As we start the New Year we would not dare remind you of those resolutions you made on the 1st January and which may already have slipped just a bit! However, this could be the moment to take some time to review the last year and to look forward to 2014 and how it can be Your Best Year Yet.
Sometimes it not until we take the time to sit down and really think about what we want out of our lives that we can start focussing on the goals ahead and how we can achieve them. So if you feel that the time is ripe for you to take 2-3 hours to take stock we would like to introduce you to a favourite book of ours that will help you to do that: Jinny Ditzler’s ‘Your Best Year Yet’
It is a short book full of practical planning tips and advice which can help you to turn some of your most challenging personal issues into a powerful action plan. But don’t take our word for it…we have asked one of our clients, Joanna Day, Director of Legal Services for Santander’s Commercial Corporate & Business Bank, to give her views on the book and explain how she has used it over several years to plan her year ahead.
Joanna Day has seen the company undergo radical change and has been instrumental in guiding it through many of these changes. Most jobs could become a little dull after 24 years with the same company. But when that company is Abbey – now Banco Santander – that’s unlikely!
We have been working with Jo and her colleagues in Corporate Services for many years and it is 6-7 years since we introduced her to the ‘Best Year Yet’. Here are Jo’s experiences using the Best Year Yet approach…..
Sitting down and thinking about what I accomplished and what my disappointments were was a good starting point. It is really soul-searching when you can sit down and write these things down honestly for yourself – starting with my accomplishments I soon realised that I hadn’t done badly at all. When you sit down and think about what you have done, the list soon mounts up. It’s important to take account of all aspects of your life, both business and personal. Then turning to disappointments, it is so important to be honest with yourself and one doesn’t normally actually construe these type of thoughts to writing. I then look at the whole picture and followed through with the other questions, for example “What did I learn?” – that showed me quite clearly what my self-limiters were – just the type of structure that I need!
After having done Jinny one year, I follow up every year thereafter – one of the most amazing things is looking back at previous years, it’s possible to see growth and things that I would have regarded as difficult a few years ago now come easily. We all know how important it is to set goals and by really searching deep inside myself as to what has gone well and what hasn’t I can identify specific goals and as the years go by, see what I have really done in my life and where I am going. Some goals are easier to achieve than others. For example I used to say that I would lose two stone in a year – I never did so I totally changed my emphasis to exercising or walking more regularly which has meant that I have lost some weight (not the two stone though!) but more importantly my attitude to my weight has changed – I feel fitter and focus on trying to look my best. This is a much better approach than beating yourself up because you feel fat!
I think that the best tip I could give is to use a notebook that you build up on year on year. That way you can see how you have moved on and what achievements you have made – it’s really encouraging. It also makes you focus on the things that are really important to you. My notebook is called “My Little Life Book” – it has every Best Year Yet since 2004 and is supplemented with anything I find about areas I want to develop on – e.g. Susan Scott (Fierce Conversations) and how I need to drive straight to the point in a conversation etc.
I really can’t remember how many copies of Jinny I have bought as presents for friends, family and work colleagues – most of whom who have also now recognised the importance of self reflection and goal setting. I also use it for certain team members – it’s a personal PDP!”
If there is one New Year’s resolution you plan to keep we recommend it is to check out this book – or at least to put time aside to review 2011 and capture the experiences that can make 2014 even better.