2018 started with my marriage breaking down, and ended with moving house, all via running a small business and parenting two small children. When I got to the end of the year I found myself with several days of absolute peace, bingeing on Netflix and eating too many chocolates. While scrolling through Facebook, I came across a blog post by Denise Duffield Thomas. See her updated for 2020 version here. She outlined an end of the year ritual for her readers, of making a list of everything they were proud of. She suggested a target of 50 things, ideally doing the exercise with a partner who simply asks “what else” every time you run out of ideas.
Listing your achievements
At the end of a year which had been about putting one foot in front of the other, it seemed like a big ask to list 50 things I was proud of. But then I tried it. And I got to 36 items. And all things considered that felt like a very positive step.
I decided that 2019 was going to be a better year and I was going to get to the end of the year with a sense of achievement. I wanted to thrive rather than survive. The magic number of 50 appealed. I grabbed a notebook and a sparkly pen and started to brainstorm the things I wanted to do in 2019.
Planning for a new year
I started with simple accomplishments and things that, although not fun, definitely needed to be done: paying my tax bill, updating my will, sorting out my savings account. I added things that I wanted to do with my children, and things we had talked about in the previous weeks. Holidays featured strongly on this list. School applications were needed for both children. Growing tomatoes and having fun in the garden were also added.
I knew 2019 would be a big year for my business. I listed a rebrand, personal branding photography, a new website, books I wanted to read and financial targets I wanted to hit. I added in fun things including going to the ballet and theatre and eating with my friends and a couple of things that would push me out of my comfort zone, singing a solo and travelling on my own.
I carried on until I got to 50 and then I made 3 lists – Home & Family, Business and Personal. And I got 3 sheets of paper and drew a big mind map for each one, and stuck them on my study wall. Each time I felt as though life was getting out of control (far too many times to mention) I returned to my plan, and looked at what I could cross off with a pink highlighter pen. It was hugely motivating and helped keep my year on track.
What did I achieve?
As a result of this planning and daily visual reminder of all the things I wanted to achieve, I am sitting here in December 2019 with a huge feeling of accomplishment. Of the 50 things I’ve crossed out about 40. I didn’t travel on my own, and I didn’t hit the (stretching) financial target in my business. I didn’t go on a retreat either, although that is planned for January 2020 with an amazing group of women I met on a Digital Marketing training and coaching programme. I did take my children on several holidays, I completed all the necessary life admin, I’ve made the planned home improvements and I’ve had fun with my friends. There have been some challenges, but my plan has helped me to focus on the big picture and reminded me that I am capable of so many things.
Planning for 2020
I will absolutely be following the same process for 2020. The goal of travelling solo will reappear, as will the stretching financial target. There will be more decorating, a senior school transition and more fun trips with friends. There will be an exciting new marketing project and speaking opportunities for my business, and 2020 will be the year I finally complete walking the Nidderdale Way. In short I’ve decided 2020 is going to be a good year!
Your planning process for 2020
If you want to take the same approach take the following steps:
- What are you proud of achieving in 2019? Can you think of 50 things?
- What do you want to achieve in 2020? Brainstorm the list.
- Divide the list into Home & Family, Business, Personal
- Draw it in whatever format works for you – get creative with colour or create vision boards
- Put it on your wall
- Cross things out as you go and celebrate your wins.
If finally getting to grips with your own business marketing is on your list for 2020, why not book in a Power Hour. If you book in December you will beat the January price rise!