The four questions below will help you make this your best year ever. Grab a journal or open a new document. Then jot down some answers to these questions.
1. What Made You Proud?
As you look back, what do you feel really good about? What accomplishments make you proud? These could be related to work, fitness, personal, family, whatever. Take it in and soak it up. You did some good stuff this year!
As I look back at the past year, I’m proud:
- that my wife and I got to fulfill one of my wife’s lifelong dreams by visiting beautiful Switzerland.
- of the series of posts I did early this year in which I coached author Gary Neal Hansen through the process of writing a book proposal.
- of designing a new header for my blog and, later, developing a new tagline.
- of writing and launching my first book, Do Your Art.
- to have co-created with Jonathan Milligan my first substantial information product, How to Blog Your Way to a Bestselling Book.
- of the presentation I developed and delivered at ReWrite 2013 in Austin.
- to see over a thousand people subscribe to this blog!
2. What Do You Regret?
It can be difficult to look at the tough stuff. But it’s important to get some closure on the past before you start dreaming about the future.
A lack of closure can impede forward momentum. So take stock of any regrets you have. Just be honest, don’t make excuses, and get them down.
As I look back, I regret:
- how often I was stymied by what to do next with my personal blogging and business. Too often I felt overwhelmed and filled with anxiety about what to do next.
- that some weeks I did not publish a blog post.
- how much time I wasted with frivolous nonsense (Facebook, needless web browsing, etc.)
- that after losing a bunch of weight, I put half of it back on. GRRRRR!
3. What S.M.A.R.T. Goals Do You Have for This Year?
Using the above as a base from which to draw as you think about this year, what goals do you have? Make sure your goals are what Michael Hyatt calls S. M. A. R. T.: Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Time-bound.
I think it’s a good idea to develop at least seven to ten SMART goals for the year. Following are some of mine:
- Speak publicly once a month this year.
- Get down to [insert my ideal weight] by March 1.
- Redesign my blog by April 1.
- Go skydiving by September 1.
- Remodel the upstairs bathroom by the end of the year.
4. What Would Blow Your Mind If It Happened?
Now it’s time to get crazy. Forget the R in SMART, and let yourself dream wildly about the future.
Why? Because, and you might just have to trust me here, there is real power in writing crazy dreams down. Simply writing them down makes them much more likely to happen.
It would blow my mind if . . .
- I became a New York Times bestselling author.
- I guest-posted for Jeff Goins and Michael Hyatt.
- I started a membership site that hosted a bustling, creative, and supportive community.
- by the time my children are adults, they think of me as their hero.
(I heard about the value of asking this question originally in Todd Henry’s book The Accidental Creative. Also, here’s a post from Todd that includes a discussion of the question.)
Nothing to It But to Do It!
All right. It’s your turn!
I challenge you to write in the comments at least one line in response to a question above. Doing so will make this year better than it would be otherwise.