3 Questions to Guide Your Year
I was away for a few weeks over the holidays. It was a nice break and it’s good to be back. One of the good things about being back is reconnecting with friends I haven’t seen in awhile. One of those is a friend from yoga. We gave each other a hug hello at class the other night and she said, “Well, here we are.” My response was, “Yeah, 2012, it’s the only year we’ve got.” (Unless, of course, the physicists at CERN figure out time travel this year.)
So, for now, this is the only year you’ve got. What do you want to do with it? I don’t have any idea what your answer is or should be. Only you do.
What I can offer is three questions to guide you this year that have worked for me, my family, friends and clients over the past 15 years. They make up the core of a personal planning model that my wife, Diane, and I developed for ourselves called the Life GPS®. Each of us complete a new Life GPS® every year around this time. Like the GPS app on your smart phone or the GPS system in your car, the Life GPS® is a great tool for setting a destination and making the adjustments along the way that you’ll need to get there.
Using the Life GPS® will be the subject of a book I’m writing this year. You can also read more about it in the chapter on Picking Up Regular Renewal of Your Energy and Perspective and Letting Go of Running Flat Out Until You Crash from my first book, The Next Level.
For now, though, here are the three questions that comprise the core of the Life GPS®. Before things get absolutely bananas for you this year, I encourage you to take a little time to consider these questions and write down your answers on a single sheet of paper. If you refer to that sheet on a regular basis this year, I think you’ll like the results you get.
Here are the questions:
1. How are you at your best? – To answer this question, think of a recent time when everything was in the groove for you. What are the words or short phrases that describe how you were operating then? If you can’t think of a recent time when you felt like you were in the zone, think for a moment about all of the externalities that are dragging you down. If you could magically get rid of all that, how would you feel? The words or phrases that describe how you’d feel are you’re preferred state of being. Write those down.
2. What are the routines that would make it more likely that you’d show up at your best or move you closer to your preferred state of being? – If you’ve read my blog for very long or have worked with me, you know that one of my favorites quotes is the line from Aristotle, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” What are the habits that, if practiced on a regular basis, would be likely to help you show up at your best or move you a little closer to your preferred state of being? Those habits will likely fall into one or more of four domains – mental, physical, relational and spiritual. Don’t stress yourself out by coming up with a list of 15 or 20 routines that you need to pursue. Pick one or two that are easy to get started and likely to make a difference. The idea is to get some momentum going and build on that. Write your ideas down on the same sheet of paper that you used to answer the first question.
3. What outcomes would you hope or expect to see if you were operating at your best or from your preferred state of being? – So, if you were clear about how you are at your best and practicing routines that reinforce that kind of performance, what outcomes would you hope or expect to see in the three big arenas of life – your life at home, your life at work and your life in the community? Write down the three to five outcomes in each arena that come most quickly to mind. They’re the ones that matter to you the most.
So, when you have all of your answers on one sheet of paper, you have a guide for your year. Will everything ever all be perfect at once? Unlikely. Will you have a better sense of the direction you’re trying to go and the adjustments you need to make to go there? Highly likely.
I hope you’ll give the Life GPS® a try in 2012. I also hope you’ll let me know how it’s working for you. Also if you have any questions or comments about how to use the Life GPS®, I hope you’ll leave a comment or email at email@example.com.
Happy new year!