable or I had no ability to prevent.
The answers to these questions guide your 2018 planning.
Because you may need more help remembering the positives, think about:
- What brought you joy?
- What did you have fun doing?
- What made you laugh?
Also, scroll through the places where you record your life to trigger memories of your wins and losses. Review each month for what worked and what didn’t.
For example here are some of the points of reference I review during reflection time:
Journal: I journal daily with my Self Journal. It has a page where I record daily wins. Somedays wins are harder to find than others.
Calendar: If I take action on something, it’s almost always on my calendar. I look through each month for reminders of what I did. You may be surprised at how much you forget that happened over the course of a year.
Photos/Videos: The picture albums on my phone and computer are a surprisingly rich source for memories of wins. If you frequent social media, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter may be prime targets for you too.
Watch this year in review video from Google to get you in the reflective mood:
Strategy 2: Eliminate excess (and the darlings)
I heard this idea recently and it stuck with me:
“You can do anything. . . you just can’t do everything.”
Here’s the deal:
No matter how much of a rockstar social worker you are, you cannot do everything you want to do.
Now is the time to be intentional with prioritizing what is really important to you.
If your year looked like mine, it included a multitude of tasks and projects:
Some were enjoyable, some were painful.
Darlings= things you like doing 😎
Haterlings= things you hate doing 😩
If any actions helped move you toward achieving a goal, keep rocking them in 2018.
But if any of those endeavors didn’t bring you a win, they gotta go.
The bottom line is, whether haterling or darling, if it is working for you… keep doing it.
Bestselling author Jeff Goins shares insight in Hyatt’s e-book:
Eliminating the haterlings that don’t help you make sense. Duh.
The real challenge:
Eliminating the darlings that aren’t delivering the results you want.
- Binge watching your favorite shows (Stranger Things on Netflix😉) when you want to lose twenty pounds.
- Invitations to serve on a board or directors or as a room parent when you are already fully committed to other projects.
- Regularly sleeping late instead of waking early to pray, meditate, and journal.
I’ve turned down two projects this week that would be fun to work on, but aren’t aligned with my current priorities. Be really ruthless here. It’s the only way to make progress on what matters most.
When deciding what to eliminate, I found this maxim helpful: If it’s not a ‘Heck Yes’, then it’s a ‘NO’.
Strategy 3: Schedule the year
Spend some focused time planning 2018 before the new year gets fully kicked off. Jen and I are committing several hours over the next few days to map out the coming year.
We will think through the biggest goals we want to accomplish in 2018: as a family, individually, and for Social Worker Success.
Focus on the hardest edges first. Outline dates and important events that are already set.
We are parents and work day jobs, so school and work calendars influence a lot of the flow for our year.
You probably aren’t too surprised by these strategies. Most of the suggestions border on obvious. I’ve found just because the answer is obvious, doesn’t mean I actually do it or it comes easily.
- Make a time for reflection.
- Identify wins and losses.
- Do more of what is working.
- Eliminate what isn’t working.
- Realize you cannot do everything.
- Eliminate your darlings.
- Schedule your priorities.
- Breakdown your year into manageable chunks.
- See your big picture so you can act with purpose.
Go crush your 2018!