As we enter the modern-day version of the roaring 20’s now is a great time to review and update your goals, plans and strategies for both your life and your practice. Today I’m going to share three things I do to refocus and do my best to intentionally live life to the fullest at the start of the year.
Your vision is the big picture, all encompassing way you want your life to be or become. When it comes to attorneys, this vision will usually include both personal and professional aspects as our work lives and our personal lives are so closely intertwined due to our demanding schedules.
If you’ve never done any sort of vision planning before, a great way to get started is by doing a perfect day meditation. Now I realize that if you aren’t into meditation or have never tried meditation you may be tempted to stop reading here. Don’t! The benefits of meditation are countless and there is no time like the present to give it a try – especially if you start out with a “perfect day meditation.” Not sure what that is or how to begin? No worries – just Google it! There are over 100 million links and resources on the web to help guide you – literally. In addition, there are tons of apps and free meditation videos.
Essentially when you do a “perfect day meditation” you will visualize what your perfect day would feel like, look like and what it would involve. The emphasis here is “feel”. Think about how you want your morning routine to feel, how you want to feel at work, where you are at when you work, what you do to transition from office to home, and how you want to feel right before you go to bed.
Next, with that vision in mind I encourage you to set aside time to make a vision board. If I didn’t lose you at “Meditation” then I fully realize many of you will be exiting this blog at the words “vision board.” Vision boards are a fun, creative way to gain focus on your life. Not sure how to get started? No worries – my good friend Heather Hubbard has an excellent podcast – Hustle and Flow with Heather Hubbard – and she even provides a PDF download to walk you through the steps of building a vision board. Check out episode #46 of her podcast for all the details: Hustle & Flow with Heather Hubbard. Heather has taught me so much about juggling the hustle and the flow in my legal career. If you haven’t heard of her before, definitely go check her out!
Now that you’ve hopefully gained some clarity on your grand plan and your vision the next thing I like to do is goal planning. Many people call the goals they set at a new year “resolutions.” You can call then whatever you like – goals, resolutions or even life metrics.
I suggest you being by making a giant list of everything you ever dreamed of achieving – no matter how big or how small. Last year one of my business partners set and achieved a goal of climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. That’s a huge, amazing goal! Goals could even be relatively smaller things like try a new recipe once a month or read a book every week.
Next, use that big list to set priorities that you can work towards. Achieving all the goals you wrote on the huge list is unrealistic – so focus on priorities. Examine what is most important to you? What ties in most closely with your vision for your life? The priority goals should drive your focus and your habits through the year.
I like to set and review goals twice a year. I tend to do this in January and then again in the summer. With my children, I like to help them set goals at the start of each school year. We also select a school year theme. Our current school year theme is “Always Believe in Yourself” which was selected by my second grader. Long story short – you can set goals and priorities any time that works for you to help keep you motivated.
Word of the Year
The last activity I like to do around the start of the new year is to select my own “Word of the Year.” This should be one word that when you see it, hear it or say it the word instantly helps keep you focused on your goals and in turn your vision.
In 2019 my word of the year was “Nope.” To me, this one simple word was a reminder to myself to say no. I have a slight problem with over committing myself. When I’m stretched too thin I don’t perform to my highest potential. Less is definitely more in my world and “Nope” was a straightforward way for me to remind myself to stay on track.
When it comes to selecting your own Word of the Year, once again your good friend Google can help you get ideas. Your word – if you choose to have one – should help bring you focus and clarity.
What do I want more of in my life?
What do I want less of in my life?
What characteristics would I like to have or feel?
Just like goal planning, it helps to make a long list of all the words you are considering for whatever reason. Then narrow the list to three words. Usually by the time you narrow it down to three words there is one that starts to really stand out to you as the obvious choice. If you see me out on the road at one of the countless legal tech conferences and events I’ll be at in 2020 – please ask me about my word and I’d love to learn yours, too!
I sincerely hope these three activities – Vision Planning, Goal Planning and Word of the Year – help you gain some clarity on where you are headed in 2020, and beyond!