“Where there is no vision, the people perish.” — Proverbs 29:18
If you want to live the life you want, you have to first see it in your mind. How does it look like? How does it feel like?
I know you want to succeed in life and I know you want to succeed in 2015! But, you may not yet have a vision on how to make it happen. You have to remember that all things are created twice — first, in the mind and, second, in reality. You may want to get right ahead to actually making it happen. But, do not skip to the second part. Start with creating your success in your mind. Otherwise, you will just keep on moving towards nowhere.
Have direction by having a vision!
Today, we are going to make your plans, your vision, for next year. But before we make your plans, we have to take a look back on the year that was:
Performing an Audit of Your Life
The best way to plan for the future is by learning from the past. Before you even look forward, you have to look back to bring with you the valuable lessons that help you move forward and let go of the heavy burdens that do not.
I have read countless books and blog posts about making an audit of your life. But to be honest, none of them really worked for me because…I am a bit lazy. Just kidding! Most of them involved answering 30+ questions! Before I even get to the tenth question, I already begin to doze off.
Planning should not be tedious. It should be exciting! If you are excited about your plans, you will surely be excited to make them happen as well.
Also, I like keeping things simple. Instead of answering 30+ questions to perform an audit of your life for the past year, you can just answer two simple questions for each area of your life:
- How do I “feel” about this area of my life for the past year, and
Auditing Your Life Based on Your Feelings
When you perform an audit of your life for the past year, first, think about how you felt about it. Life is not just about what you have done or what you have accomplished. It is also about how you “feel” about the life you are living.
For example, we do not really want money, promotion, or business success. What we want are the feelings or emotions we get from them–the feelings of fulfilment, of accomplishment, of freedom, etc. We do things not because of the rewards themselves, but because of how we feel about them.
Feelings and emotions are stronger drivers than the rewards themselves. It is also our feelings and emotions that push us more to make significant changes in our lives.
The Question “Why”
Once you have defined how you feel about the different areas of your life, ask yourself “why” you feel that way. “Why” may be a short question, but it’s a very challenging one. It forces you to dig deep within yourself and think creatively.
But the biggest benefit of answering the question “why” is that you also get to answer these two important and practical questions:
- What went well, and
- What went wrong?
Your answers to these two questions will serve as the foundation of your plans for next year: you can continue doing that things that went well and further improve on them and avoid doing the things that went wrong or do something differently.
The Different Areas of Your Life
Now that you know the two questions that you need answer, you should also determine the areas of your life that you should audit and make plans for.
These areas depend on your values, your beliefs, and your priorities. They are different for every one. The areas that I value may be different from yours and that is totally fine. There is nothing wrong with you and I think there is nothing wrong with me too. Well, maybe there is something wrong with me. I am a bit crazy. But, the point is life is not one-size-fits-all.
The areas of my life that I really value are: spiritual, family, work, personal development, finances, health, and service. What are yours?
Looking Ahead to Next Year
When you have laid the foundation of your plans for next year, you can finally start making those plans. And you can make all those plans by answering one simple question:
What can you do in each area of your life to “feel” even better next year?
Again, it’s all about how you want to feel.
You do not need a long list of things you need to accomplish for next year in order to declare your year a success. All you need to do is to accomplish the things that will make you feel good about yourself and your life. After all, when you feel good about the decisions you will make and the actions you will take, you will most certainly feel good about the life you will be living.
A friendly reminder: it is better to answer this question with a highly practical plan of attack or action plan. This means that every step in your plan should be measurable. You should set some objective criteria.
But in case you miss any of the steps next year, remind yourself of the bigger picture and ask yourself, “Do I feel good about my actions, my decisions, and my life so far despite the steps I failed to do?”
I will never forget a friend's advice to me: "Be idealistic with your dreams, but realistic with your actions."
A Quick Review
Again, the three questions to perform an audit of your life and to make a plan for the following year are:
- How do you “feel” about each area of your life for the past year?
- What can you do in each area of your life to “feel” even better next year? (Again, be practical with your answers to this question.)
I can already leave you with those three questions to audit your life and to make a plan for next year, but in order to be clearer, I will share with you my own life audit for 2014 and my plans for 2015 tomorrow based on these three questions. Of course, reading beyond this point (even way before this point) is completely optional. You can stop reading now and start making your own review and your own plans for next year.
If you made an annual plan last year, it’s good to start from there as well. Review what goals you accomplished, what you did not, and why. But since this is the first year I am doing this on the site, I am assuming that you have never done any annual planning before. If you have, congratulations! If you find your strategy better than mine, continue implementing yours. Do what works for you.
See you tomorrow!