As a long-time entrepreneur, I face each new year with a bit of trepidation. No matter how good the previous year was, you start from scratch on January 1. Last year was stressful for many reasons and we are all looking forward to a kinder, gentler 2021. So for the new year, I’m turning to the 5 Ws + How. These questions are attributed to Aristotle and often referred to in journalism. The answers are the basics of information gathering and problem solving. Think about your life as the energy of a beautiful firework with you in the middle. Time to plan to distribute your energy where it will benefit you most. Record or journal on your answers and look at the whole picture, both personally and professionally. First, evaluate your last year, celebrate your successes and take note of improvements you want to make.
Think about the people in your life: how they help you and you help them. Who is the most important? If 2020 taught us anything it was the need for supportive relationships. For many years, I have believed that all relationships should be two-way. Perhaps it’s time to reevaluate and reallocate your time: more with some people and less with others? When it comes to career and business, decide who you enjoy working with and who increases your likelihood of success. Consider co-workers, employees, clients and suppliers.
Your values determine priorities which create your goals. What do you want to be different in 2021? Make a list of both “What you want?” and, equally important, “What you don’t want?”. Always, but especially during a pandemic, only list things that are in your control. If you have financial goals, prioritize by assigning a dollar value to how much it will save or add to your bottom line. Maybe it is not about money but what brings you the most joy.
For a goal to be attainable, it is necessary to have a timeline otherwise it can float out there forever. How many resolutions appear on your list year after year? Note every goal under a priority, estimate how much time it will take to complete and assign a finish date.
This can be a question of location or emphasis. Where are you considering making a move? It could be a physical move, a job or life change. Where would you most like to spend your time? Where do you want to be in 5, 10 or 20 years?
I hope you all had time for some introspection in 2020. Questioning what you value helps determine your why. Values set your priorities which become your goals. If your values don’t come first, you will not be happy with the outcome.
Now is the time to list action items to achieve your goals. Break them down into baby steps but give them a deadline by priority. When you are a business owner or in a demanding career, there is a feeling that the only way to achieve more success is by working ALL the time. Not true. You have one life. How can you work smarter, not harder? How do you find or expand time with the right people to support your life vision? How can you reduce stress?
It has been proven that you are more likely to reach a goal if you write it down and refer back frequently. Here’s to having all your dreams come true in 2021. Cheers!