This week I’ve been reflecting on how to prepare for the new year. Instead of waiting until the last minute and not giving yourself the best chance for success, how about starting now to think about how you want next year to be? At this time of year we often think about what might be possible. A new beginning is a powerful idea, but how do you take the steps to turn your dreams into reality? How do you start now to set yourself up for success? Whether you’re just launching a new business, thinking about starting or in a growth phase, giving yourself the time and space to prepare for success is key to avoiding overwhelm, frustration and burnout. Let’s start now to ensure that next year starts in a positive and productive way.

By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Benjamin Franklin

Setting yourself up for success

The start of a new year encourages many people to come up with ambitious ideas of how to make next year better than this one. But goals are often too large and too nebulous. And many wait until the new year is upon them to set themselves up for success.

When you have a huge, unwieldly goal, it’s all too easy to fall at the first hurdle and give up. Gyms are usually busy in early January, but the drop-off by the end of the month is significant. Making a grand plan to go from zero exercise to working out five days a week, you’re setting yourself up for a fall. When your goal is undefined you’re likely to struggle. Our brains don’t cope well with nebulous! They like routines and small steps and things we can measure. What does ‘grow my business’ mean for you? How much more revenue or profit? How many more clients or team members? Why is that important to you?

Goal-setting is challenging because it often involves trade-offs. I’m not someone who’s going to tell you that you can have it all without hard work and compromises. Life is all about choices. I’m building businesses that I can run from anywhere in the world. I’m a restless soul and freedom is very important to me. That has implications for the types of businesses I build, the people I work with and the services I offer.

When I first started my coaching business, I tried to persuade myself to scale as many coaches do – live events, bums on seats. I told myself that it was the only way. But it wasn’t making me happy. It was draining my energy and negatively affecting my health. Last year when we went into lockdown, my husband thought all my clients would cancel, but I’ve never been busier. People want and need what I offer. My business is scaling and I’m able to work with clients all over the world, from wherever I am in the world (during the last two years, I’ve worked from six different countries). Many clients love the flexibility and efficiency of coaching on Zoom and my online live training works brilliantly for distributed teams and bringing together people from different businesses. But it’s not for everyone. Some people would prefer to pay for a face-to-face service. I can offer that of course, and do for some clients, but it’s not a core part of my strategy.

What I want from my life and businesses may not be anything like what you want from yours. The point is that you can have what you want, and you can build a business and a life that works for you, you just need to be prepared to have an honest conversation with yourself about the tradeoffs involved. Instead of expecting big changes on the first of January, start thinking now about goals that you work up to over time, using defined and measurable steps. Here are my Top Ten Tips for Setting Yourself Up For Success:-

🌟 Goal. Always start with what you want. Allow yourself to dream without restriction or challenge. Why is this important to you? What will it feel like when you’ve achieved it? How will you know?
🌟 Get specific. Get as clear as you can about the specifics, even if they don’t make too much sense to you. What’s not working? What exactly do you want to change? Write it down. Create a vision board.
🌟 Steps. Now that we’re clear(er) about where we’re going and what we want, it’s time to break it down into manageable chunks. What are the first steps? What about low-hanging fruit? Make it easy for yourself to start.
🌟 Plan. Map out your year. Where do you want to be by the end of the year? What do you want to have achieved. Make a plan that starts ‘easy’ and builds up to more challenging activities or rhythms.
🌟 Reflect. Thinking back to what has worked or not in the past is really helpful. Instead of beating yourself up for past ‘failures’, what can you learn that will help you this time? What was it that held you back or got in the way?
🌟 Visible. Don’t underestimate the power of being able to see and be reminded of what you’re working towards and why. Put your plan (and vision board if you’ve made one) somewhere you will see it several times a day.
🌟 Fight. It’s very easy to give up, but your version of success is worth fighting for. Don’t let yourself get defeated by ‘failures’, treat them as setbacks. Take a step back, regroup and go again. This is important. Let’s keep going.
🌟 Honesty. There will be times when you want to procrastinate, when you let yourself get distracted. Be honest with yourself about how you’re feeling. Acknowledge the urge you may have to give up on what you want and deserve.
🌟 Patience. This will take time. Be realistic about how long. Be patient with yourself and remind yourself why this is important and what it will feel like when you achieve it. Pace yourself…
🌟 Reality. This is the life you’ve chosen. That may be hard to accept but it’s true. You don’t have total control for sure, but you have choices and you can make decisions. If you’re not enjoying your life then change it.

It’s completely unrealistic to expect yourself to know everything or be able to do everything. Please be kind to yourself and if you’d like to talk through the choices you’re facing or any blockers in your business, let me know.

Lisa Zevi – December 2021