Setting My Priorities For The New Year
January 15, 2020
On the eve of every New Year, there is always this urge to set the personal priorities for the new year. The process is adhoc, depending upon what ever is top of the mind as the year ends.
At the Workplace, there is a structure to the annual planning process. There is a budgeting exercise, there is a strategic planning process that helps in setting the priorities for the new year. The priorities then get cast into annual objectives that are tracked for execution.
What happens on our personal side? Till a few years back, for me , everything on the personal side was vague. Be a good person, be a good parent, be a good son, be a good spouse, lose weight, run a half marathon, start a gig, save money etc. Nothing specific. I was focusing on the outcomes without having clarity or a process to achieve my goals. Desires without clear actions are dreams. I was just dreaming. Taking on life without being purposeful or intentional.
Thinking back now, there was always a sense of disquiet, discomfort- “Am I missing out on something that I should be doing, that I am not paying attention to?”
In the last 5-6 years I have changed my approach. On the personal side too, I invest time in going through a process, creating a road-map of objectives, similar to what I do at work.
I spend some time evaluating what my purpose is( this does not change, it only keeps getting refined), what do I want to in terms of developing myself, my work, my family and what I can do within the community. This is a very introspective and lonely exercise that is uncomfortable initially, but I am used to it now.
I list down on a blank sheet of paper 3 specific lists-
- What I AM doing currently- what do I spend my time on, in the order of priority. All the things I am doing at the time of the self-evaluation.
- What I SHOULD be doing- This is the list of things I should be working on in order achieve all that I have planned for myself, my family, my work and my community-These are typically my commitments, responsibilities.
- What I WANT to be doing- This is the list of actions that are the true hidden desires that I have but somehow suppressed e.g. writing a blog, running a marathon, learn salsa, Travel to Japan, taking a sabbatical….
I cull out the top 3 in the SHOULD DO and WANT TO categories and map it against the what I AM doing currently, list. If the lists overlap, it is good news. If they don’t, it’s an issue. My time and attention are going towards items that are not in any way contributing to the fulfillment of my responsibilities, commitments or my desires.
I write down my goals pertaining to the Top 3 items for what I SHOULD be doing and what I WANT to be doing.
I then convert the goals into specific action sheets covering 3 specific sections (there is a Book by John Asaraff- “Having it all”, that I found very useful. You can check it out)
Strategy-Why is the goal important, what do I want as the outcome over the next 1 year.
Tactics- What do I need to do in order to deliver on the Goal. This the HOW of the Goal.What is the approach I will take to deliver on the strategy and the Goal.
Process- What is the process I will adopt in order to execute on my goals without missing out. This is the hardest part where I have to set out the rituals, behaviors to stay true on the path to effective execution.
I am attaching a template of my own personal plan for one of my goals this year- Starting a Blog. I have similar Goal Sheets penned down for my Top 3 Goals. I look at this goal sheet every day to remind me of my own commitment to myself. This automatically focuses me to do whatever is needed, to go towards my goals.
I am not perfect with this process. But I am in a better place than I ever was. That is the essence of personal growth!! Its just a process of being better than your former self.
If anyone wants help on this, you can reach out to me directly and I’ll be glad to help.