Lisa: 00:00 You’re listening to the Super Power U Podcast. This is episode #4.
VO: 00:12 Welcome to the Super Power U Podcast where we reveal the mental models and tactical skills needed to activate your inner superhero. And here’s your host, Lisa Betts-LaCroix.
Lisa: 00:22 Hello, my lovely listeners. Thank you so much for being here with me again today. I’m so appreciative of your time and your attention. So today is my first ever solo show. No guests, no interviews. Just you and me laying out a vision for our year 2018. I want to share with you the year planning process that I have done every year for the past eighteen years. Now, I know a lot of people bristle when they think of New Year’s Resolutions, and I understand why. I really do! It’s sort of the old school approach. In fact, traditionally New Year’s resolutions were focused on resolving or changing some terrible undesirable habit or trait we’d let ourselves fall into. But I like to think of things in a more constructive, positive, forward-moving way. Now it’s not that we can’t learn from the past and change for the better. I think we can. In fact, my typical year planning process always begins with a review of the previous year.
Lisa: 01:28 Right now we’re just a few days away from the end of the calendar year and so, to my mind that makes it the perfect, or at least a perfect time to plan. I know that the turning of the calendar year and January 1st is pretty arbitrary. In fact, historically it has something to do with Romans and Pope Gregory in the 1500s commissioning a calendar revision which determined that in fact January 1st should be the beginning of the calendar year. And by the way, it’s apparently the anniversary of the feast commemorating the circumcision of Christ…Fun Fact! So yes, it IS arbitrary and some might argue it’s not even the best time to do your planning. In fact, I recently heard Kate Northrup talk about the fact that the winter is a terrible time to plan, that the middle of the winter doesn’t make energetic sense for creating new projects and intending new starts, but rather winter is the time of going inwards.
Lisa: 02:23 It’s a time when we can be gestating and deepening. Then spring is actually the time to make stuff happen or to start new projects…so, I’m going to take that to mean that if you are listening to this episode after the beginning of the year, maybe into January or even later, then there’s still time for the official start of your new projects to begin, that the time is right. The time is ripe. The time is now. That any fresh start will do. If the calendar year beginning is far away, then maybe you have a birthday coming up or maybe there’s a new calendar quarter approaching, or a new season or some other marker. Any marker that you can use to put a stake in the ground, or in your calendar and say “this is a reset” because all of the year planning processes I’ll be sharing can be used at any time in any way.
Lisa: 03:15 In fact, let me take a moment to say that I hope you’ll listen to the suggestions I’m making and the process I use and make it your own. Take what works for you and change it in a way that is relevant to your life, your personality, your style, your desire, your needs. I know that many people live without any specific or real intention, without considering what they really want. They just drift through life and believe me, I say that without any judgment. At some stages of life, there’s great beauty to just being in the moment and living free form, intuitively. At some stages of life, though that’s not enough. You may have woken up one day and realized that somehow you feel adrift; that you haven’t done the things that you wanted to do; that you have a bigger vision for yourself; that there’s something else possible.
Lisa: 04:08 Maybe you’re realizing that you didn’t intend to be where you are. You’re living someone else’s vision for your life or maybe you’re doing the same thing everyone else does because that’s just what was expected. Maybe you had a wake up call which has made you aware of the fact that life is short and you want it to count 100% because after all, this life, this is our greatest, our biggest, our most meaningful creative project. Or maybe like me, you just find a planning FUN. Maybe you love the freshness, the excitement, the possibility that goes with a new year, a new day, a clean slate. If any of those are relevant for you, then great. This is the episode for you. I want to share with you the year planning process I have used with my husband every year since we got married nineteen years ago in 1998.
Lisa: 05:06 Ideally, I block out three to four days to dig in and reflect on the past year and plan the future, but that’s not always possible. Like for example, last year in 2016, my mom had recently died and my heart was really delicate and my energy was very low and so I did a cursory process. So let’s start there. Let’s start with Year Planning Lite. You can start right now if you’re in a space where you can write or type or even draw. And if you’re listening to the show while driving or doing squats or washing the dishes, then I’ll tell you how later you can get access to my “Creating 2018 Workbook” for free and you can just listen along for now. But if you are able to and you’d like to work through a basic plan, just go and grab a paper and pen or a digital device, a computer or what have you, and we’ll get a jump start right now.
Lisa: 06:06 If you do nothing else but this process which I’m calling, Creating a 2018 Year Vision Statement…If you do nothing else but this process –which should take one to two hours at most– you will be very far ahead. You will have a statement that will create a foundation for the feeling and the intention of your year. Just take out a piece of paper and in the middle of the paper, write your name and 2018. So mine says “Lisa in 2018” and that’s circled. Now you’re going to do an absolute brain dump, free-form capture, whatever comes to mind when you think about yourself and 2018. The idea is to just identify words or phrases that come up when you think about what you want to DO, BE, or HAVE throughout, or by the end of the year. So aim for about fifteen or twenty of the first words or phrases that come up. I’ll wait here. Feel free to take a pause and turn off the podcast and come on back when you’re done.
