How to Have a Better Year
Here we are, settling into February. For many of us, all of our good intentions for how 2017 will be different have gone quietly by the wayside. However, there’s no better time to get back on track, and to get clarity on how you want the remainder of the year to go.
Here are a few ideas on having more impact in 2017, so you can create your best year ever.
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Hey, I’m Michael Bungay Stanier from Box of Crayons and here we are, the old year fading in the background, the new year coming up fast. And bottom line, it’s this: In a year’s time, you will be a year older. So how do you want these next 365, maybe 366, days to go for you?
So let me give you some ways of thinking about that, so that you may be able to have a more rewarding, more engaging, maybe more powerful, more fulfilling year for yourself.
So I’ve got a couple of things to suggest here. The first is reconnect to what matters to you. And by that I don’t mean the stuff around you; I mean kind of looking inside to the kind of deeper values that you might have. And there’s all sorts of ways that you can access your values. One of my favourite ways of doing it is thinking about and almost telling myself a story of a peak moment. A time where I was, like, man, that was me at my best. I kind of stepped up. I rose to the challenge. I could have felt a better version of myself emerge from whatever the situation was.
And a) it’s just good to remember a moment like that but b) you can go a little deeper because what showed up in that story gives you a clue as to what your core values are, what you stand for in this world. It kind of gets to an underlying truth that could be disguised by your history, by what you’ve learned, by what your career path might be, and speaking to more of a truth of what kind of makes you tick, what brings you to life.
So a starting point may be to ask yourself, “So who am I in this world? What are the values that I stand for?” And one of the most powerful ways to step forward into a bigger, bolder life is to go, “How do I amp up that value?”
For instance, you know, one of my values is to be a little provocative. You know, it shows up in a whole bunch of things we do at Box of Crayons and things I’ve done in my past. But if I look back on how I’m showing up right now and go, “If I was to give myself a score out of 10 as to how provocative I feel at the moment, how much I’m stirring things up, what would I give myself out of 10? And as I look forward to this next year, if I was showing up at 10 out of 10, what would be different, what would be the same, what would I do more of, what would I do less of?”
The other piece might be this: In a year’s time, what do you want to be different? I mean, if the first piece around values is about looking inward and about yourself, the second piece might be looking outward. What’s the impact you want to make in this world?
And I love the story of Chris Hadfield. He’s one of the Canadian astronauts. He’s huge in Canada. People love him because he’s a great guy. He’s written books. He was in charge of the space station, send David Bowie up in space. All very cool. But I remember hearing his story and him saying, “From the age of 12 I knew I wanted to be an astronaut and from that time onwards, every choice I came to,” he would ask himself, “Is this going to take me closer to or further away from being an astronaut?” And that’s an extremely powerful way of thinking.
If you set a destination, what’s the one thing you might want to achieve in the next 12 months? What’s the hope you had that will be different at the end of 12 months? Once you see that, then you might say, “Okay. Two simple things I want to do over the next 12 months to get me closer to there. What do I want to do more of? And find that and articulate that. What do I want to do less of?
So as you set yourself up for this new year to come, the next 365 days, and I want it to be a great year for you, who are you? What do you stand for? How can you turn up the volume on who you are in this world? Secondly, what’s the destination you want to aim for? And once you know what that destination is, what do you need to do more of, what do you need to do less of to get you closer to that destination?