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new year

239: How to plan the best year ever

If you don’t plan your year, you can’t grow your business strategically. Find out my favorite (simple!) tips for planning to make this year your best year ever at TaraSwiger.com/podcast239

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How can you plan to have the best year? Not just get everything done, but have a year you actually enjoy?

It is both important to reach the goals you have set, and enjoy your time. What’s the point in building a business if you aren’t enjoying yourself?

You’re never going to feel like you’re done in business.

You’ll always be changing, growing, setting goals. THAT is what building a business is. So be sure that you enjoy the process of moving towards the goal, as much as you think you’ll enjoy actually reaching the goal.

A couple tips as you sit down to do your New Year Planning:

1. How do you want to feel?

How do you want to feel as you work on your goal? How do you want to feel when you reach your goal? (Check out the Desire Map for more on feelings + goals).
You can bring these feelings into your planning – how can you feel this feeling RIGHT NOW?
It can be hard to plan, if you feel scared or compressed. So before you plan, get in a great mood.

2. Make a list of the things that make you feel how you want to feel.

Don’t worry about how it integrates with your work, just make the list! You’ll start to generate ideas for how this will integrate with your work.

3. Review what worked last year.

You aren’t starting from scratch, you already KNOW stuff! Remember what you learned last year, what worked and what didn’t, and be sure to apply it to this year.

4. Narrow it down.

Everything is not equally important. Pick one thing that will help you feel the way you want to feel. Pick one thing that will make the biggest impact (first domino). And do that first.

Need help getting clear on where you want to go and then turning it into an actionable plan? Map Your Business guides you through all of the tips above, and you end up with a doable plan, followed by monthly review and quarterly goal-setting.

Past New Year’s episodes:

How to listen

  • You can subscribe to it on iTunes (If you do, leave a review!)
  • You can listen to it using the player above or download it.
  • Subscribe or listen via Stitcher (or subscribe in whatever you use for podcasts – just search “Explore Your Enthusiasm” and it should pop up!).

Find all the podcast episodes here.

The one resolution you should make (and how to do it)

What is the ONE thing you should focus on in the New Year, if you want to grow your business, improve your marketing, and make more money? Today we’re going to look at what your #1 resolution in the new year should be and 5 steps to actually DO it. Listen to this episode at TaraSwiger.com/podcast137 and get a FREE worksheet to help you resolve to be more consistent!

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What is the ONE thing you should focus on in the New Year, if you want to grow your business, improve your marketing, and make more money? Today we’re going to look at what your #1 resolution in the new year should be and 5 steps to actually DO it.

Links Mentioned

Wanna get more consistent in the New Year? Enter your e-mail address in the box below this post to get a FREE worksheet to help you do it!

How to listen

  • You can subscribe to it on iTunes (If you do, leave a review!)
  • You can listen to it using the player above or download it.
  • Subscribe or listen via Stitcher (or subscribe in whatever you use for podcasts – just search “Explore Your Enthusiasm” and it should pop up!).

Find all the podcast episodes here.

Dedicate + Release: the balance of map-making

dedicate

This week we're map-making – breaking down a destination (place we want to get to) into doable to-dos, and I'm sensing the tension between single-minded focus and going-with-the-flow. So let's talk about how to hold the tension, without falling into the what-about-this? swirl.

Once you have a destination + a map:

Commit yourself.
Be dedicated.
Go all in.
Do everything it takes to figure out how, specifically, you could get there.
Be willing to do whatever it takes (with integrity) to get there.

If you can't imagine giving it your all, take a break, step back. Locate your enthusiasm. And create a destination around THAT.

(If you can't find any enthusiasm, honey, you need to take a break. Rest, read, sip tea, snuggle…and then when you feel energized come back to this.)

 

From your whole-hearted dedicated space, remember:

The destination does not define you.
It doesn't indicate your worth.
Reaching it will not (necessarily) make you better, smarter, richer.
Reaching it or not reaching it doesn't matter nearly as much as dedicating yourself to a direction and then moving with intentional action to it, day after day.

It's not about the destination, it's about identifying what you want and how you could get there.*

*Tweet this 

 

As Danielle LaPorte puts it, “Want it with all your heart, but don't be attached to getting it.”

So why bother?
Because you'll never get anywhere without a dedicated, doable plan. It's not that you have to complete the map, exactly as you imagine it. It's that you learn as you go…and a map tells you how to start going.

 

The power of your own map is twofold:

1. It forces you to prioritize. Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest? No,that's no longer the question. The question is: what actions will get you closer to your destination?
2. You learn by doing. Your map provides a list of things for you to try and experiment with.

And that's where all the learning, growing (even making money) happens:

Do something towards the destination.
Pay attention to what works.
Adjust.
Note what doesn't work (or feels bad/exhausting/overwhelming).
Adjust.

