Take a moment and imagine it's December 31, 2019. You're sitting back in your comfy leather chair, reading your favorite book, by the fireplace sipping hot chocolate. MMMMM. Looking back over the past 365 days — you realize you had a great year. An amazing, incredible, unbelievable year.
Step One — What would make it an amazing year professionally? A promotion/raise? A huge uptick in business/clients? A new job? What would make it an amazing year personally? Travel to exotic lands? More time with the family? More time with friends? Trying out a new pastime or hobby?
I want you to take a piece of paper and write down your amazing year. What would happen? It doesn't have to be a literary classic — just use bullet points. Your focus should be on speed — get your thoughts down on paper ASAP. Then hone it down to a single mission sentence. "I will be SVP of Operations and increase my salary by 15%" or "I will launch a new line of products and increase my client base by 20%". Maybe "I will learn the piano and take my family to Hawaii."
Step Two — What do you need to do to get there? What steps do you need to take? What actions/activities/tasks? Who can help you? Map out each step you need to take to reach your vision. If you're especially motivated, add timing and deadlines to each task. This isn't the hard/scary part — you know how to get there.
Here's the scary part — to realize 'Your Best Year Ever', you will have to really push yourself. You will have to build your confidence up and combat procrastination and fear. You will be doing things you've never done before, meet people you've never believed you'd meet, and reach new heights never before imagined. You will have to work harder and smarter to realize your dream.
To do this you need Goals (step 1) and a Roadmap (step 2). But you have to keep your eye on the prize to help you modify your behaviors and talents to deliver 'Your Best Year Ever'. Put your goal on a Post-It note and post it on your mirror to see every morning. Reinforcement is key when it comes to goals — it needs to stare you in the face every day.
This isn't rocket science. Many years ago, when Elon Musk sold Zip2, X.com and PayPal, his vision was to change the world and humanity. His goals included reducing global warming through sustainable energy production and consumption, reducing the "risk of human extinction" by "making life multiplanetary" by setting up a human colony on Mars. I think he's on his way with Solar City, Tesla, and SpaceX.
You can do it too. I know you can. Oh yes, by the way, Happy New Year!