Most people are amped up heading into the New Year. If you’ve been running full speed ahead all year, you likely had 2-4 days (even a week!) to recover from the effort you put into the year. Instead of doing what the masses do, expending excess energy on “partying” you should spend your time coming up with a game plan for 2016. On a serious note, mentally, we’re already in 2016.
The books are closed on the year so here is what we would recommend.
1) No Goals. Goals are not useful. They cause emotional highs and lows that make it much more difficult to take advantage of the enormous *momentum* you have built within that aspect of your life. Lets say your goal is to make $200K next year, and you hit that “goal” by September… Do you simply quit? Do you have an emotional high followed by a let down of “what’s next”? This is not healthy.
Instead you want to get “better” in every important aspect of your life: Health, relationships, finance and anything else that is important to *You*.
If you’re interested in having an emotional up and down roller coaster, just go and waste your money at a motivational seminar where everyone gets hyped up about all the “crazy cool stuff” they are going to accomplish. Come to think of it, the count down on New Years Eve is tantamount to an emotional peak and valley!
2) Review 2015 Expectations: We do this every year. If you write in a journal you will have clear remarks every single month on how your progress shaped up. In our case, it was extremely *non-linear* (real improvement is always non-linear). We saw a boring first three months, a massive event in month four followed by a chaotic next five months followed by an abrupt easing and settling at a higher level than 5 months prior.
In stock terms it was flat for 3 months a gap up and away followed by a flattish tape.
Here is how your 2015 wrap up should look.
Step 1: Review the items you wanted to improve upon. If you did not make *any* progress on all of them you can safely say it was a failed year. We doubt anyone like that reads this blog, but if so, that’s definitely the queue to exit. You should rank each item you wanted to improve upon with a 1-5 ranking system (five being the best) and see how you did.
Step 2: Why was the progress better or worse than you expected? Write out the real reasons, both the good and the bad to keep yourself accountable. What did you actually do, what actually happened and why did it work or not work.
Step 3: Write down what you learned from the ones that did not go well. If you want to win, you’re going to lose a lot. Remind yourself that you didn’t really lose by trying, you just found one way that *doesn’t work* and will find a new way that *does*.
Step 4: Do an expense and income recap, we recommend Personal Capital. A full year view. You’ve already reviewed your entire year, now it is time to tie up loose ends by looking at the entire financial performance since you have numbers to back up the data. Once you know where all of your money was spent you can make a few thematic changes to reduce costs and increase revenue. This does not mean you become a frugal person. You simply want to know where you’re money is going and see if you can make basic changes to save time, save money and more importantly *free you up to make more money*.
3) Listed Action Steps for 2016: Now that we’ve broken down the goal myth, that’s in the gutter, lets move onto the “getting better” section. In order to get better you need to have specific things you are going to *do*. It is not intelligent to simply say “I will have X”.
We don’t sell dreams over here.
How are you going to obtain X? Lets brainstorm some ideas:
Financial: You are selling your fitness product in Canada and it is doing extremely well. An easy similar demographic is the USA… Well then step one for the new year is to expand your marketing into the USA. You don’t know how much revenue you will bring in but it *should* increase. Then you have step two of targeting a new demographic, say people in ages of 18-25 when you primarily focused on people in their thirties. So on and so forth. Come up with five steps.
Health: Some of you guys are already in great shape, even then there is room to improve. The biggest room in the world is always the room for improvement. If you’re already where you want to be weight wise and diet wise… Then you may need to improve your efficiency. How many hours did you spend working out last year? Can you condense the hours and minutes but see a 0% drop off in your actual looks and performance? Try it. If you can do that, then you should choose a new segment to improve upon. Such as flexibility, endurance and exercises performed perfectly (to keep your brain engaged). Come up with three.
Relationships: “I want more friends” is not a good idea. Similarly I want more “business contacts” is not a good idea. How are you going to meet the people you want in your life? Are they going to be in the same places you frequented in 2015? Is there a specific *person* you should target? Once you answer these questions you will have three more steps.
This should take a decent amount of time. And. By the time you are done you will have a blueprint for success in 2016.
4) Sample Template: It may be useful for an example so here is one of ours.
Financial: 1) Expand market outside of domestic sales (currently almost all revenue is domestic) by targeting country Z in January; 2) Target clients named X, Y and Z (calendar invite to call them on phone) on specific dates, 3) Sell new product XYZ to new demographic and turn a profit or break even, launch date in March, 4) stop spending time selling to xyz demographic who do not convert after X months (learned this the hard way in 2015), 5) launch product on blog if X users and X email subscribers are met – December 2016 at best.
Health: 1) enroll in a yoga class beginning April 2016 given product launch will be the priority, also book three active release therapy sessions for the month, 2) purchase five different skin care products (already researched) and see the impact over two months each, 3) no longer eat lunch at desk, vitamin D deficiency is a real issue and common especially if you work on Wall Street, will leave email tasks for lunch held outside.
Relationship: 1) find one more person to help, currently stand at three people per author while adding a fourth limit to 4 hours of total time spent per week 2) fly to country X in July to personally meet a new contact for projects in the future, 3) slight *increase* in nightlife activities as too much time was spent staring at a computer screen in 2015 (probably won’t happen!), 4) we have a basic fourth here, which is to send two personal thank you letters to guys we are modeling our lives after (instead of one)
5) Book or Girlfriend: If you’re in a relationship we’re happy to hear it. Go ahead and spend some time with friends/family at the end as well. If you’re single we recommending reading an *entire book*. You will have a whole book under your belt right when you enter 2016. While everyone else is up late at night damaging brain cells you’ll be up late at night expanding your brain cells (doing the opposite as usual).
This is the general template we use every year, feel free to make it even more rigorous. Given that you’ll have three full days, there is no reason why you can’t 1) review your progress, 2) make a plan of attack and 3) read a full book.
If you’re really ambitious, feel free to write out your basic outline in the comments. And. By the end of 2016… You’ll look back at 2015 and say “It was all a dream…”