Success comes in many forms. Make sure you are working toward your definition and not someone else’s this year. Below are seven tips to aid you in that endeavor.
1. Confirm your Values. Where you spend your time and money provides a clue of what you currently value. Need to make a change? Commit to figuring it out before making plans you already do not believe are worthwhile. Confirm your top four values, and then stack rank them. Values help you make decisions.
2. Identify your Quest. Give thought to your purpose or mission. Too often, people get hung up trying to figure out what theirs is. They probably already know; they are just afraid of it. It is okay to be scared; it makes it thrilling. If you honestly believe you do not know your purpose, make that your quest for the year ahead.
3. List 100 Goals that Support your Values and Quest. What do you want to do, have or be over the next several years? Capture everything that enters your mind. Go for 100 because the first 30 are going to be cliche. Your actual wants, the ones you seldom admit, come out after the first 60 or so.
4. Create a Master Plan for the year. Review your list of 100 goals and pick eight high leverage ones you feel reasonably confident you could accomplish in one year. Make them goals that cover multiple dimensions of your life, not just your career or finances. You will probably be overly ambitious, which is far better than the alternative. These will give you focus.
5. Assign Success Measures. Know what success looks like and figure out how to measure your progress toward it. Think of units (how much?) over time (by when?). Find a place to keep track of your measurements regularly.
6. Predetermine your Celebrations. Decide ahead of time what milestones you will celebrate and how you will celebrate their success — reward progress, not just achievement.
7. Find an Accountability Partner. Run through each item on this list with an accountability partner. You’ll have a strong temptation to rely on a spouse, a trusted friend or a loved one. You can, but know they are likely to dilute some of your goals with well-meaning but dream-killing questions. Phrases like, “Didn’t you try that already?” or “Why would you want to do that?” are deceptively insidious. Better to work with someone who expects you to succeed. If you have the means, pay someone to kick your ass. You’ll get faster results.