Last month I attended an annual planning retreat with my Mastermind Group. It was, as it has been for the last four years, an amazing two days of connection with them and with myself. And I came away with a truly awesome plan for 2011, complete with my yearly theme (Relax and receive the blessings”), the identification of he 4 core areas I plan to focus on next year, and clear areas of focus for each one of those. Plus I have a list of short term and long term actions that I’m committing to that I can refer back to again and again.
I want this level of clarity (and peace) for everyone I care about. You’re on that list. Here’s a bit of a blueprint for you to get what I’ve got.
Set Aside the Time to Plan
If you’re like me and lots of people I’ve met, this is truly the hardest part. We’re all so busy keeping busy that we literally can’t just stop and take time to plan. Well, you have to. There’s no way around this step. I set aside about a half day just to prep for our retreat and we spent two full, eight hour days planning. Plus, I scheduled a half day each quarter to do my quarterly plan. I didn’t used to, and then I tried it for the first time in 2009 and it changed my life. So go to your calendar now and set aside the time sometime in the next few weeks. At least one full day.
Review Your Previous Year
I make a list of all the wins from my previous year and all the things that weren’t so great. I call them hits and misses. Go back through your calendar and remember your year. Celebrate the hits and decide what you’ll take away in the form of learning from the misses.
Identify Your Seeds Planted from 2010
This step is easy. What projects did you start in 2010 that will carry forward into 2011.
Identify Your Future Ideas for 2011
I keep an ongoing file for this, both on my computer and in my physical office. When I get an idea I can’t act on immediately, I put it in my future ideas folder and let it go, knowing it will be there for me when my next planning session (either quarterly or annual) comes up. What ideas do you want to implement in 2011?
Decide on Your Theme for the Year
We do a really cool exercise for this that involves imagining that you’re sitting alone in a peaceful place, with nothing but the clothes you’re wearing. Pretend you don’t have any of the markers or usual roles that define you…you’re not a mom, a wife, an employee, a consultant, a daughter, a PTA president. You’re just you, sitting there alone. And then ask yourself, who are you? What one word comes to mind? For me, this year, the word was “blessed.” And I incorporated that word into my theme for the year.
Choose Four to Five Focus Areas
This is where the rubber starts to meet the road. These are the areas you want to develop/dedicate your time to next year. Mine were my direct sales training business, a new project I’m launching called “The Loving Divorce” (more on that soon), home and family, and spirituality.
Plan Out Those Areas
Now, for each of those areas, write down every single thing you plan to do/implement/explore.
This is a very simplified version of what took me three days total to accomplish (and it’s still not complete), but it’s a good start. Now all you have to do is actually do it. That’s the hard part. I promise, if you do, you’ll have a completely different, more fulfilling 2011.