Without the destination in mind, you wouldn't know what to try. But if you stay too attached to getting it, you don't learn the lessons that come with adjusting.*

It's true! All that adjusting might result in:

Not reaching your destination.
Deciding you don't want to go to that destination.
Bypassing that destination in pursuit of a new, better-suited-to-you destination.

“A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.”
-Bruce Lee

 

 

What's your destination for this quarter? What has it taught you about getting there?

 

*It can be hard to take a break to reassess and adjust. That's why I built it into the Solo Mission – so you don't have to remember it on your own. 

 

 

 

How to have your best year ever

BESTYEAR

I'm not one for resolutions. (Whoa, I wrote that post exactly 6 years ago!)
Instead, I create flexible maps to get me where I want to go.

Having a great year is a combination of having amazing dreams and then having supportive, realistic plans to make them happen.*

*Tweet this! 

But where to get started? Take the time to think it through and write it all out (I use Leonie's Workbook + the Chart Your Stars Guide). Take a few days to work through these soul-stirring questions and then…

  1. Pick a word or phrase to guide you. I think of it as a kind of lesson plan for my coming year. My word helps me make decisions, inspires me to explore, and helps me spot the lessons I'm learning.
    In order to be effective and inspiring, your word needs to be intimately related to your North Stars (the guiding values of your life). We identify North Stars in both Solo Missions + the Starship, because they will guide everything else you do – the destinations you want to go, the maps you make, all of it!
    I haven't quite picked this year's word yet, but I signed up for Ali's One Little Word workshop to help me work with it (and play with it) all year long.
  2. Make it doable. Big dreams and lofty plans are delightful, but stuff gets DONE in the daily work of to-do lists + schedules. Make a map (or several) to break your big destinations down into mile-by-mile driving directions.
  3. Make a PLAN for support. Surround yourself with people who know how to do what you want to do and people who actually DO what they want to do. If you don't know many in real life, you'll have to make a plan for finding the support you need. Don't just wait for it to come to you!
    I use the Starship for my support, and I love providing encouragement, accountability, and real-world perspective to the explorers inside.

 

 

I had a year FULL of dreams coming true (new partnerships, new opportunities and most of all – having deep conversations with explorers)…and it all taught me the same thing: Things happen when you believe it's possible and then follow through. 

(Want a peek at my daily/weekly planning after I have the big destination set? Check it out here.)

 

What's your plan for the daring adventure of 2014?

PS. The Starship closes to new members TOMORROW. Beam up here!

 

 

 

Thematic

I'm not one for resolutions.

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In the past, I've picked words to guide me through the year, to sum up my goals.

But this year, the year ahead feels sprawling. Too huge and unknown and exciting to slap a word or two on it.
Instead of picking a word or goal for the entire year, I'm picking a goal for each quarter (more about this in today's SparklePointer).

But for the whole year?
I'm repeating something from last year: allowing a theme to come to me.

The difference between a theme and resolutions?

Resolutions, goals, visions = action, grasping, finish lines

Themes are just there. They define a period time, whether we want them to or not.

For me, picking a theme means bringing awareness to something. To notice when I need it, to notice when I'm blessed with it.

And the best themes aren't picked. They picked me.

An example

In 2010, during an exercise with Havi, the word PEACE came to me.
And I was annoyed. I am not a person who seeks peace. I seek adventure and challenges and struggle.

Oh. Yeah.

That is why I needed peace.
For the rough times. For the struggles. For the challenges. For the adventures.

And 2010 brought me plenty of opportunities to look for peace, to find it unexpectedly, to cultivate peace in an unpeaceful time.

This year

Despite avoiding it, despite wanting something more sparkly or exciting, I got SAFETY.

Oh, blah. How boring!
And so expected after the recent unpleasantness.

But that's the word.

But what does it DO?

Knowing the word is like having a study guide. I know what I need to pay attention to, even though I have no idea what's coming.

To get a handle on it I start by writing about the qualities that SAFETY includes. What does it mean for ME?

And then, I just pay attention.

I notice the word.
I notice when I feel the feeling (or feel the distinct LACK of it).

In confusing, uncertain or hard times, I ask myself:

  • “How can I bring the qualities of Safety into this situation?”
  • “Where is Safety here?”
  • “What small thing can I do to make this feel more safe?”

This isn't about fear.

Or playing it safe.
Or avoiding risks.

This is about building a safe space, within myself, to act from.

To brunch with.
Like a comfy house in the Shire that you set out from to go on great adventures. Its presence (no matter how far away) comforts you on the cold nights.
Or, for a different geeky metaphor, it's a space station. It's DS9 and my adventures happen with the Away Team, who stays safe as long as they're in contact with the station.

Does your new year have a theme?

Better yet, does it have a geeky metaphor? Tell me about it in the comments!