We’re taking a little break from the usual weekly videos to dive deep into a subject that’s probably on your mind right now: The new year!
This weekend, I grabbed a bunch of poster board, Post-It notes, blank calendar pages, and a pot of herbal tea and locked myself in my office for 12+ hours to hash out my plans for 2015.
I wasn’t going to let myself out until I had every goal, task, project, and vacation plugged into my Google Calendar.
I know what you might be thinking…
“Dude, you’re CRAZY. Why would you spend that long planning?! On the weekend?!”
Getting all excited about the new year might seem like a bunch of stupid hype. I’ve been known to get irritated at people for making ridiculous New Year’s resolutions that we all know they’ll never keep.
But you have to admit -- there’s an energy to this time of year. It’s a momentum toward a rebirth, a new year, and a chance to wipe the slate clean and start fresh.
If you haven’t started planning 2015, no worries. I’m here to light a fire under your butt!
You have goals and dreams, right?
You might even have an idea of what you want your life and business to look like on December 31st of 2015.
But do you have a plan for how to get there?
It’s one thing to dream big, but it’s even more important to put dates to those dreams.
Here’s how I plotted my map for achieving all of my goals in 2015.
Ready to get your goals for 2015 on the calendar?! Here’s exactly how I planned my year:
1. Block off an entire day (or weekend).
Yes, properly planning your year takes a lot of time. That’s just part of running a successful business. It’s so, so, so worth it. You’ll save yourself dozens, if not hundreds, of hours in the long run.
This should be a PRIORITY in December. You might have to erase a couple of things from your calendar to make the time. DO IT. DO IT NOW. You’ll thank me in 12 months!
2. STOP: Before you start planning, assess the year you just had!
I know you want to skip ahead. I did, too. Don’t do it! You’ll gain insight when you look back on the past year that will help you mold the next one.
During my friend Natalie MacNeil’s planning extravaganza, The Conquer Summit, she reminded me of a Self Inventory from one of my favorite books, Napoleon Hill’s, Think and Grow Rich. I spent an hour answering the 28 questions.
Another yearly planning tool that I love is Leonie Dawson’s Amazing Biz and Life Workbooks. I’m still waiting for my 2015 versions to arrive in the mail (you can order yours here. (The printable version is only $9.95).
These books have an amazingly comprehensive list of questions to help you reflect on the past year and energetically release those experiences before moving on to the year ahead! (And for you right-brained creatives like me, this is the BEST yearly planner you’ll ever find).
3. Define your 2015 goals.
At the Conquer Summit, Natalie MacNeil taught her yearly MAP process (Master Action Plan). As a part of her MAP, Natalie chooses just five big goals for the year. Just FIVE.
So here’s what I did: I made a list of everything I was thinking about doing in 2015 (this took about 10 minutes) and then I picked the five most important goals.
This. Was. So. Freaking. Hard.
I was planning on doing a big launch that I had to cut out entirely because it just didn’t make the cut.
But I cut it out because I agree with Natalie -- it’s much better to laser-focus on a couple of things than to half-ass a bunch of projects. Be ballsy and go all in on the projects you most believe in!
The Conquer Summit is really what inspired me to get started planning 2015 and write this post and you can still watch the finale until December 12!
4. Get a blank calendar for the year printed (not on the computer).
I’m such a big fan of writing by hand whenever possible. I love the big, erasable wall calendar from NeuYear because you can see your entire year at once.
For my planning extravaganza, I actually printed each of the months of my Google Calendar because it already had a few important dates marked on it.
You might also want some markers, a pencil with an eraser, and some party music!
5. Block off vacation time and time off FIRST.
Every successful entrepreneur I’ve heard talk about planning a new year has given this piece of advice, so I figured I’d take it!
The first thing I did was divide the year into quarters and make sure that I have some time off during each quarter (at least one week).
If you don’t block off vacation time FIRST, you’ll never find time to take vacation. The vacation time has to be set before you start adding your launches, clients, projects, etc.
6. Book in your big goals.
I’ll be honest, I sucked at “taking care of myself” for most of this year. That’s why the first thing I booked on my 2015 calendar were some self-care challenges (and vacation, of course!).
The next biggest priority of mine is the launch of the Total Knockout Copywriting Course in March and October. These launches take up a ton of time and resources (upwards of 4-5 months each) so it’s important to get the dates set. Taking care of my TKO students is also my priority and something I want to do an even better job of in 2015 so that’s why it got scheduled next!
7. Schedule quarterly, monthly, weekly checkups.
For those of you who have a team, you’ll need to meet with your team on a quarterly, monthly, and weekly basis to go over current projects and tweak the to-do lists.
And even if you don’t have a team yet, you should definitely have quarterly, monthly, and weekly meetings scheduled with your team of one (AKA Y-O-U)!
For many years, I’ve scheduled these meetings and then neglected to actually do them. If you’re a team of one, I think it’s a great idea to make a big deal out of these checkups. For example, you could take yourself out for a nice meal each quarter to review key metrics in your business and plan for the months ahead!
8. Tweak and tune up as needed!
It’d be idiotic of me to say that I expect my year to go exactly as I have planned. Far from it!
If there’s anything I learned in 2014, it’s that grounding is a crucial element in the entrepreneurial life. As my friend Natalie MacNeil says, you have to be the mighty oak tree. Even while the winds are blowing, you have your roots firmly in the ground.
This entire blog post was inspired by Natalie MacNeil’s 2015 planning extravaganza at the season finale of The Conquer Summit.
If you register before December 12 HERE, you can get free access to the summit and download a free copy of Natalie’s 12-page MAP workbook. It’s the best resource to get started planning your outrageously successful 2015. Cheers to you!