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New Year, New...

I remember the first time I was cognizant of the New Year. It was 1989 and my parents let me stay up to watch the ball drop. In my mind, I was witnessing a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

I thought to myself, "Wow, Ariana! This is amazing. You're so lucky to watch this."

I was too young to comprehend the New Year happens annually. I didn't understand the celebrations were rote. But my childhood mind made it a memorable and magical experience.

At this point in my life, I don't even stay up until midnight on New Year's Eve. In fact, a few years ago I went to bed at 9pm on December 31st. But stayed up until 3am on New Year's day to finish a riveting novel. Sleep is a priority for me unless I'm captivated by a page-turner (it's a real battle of willpower when that happens).

While the celebrations don't hold the same kind of magic they did in 1989, I still feel a boost of energy at the New Year.

Many failed New Years' resolutions have taught me making proclamations of grandiose change is a fool's errand.

Not setting resolutions and continuing on with the status quo has shown me nothing meaningful changes.

So instead, I have taken the New Year and new energy it spurs as an opportunity to develop a new plan for the year.

I started this different approach to ushering in the New Year a decade ago. Over that time, I've learned how to balance aspirational thinking with practical planning.

I've drafted my share of pie-in-the-sky wishful thinking annual plans. They were typically full of the things I "should" do to grow my business, live healthier and be happier.

Sadly, the impacts of those efforts were scarcely better than setting resolutions (if you're unaware, people fail to fulfill new years resolutions like politicians fail to fulfill campaign promises).

For a time, I felt hurt by my unfulfilled plans. But then I realized learning how to craft both reasonable and aspirational plans takes time and continuous effort. While things didn't always go as planned, setting my intentions and writing them down did pave the way for new possibilities to emerge by honing my focus and efforts.

I just had to make the time to take a step back, look at the big picture, gather my thoughts, and set my intentions.

Through trial and error, I developed a planning process and tools which have helped me to achieve big things like - publishing my first book, growing my business, establishing healthy habits, completing professional certifications, and buying a new house.

What's more, my process and tools have evolved over the years. I've experimented with many different approaches. Some have worked better than others. As time has progressed, I've kept what worked well and let go of what didn't.

One of the hardest planning hurdles I've learned to overcome is setting measurable goals that are meaningful, achievable, and a stretch. For example, I've never been purely motivated by money, so financial goals haven't been meaningful enough in and of themselves for me to push through the slog.

And I think that's what's missing from most planning templates and processes out there. The plan has to fit some internal drive. Setting hollow goals for the sake of it doesn't provide the motivation needed when the going gets tough. And if you're stretching yourself, there will be moments of resistance and friction to wade through.

What one person finds as a meaningful, motivating goal for the year won't fit for everyone. Heck, I've worked with many clients who dislike goal setting in and of itself, yet possess a drive to make big things happen.

It is best when our plans for the year reflect what's more important to us. When they encapsulate our greatest opportunities for growth. And when we have the wherewithal to mindfully integrate those big picture plans into our day-to-day.

So as you welcome 2022, I encourage you to consider - New Year, new plan. What have you done to craft a plan that'll inspire you to make big things happen in 2022?

Want to craft an inspiring plan you'll actually stick with for 2022 but need a little guidance and camaraderie to make it happen? Save the date, January 26th 12:30pm-4:30pm MST, for the 2022 Annual Planning Workshop. I'll show you how to craft a plan that'll enable you to have a breakthrough year!

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