2017 was one of the hardest years of my life. For a variety of reasons I struggled through the entire year both personally and professionally. It was a year of loss, struggle, change, tough decisions and ultimately healing. I learned a great deal about life-giving relationships, restoration at its core and what I truly valued.

But when I finally closed the doors on 2017, I was able to do it with an exclamation point rather than a question mark. How? Finishing well.

With the beginning of 2018 comes a clean slate. We have this unique opportunity to proactively plan for what is to come the next 12 months and beyond. And, I believe there are three crucial questions you should be asking yourself this month that will determine how the remainder of the year goes. Want your most transformative year to date? Set aside some time to intentionally walk through these questions and answer for yourself.

  1. What will be my focus? For the last five years, I’ve selected a word that would serve as my theme for the year. Instead of making New Year’s resolutions that would be broken before the end of January, I decided on an area of my life that I wanted to change in some way – improve because it needed attention. Some of my words have been: serve, simplify, health and intention. For 2017, my word was fun. You can see how well that turned out for me. Instead of a word for 2018, I’ve decided to determine a focus. 2018 is going to be the year I have a life-giving and nourishing home. For me everything begins at home. We’re going to talk a great deal on this blog about the dynamic between work and home. I always see a connection between my home and every other aspect of my life: career, relationships, service, faith and wellness. I’ve also learned that nourishing others nourishes me. What is that area for you? Where can you focus to build a transformative year? How can your passion fuel success?
  2. Who will be my herd? Last year our client and my beloved friend, Jen Hatmaker, shared the story of a female elephant herd. Essentially when one female elephant needs to be in the middle – she’s delivering a baby, or injured in some way and needs to heal – the other female elephants back in and surround her so that she is protected. During my tumultuous 2017, I quickly learned who was in my herd. My neighbor, Alicia, that lives up the street and is also in our life group at church, took me on walks in our neighborhood. Those conversations are still a highlight from last year. My executive coach, Michele Cushatt, walked through every step of a transitional business year. Another baseball mom, MaryLeigh, fed me and my family (and I mean more than just food) on days when I just couldn’t. She also brought a great deal of fun to every weekend at the baseball fields. Who are those people for you? It might be a mentor you admire, a therapist who steps you through recovery in some way, a close girlfriend who knows your most intimate thoughts and with whom you can be completely vulnerable. What are you dreaming for 2018? Are you turning a side-hustle into your full-time? Publishing a book that you’ve worked on for a very long time? Leaving your new baby with a daycare so you can return to work? Your herd for 2018 is crucial to your success. Find them, name them specifically and determine how they play into your ultimate goal.
  3. How can I map out my year? One of my mentors, clients and most productive people I know, Michael Hyatt, taught me years ago when I worked for him at Thomas Nelson, about time-blocking. I use this organizational tool to achieve efficient and productive weeks. But when you are planning for a transformative year, you have to think beyond your weekly to do list. Michael encourages an Annual Time Block. He also has a new Full Focus Planner that is a tremendous tool for annual planning. As 2017 was coming to a close, I set aside a full day to plan my 2018. I walked through Amy Porterfield’s 2018 Planning Roadmap as a guide. She walked me through six steps to plan my first six months of the year. One of my favorite steps was when she asked me to name my non-negotiables. Regardless of the resource you use, here’s what I’ve come to understand: you must plan for the transformation. It’s not going to happen by chance. Considering my focus that 2018 is going to be the year I have a life-giving and nourishing home, I have mapped out 25 dates to have with my husband, Matt, and 12 dates to have one on one with each of my sons, Dixon and Thackston. In order to have a life-giving and nourishing home, I also know I need to care for my overall wellness. Rather than making a New Year’s resolution to lose 20 pounds, I’ve mapped out a body care plan for the year, which includes me reading (and implementing) advice from Kelly LeVeque’s book, Body Love. It’s the beginning of January. You have time. Be intentional with it. Map out your year physically on your calendar. Take one day (or a few hours over the course of a week) and plan for your transformative year.

I’m walking into 2018 with big goals. I’m challenging myself, my team and my family. But, in order for 2018 to be transformative, there has to be intention behind it. There has to be a master plan. What do you want your focus to be for 2018? Who are you going to surround yourself with as a part of your herd? How are you going to map it out on your calendar? I can’t wait to hear all about it. Share with us your plans and progress using #Transformative2018.

    AUTHOR: Heather Adams
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