How to Set Yourself Up for a Productive New Year

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Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Hopefully, you’ve had a great year, where you achieved what you set out to achieve (and likely more!) – I know I have.

It was hard work, so we usually take the last week of the year slightly easy – and use the time to plan the upcoming year.

We’ll create a structure for our upcoming year that will guide us when we feel “lost” – you know those days.

And we’ll review the structure a few times a year when we have some breathing room – and periodically update the action plan as new information becomes available.

Rough Guideline on How You Should Go About Reviewing the Past Year

1. Make a list of the things that you wanted to work on in the year:

Start with writing down everything that you wanted to pursue last year.

This list, of course, starts with “Health” (Health is your number one priority). and is followed by “Career”/”Business” and everything else that you wanted to pursue through the year.

2. Review your list and rate your progress:

Measure where you are currently in the above areas of life and compare it to your expectations you had a year before. Make a note of the deviations.

You want to give everything in your list a thorough mental review, and give it a progress rating: great, acceptable, mild progress but needs more work, stagnant, and failed.

The “failed” rating is when the item deteriorates through the year, instead of improving.

3. Identify patterns and root causes:

This is going to take a few hours (longer if you don’t keep a journal).

You want to sit silently and think back to why you ended up where you are. Especially for those areas that had a rating lower than acceptable.

The first step to solving a problem is to identify there is one.

If you can come up with a specific event that is unlikely to repeat again (such as sickness) – you’re in the clear.

On the other hand, you spot patterns in behavior that led to you postponing and procrastinating the whole year and not getting anywhere – you’re in the red. You’ll need to fix this.

Every year is a new beginning, but if you waste time, it’s just more of the same.

If you can identify bad patterns – break them.

The above 3 step process will help you take stock of where you are. A personal balance sheet – you identify where you stand.

If you had everything fall below the acceptable category, you’ve wasted the year.

Needless to say, there’s no point regretting it now. Get to building, there’s another year coming.

Creating a Roadmap for the Upcoming Year

Once again, we’ll list out the things we want to work on in the upcoming year. Health and business top the list as always.

If you don’t have a business, you’re going to be starting one this year. If you’re not working on a side business, you’re doing it wrong.

Remember, your job can only take you so far.

Stop fucking postponing it.

2019 will be the year where you launch your new venture. (There’s some articles coming on how you can go about creating one – but for now, include it in your list even if you’re completely clueless). (Edit: How to start a side business)

We’re going to assign them a priority rating, similar to before.

And the most important of all, we’re going to create an action plan detailing how we’re going to meet them.

Just a word of caution: Things like “I want a better network” or “I want to lose weight and get fit” are not action plans. They are desires. You have to actually list down things you plan to do to make them happen.

An example:

I want to improve my chess skills this year. I will hire a coach on [already done] and go through the following books [already researched]:

  1. The Amateur’s Mind: Turning Chess Misconceptions Into Chess Mastery (India, UK, USA)
  2. How To Reassess Your Chess (4th Edition) (India, UK, USA)
  3. The Reassess Your Chess Workbook (India, UK, USA)

I will also allocate some time daily to play chess – likely to be after a good workout.

We’ll also audit our incomes and expenses for the year (we already have the numbers), and measure up our financial performance.

This will help us identify areas to target in the New Year to grow revenues and profits – identify the top sales funnels to target, customers you want to focus on, and top products to promote.

Some key points to keep in mind:

1. Set reasonable targets and avoid focusing on too many things at the same time. If you divide your focus over too many targets, you’ll likely never meet them.

If you want to target more areas, break up the year into quarters and arrange your targets accordingly.

2. If you don’t already write in a journal – start one. It only takes 10 minutes a day and the returns are immense.

3. If you have a partner – that’s great! Go out and have fun. It’s the end of the year. Catch up with friends and family as well.

If you’re single, don’t go out. Instead, pick up a book and start the New Year ahead of the game. If you don’t know which books to read, I recommend several.

4. It’s winter. Lots of people pig out and get fat around this time. Maintain control over your diet. When you’re driving your body hard to get ahead, you need to eat clean and maintain your health wherever you can.

You can’t both take it easy and expect to have intensity in your life. Not for long anyway.

Feel free to leave your review and action plan in the comments if it helps you be more accountable.

Hope that helps,

Your Man,

Harsh Strongman

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