Four Steps to Make 2019 Your Most Focused Year Ever
One of the hardest years of my life, 2017, was followed by one of the most glorious years to date. 2018 brought restoration, joy, growth and connection. When we closed the year, Matt and I looked at each other and shared specifically how grateful we were for the incredible year.
Why are some years so life-giving and some so, well, depleting? Why are we so glad to kick some years to the curb and get them the hell over and others we want to marinate over every moment? Of course we can’t control every moment, every circumstance, but I’m living proof that when we enter a new year with intention, with focus and a plan, the outcomes are startlingly different. And, as Walt Disney said, “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”
With the onset of 2019, your social media feeds are likely full of friends’ “word of the year,” their New Year’s resolutions, their hopes and goals for this calendar year. And with this clean slate comes a blank canvas for which to paint a new trajectory. It’s like the first day of school when all your notebooks are new and your pencils are sharpened and you’re determined to make the All A Honor Roll (or at least, that was true for this Enneagram 1). So, where do you begin? How do you determine your focus for the year? You may remember last year I wrote a blog “Want a Transformative 2018? Ask Yourself These 3 Questions.” The first of those three questions is “What will be my focus?” But practically speaking, how do you sit down and determine yours? Let’s walk through how I came to mine for 2019.
What Worked For Me:
In November of both 2017 and 2018, I held a strategic planning session with our Choice team. This past November, I asked my Executive Coach Michele Cushatt to prepare the agenda and lead the day. The word clarity emerged as the theme for 2018 for Choice and Michele was a significant factor, asking the hard questions, distilling the message we were sharing and walking us through next steps. It’s so helpful to have outside perspective, isn’t it? Well, as a part of our day with Michele back in November, she and I spent several hours together planning for Heather Adams holistically – the mom, the wife, the CEO, the mentor, the Christian, the friend. And, one thing I always love about my time with Michele is I walk away with homework (I know, I know).
Michele’s 2019 Planning Homework:
- Create my Inspired Life Mission Statement – what am I on this planet to do? What lights a fire in my belly? What is my purpose, my mission? Be specific. This is something you should LOVE LOVE LOVE when you read it aloud. And when you share it with others, they should confirm it fits you perfectly.
- Answer these questions as it relates to that mission:
- Who do I do it for?
- What do I hope to accomplish?
- How do I walk it out?
- Where is my time best spent in all the areas of my life?
- Determine goals for 2019 in specific categories:
- Relational Health
- Business Growth
- Personal Development
- Set the next action step for each goal with a deadline attached
Now listen, this is not something you can sit down and knock out in 30 minutes. It took me two intensive workdays, plus many, many hours over Christmas break to edit and refine until I finally got to a place where I felt like I had walked through all four of these action items and done my due diligence on the work. It may be easier for you, but I’m a perfectionist, so I tend to take longer on these types of activities.
Once I had all of this information in front of me, I sat down and looked for general themes. What was I seeing emerge across all my categories? Here are a few examples of my 2019 goals:
- Weekly dates with Matt and monthly dates with both Dixon and Thackston, separately.
- Host people in our home at least once a month.
- Invest in each Choice team member individually on a quarterly basis.
- Attend Garage Barre class in person or virtually three times a week.
- Plan a personal spiritual retreat once this year.
Do you see the theme for my 2019? It became abundantly clear to me what my focus should be after reviewing these and all my other goals for the year. 2019 is going to be the year I Love Well Through Intentional Time. I want to love my family well, but I don’t want to do that arbitrarily. I want to make sure that I have scheduled and purposeful dates with both Matt and our boys. They are the most important people on Earth to me and deserve my devoted time and attention. Developing our team is my number one priority at Choice. But how can I do that in a way that grows our relationship and their competencies and expertise? I took giant leaps in loving my body and caring for it well last year, but this year I wanted to take it a step further.
Loving well. I want to do that this year. But, I don’t want to leave it to chance. I don’t want life to just happen to me. I want to strategically plan and prioritize well so that these goals can be achieved, not just dreamt about.
As I began planning my 2019, goals in mind, I wanted to take a cue from the best lessons I learned last year. 2018 was the first year I had a specific focus. My advice to you as your taking next steps with incorporating your focus into the calendar?
- Prioritize seasonally. You can’t be all things to all people all the time. It’s just not practical. I certainly wouldn’t be loving myself or others well if I tried. I have to determine seasons (and that can be a typical season, like Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter or that could be a family calendaring season like when school is in session, Christmas break, Summer break, baseball season, basketball season, etc. or it could even be seasons around when work is busy or slower) and what takes priority during those.
- Plan way ahead, but leave room for spontaneity. I’ve scheduled dates with Matt for the entire year. On my calendar, you’ll find vacations, coaching sessions, eyebrow waxings and baseball practices for months and months already mapped out. But, I also want to take the boys for ice cream before dinner one Friday after school just because. As one of my favorite leadership experts, Michael Hyatt, shares, “What gets scheduled, gets done.” So, I’m scheduling life, but I’m not afraid to throw caution to the wind and take a 2-hour nap one Sunday afternoon because my body demands it. Plan well, but live in the moment.
- Tell others your focus and have them help hold you accountable. One thing that I did last year was share with our Life Group what my focus was for 2018. Because of that, they knew that I really wanted to spend a lot of time nurturing others in our home and so we hosted 90% of our Sunday night Life Group dinners, which filled my tank. Maybe you want to pay off a certain amount of debt. If you share that with a close friend, then they’ll understand and be encouraging when you can’t go on that extravagant girls’ weekend away. They may even suggest an alternative where you can be involved.
Now it’s your turn. Have you already thought about an area you want to work on this year? A word that resonates with you that you want to incorporate? Goals that you want to really achieve in 2019? Let’s walk through this year together. What are you hoping to achieve? I’d love to hear your feedback, questions, thoughts and progress. Share below and tag us on your socials using #ChoiceFocus2019.