I’m not sure I’ve ever been so amped for New Years.
I am not sure what it is about this year, but I am pumped. Like, real pumped. This year is the first time that I am actually planning. I write New Year’s resolutions every year.. I am a list writer. Lists are my jam. But this is the first year I am taking a much more strategic approach. (It’s funny. I help brands build their strategies and I give advice left right and center, but do I give myself advice?) I am ready to stop putting myself last and put some time into what I would like to accomplish.
So here I am. Ready to rock a new year. I’ve got new ideas. Audacious goals. And more so- I would say I have a new leading philosophy that I know will help me achieve great things. I have a zillion things on the go, so more so than ever- I need to better manage my time. And instead of just saying to myself day-in-and-day-out “you should.. this, you should..that” I am making a strategic plan to make shit happen. Boo ya.
I’ve purchased a few tools to help me stay on track, and I have a few exercises planned to really hone down.. why am I here? What stories do I have to tell? How can I make a difference? What is my natural advantage? What are my ultimate dream goals? What fires me up? Where can I improve? And most importantly, how do I get there?
A good friend of mine Fran, sent me this link earlier this week– and I plan to do these 5 steps this weekend with my boyfriend.. who, unbeknownst to him. has been dragged into my entire planning process this year. *evil smirk*. I think so far it’s been really great for him too. Sometimes it’s hard to say your dreams and goals out loud. But saying them, and writing them, and seeing them.. it’s all part of the planning process. We are now able to hold each other more accountable, and cheer eachother on. (I mean, we do always anyways, but somehow, this is different. It’s really really awesome actually).
I didn’t actually go out looking for any of these tools, they all just sorta fell into my lap- but I’m super grateful that they did.
1: The Slight Edge as my guiding 2017 Philosophy
This, I would say is the biggest one. The Slight Edge– really really changed the way I am approaching everything. Does anybody else F*cking love reading? I am a chain reader. For the past two, maybe three years, I have been really into reading marketing/self-development genre books. I just checked, and my Amazon wishlist has 114 books on it right this second. Essentially any time anybody recommends a great book, or an awesome book is referenced in another book I’m reading- I automatically add it to the Amazon Wishlist. Then, it’s kind of like mini-Christmas when I finish reading a book because I get to go to my Wishlist and order another one. #AmazonAddict. I had a library card but I would always get late fees- and I love to have my own collection to reference, highlight if I feel like it, dog ear, carry around, lend to friends. I love my little marketing library!
Anyways.. For Christmas I asked for a pile of books (And I got a few awesome ones, thanks Santa!) I read The Crossroads of Should and Must in one day. It was a cute/fun read. And then, I started reading the Slight Edge.. and it has changed my life. If there’s any book you should read. It is this. That, and Crush it by Gary Vaynerchuck. Read the Slight Edge first, and then go Crush it.
You know how sometimes you read something, but you need to hear it said another way for it to really sink? This was the Slight Edge for me. It’s such a simple, easy to do theory that I’ve definitely heard before.. but the way it was presented in this book, it just clicked and it was kind of like a “eureka” moment.
Here’s the concept:
Some projects are massive. Sometimes the things on your to-do list seem unachievable because they are just too-big. Maybe, reading 30 books sounds intimidating to you. Or maybe, cleaning that desktop that has gotten completely out of control- seems like way too big a job. Or maybe creating that blog series. Saving money. Cleaning your closet. The list goes on and on.
So here’s the magic. The slight edge is essentially just taking all of your biggest goals and breaking them up into the tiniest micro activities that, over time, will help you achieve greatness.
30 books sounds intimidating? How does ten pages a day sound?
Cleaning 40 folders of photos from your desktop sound tough? What about 10 minutes cleaning your desktop per day?
Going to the gym 4 x a week sometimes never seems to happen? What about just 20 minutes every day. **Which, update.. 11 days in, going strong!! side note.. I am counting walks on weekends as my 20 minutes.
Basically, chipping away at big projects, slowly.. will help you achieve many more great things.. as opposed to letting things build up and get out of control to the point where you’re intimidated to even start. Those three points above are actually three of my personal Slight Edges. The book breaks your life down into all sections. Health, Happiness, Relationships, Career, Finances, Positive Impact. It was really interesting to sit down and evaluate how I actually felt about all of those categories and start to plan out tiny happy habits that I can do daily to improve these sections.. Because, to be quite honest.. In past NY resolutions I’ve never made a list under the word “Relationships” 0r even “Family”.. And family is the most important thing to me in the world- so it’s funny that whenever I’ve sat down each year to roadmap for the next year- it’s always only been focused on my career. Why not make family goals? Friendship goals? Positive impact goals? (Which, btw.. I have a really cool/fun 52 week project I started last week called #52CoffeeDates.. stay tuned!)
(Goal planning is real this year ya’ll).
I’ve been sharing some snippets of my Slight Edges on my Instagram story– and I hope to update you all on my progress over the year!
2: The Five Minute Journal
Funnily.. One of the “slight edges” mentioned in the book, was practicing gratitute. Then, not even a few days later- Amy posted this photo on Instagram. Precisely what I needed!! I am very greatful for a lot of things in my life- but often I would get caught up with wanting more. Wanting to be better. Never slowing down and enjoying, right here, right now. Life is busy. We all know that. The purpose of the Five Minute Journal is to practice gratitude, every single day. To slow down.. and appreciate what you already have right in front of you. It helps you focus on the good in your life, become more mindful, and live your life with intention. The Five Minute Journal helps you start AND end your day, every day.. with gratitude. There is nothing but positive side effects to this. When you revisit positive memories in your mind, it helps increase your over all happiness. Bo and I have been using it since New Year’s Eve, and we love it. Our mornings are slower. We have a new nightly routine. And it’s something really positive we can do, together.
3: The Day Designer
Everybody loves a good planner, amiright? I for one, need to write things down. The act of writing on paper is meditative to me. The Day Designer is a strategic planner to help you live a well designed life. Like I said before, in order to achieve your goals you need an action plan to support them. The Day Designer is a simple and easy system to help you find balance, focus, and productivity. I especially like the “Today’s Top Three” section.. where you can write your top three tasks for the day. I also like that the page is divided up into two sections, Today and To-Do. I use the To-Do section for my freelance work “after hours”.. So I know what I need to accomplish at night when I leave my desk at work. There’s a also a “Notes” section at the bottom where I’ve been writing in my Slight Edges each day. Today, looking at my planner in that section I have: 20 minutes at the gym. 10 minutes writing for my portfolio. 10 minutes cleaning the bottom shelf of my desk organizer. I also find it really fun to highlight items from my list when I finish them, but that’s just me. A quick little victory stroke ;). SImilar to the Slight Edge, the Day Designer also helps you establish your core values. What is most important to you? There’s also a pretty eye opening little activity at the front of the book where you give yourself a rating on how much time and money, you spend in different areas of your life… And how you would like to see that number change.
A goal without an action plan, is just a dream.
What I have come to learn about my own life, is that planning is essential. Having a plan, or even a rough guide or idea- helps make everything possible. Think about when you need to get somewhere. We rely on a map. I am intentionally mapping out my life.. Doubling down on what matters most to me. Finding my real purpose, and what I want to say.
Are you a NY resolution planner? Got any good books to add to my 114 book list? If you read the Slight Edge, let me know! It’s a life changer! Happy New Year everyone!