Lisa: 07:09 OK, now take a look at the words you’ve written down and see if there are natural groupings between the words…if there are synonyms or related ideas. You may see patterns arising, but if you don’t, that’s OK too.
Lisa: 07:24 So, I’ll share a little of my process in order to explain and to make it clear how this might work. My words in no particular order where things like “reach”, “impact”, “depth” and “meaning”, “self-expression”, “closeness”, “strong relationships”, “service”, uh, “efficiency” and “systems”. I want “connection” and “authenticity”. So I looked at that list and I couldn’t really make sense of how it all fit together. So I asked my nineteen-year old college-age kiddo, who’s home from school for the holidays, to look at the list with me and talk through it and see if we could make sense of it together. Sometimes having an objective person to reflect back what you’ve written to yourself makes all the difference in the world. So don’t be afraid to ask for input or help from someone else.
Lisa: 08:13 So after Kaizen and I looked through my words and I described what each one meant to me, we started to see patterns. Things like “ease” and “efficiency” and “systems” fit together while “relationships” and “connection” and “closeness” fit together. And in fact, there were about three or four different groups. And when I asked myself what kind of story it was trying to tell me, what kind of message I had for myself, I saw that my vision for 2018 was to experience meaning through having great impact on others through service and authentic self expression. And that in order to realize this vision that I will need to create systems, allowing the process to be easy and effortless, which will also give me time for deep, connected relationships with family and friends.
Lisa: 09:03 So that is a beautiful collection of words and the Vision Statement for me for 2018, which I will be able to return to and use as a foundation for the details and tasks and to do lists of my year. Now, of course, your words will be different! Your words should reflect who you are and your instincts about what you want for your year. Now, once you’ve got to a 2018 vision statement, you can also look at that statement and seek the one word that can serve as a One Word Theme for your year. In my case, the word that jumped out at me as a central theme, if I wanted to focus on just one thing was the word “Connection”. So now I have a one word theme for the year connection and a 2018 year vision statement. It isn’t really a surprise to me and it probably shouldn’t be to you either if the theme you come up with for your year is also a value that you see showing up in your life over and over again –something that you may always want more of or something that is always important to you or maybe in your case, like in mine, the word that comes up is also your Super Power.
Lisa: 10:15 I’m a verbal-processor so it makes sense that it was easiest for me to think through this with another person, but if you’re visual spacial, there is no reason you couldn’t do this as a visual exercise. That may mean coming up with a vision board. You could sit down with magazines, or even make a Pinterest Board. Then just let your interest and your inclination guide you! Just go on a visual journey, down a Pinterest rabbit-hole, and collect pictures which appeal to you even if you don’t know why.
Lisa: 10:45 Then once you have 15 or 20 images that speak to you, ask the question, “what do I want to DO, BE or HAVE during, or by the end of 2018. Just look over the board, find the themes, and if you like, articulate what you discover and put it into the form of a 2018 Vision Statement if you like. You could also do something similar to the Kylego process Marli Williams mentioned in last week’s episode #3. The idea in that case is to sit down with a friend or a coach and verbally describe what you will do, be or have during or by the end of 2018 as if it’s already happened. In that case, I’d suggest having the other person jot down notes while you talk, and then together searching for the themes which may guide you to the 2018 Vision Statement. There are links to Kylego process in my show notes, at LisaBL.com/3.
Lisa: 11:39 So maybe you have a bit more time to invest in your year planning process. In that case, reviewing the previous year is an important part of the process. Even in the years when I’ve kept things very simple, I’ve almost always done a Year in Review. Now, the simplest way to do this is to just title a page or a document as “2017 in Review” and then write down anything that comes to mind about the previous year. Get out your calendar and review the big events that took place, trips you took. You can also consider people you spent a lot of time with and projects you completed and successes you had. Look at the important events that took place in your career, what worked well, what you’re grateful for and who you want to appreciate. Now, you could also take a look at projects that are incomplete relationships and situations that are unresolved and things you’re unhappy with because there’s definitely lots to discover around those kinds of opportunities for growth, so write them down if they come. But especially if you’re doing the lite version of Year Planning, I’d recommend putting more focus on the positive.
Lisa: 12:45 A great thing about the review page, a lovely bonus is that it serves as a long-term record. For example, when I was planning this episode, I looked back over the review section of the last 18 years and I was able to see patterns. I was able to revisit things I’d completely forgotten about.
Lisa: 13:06 So moving on to the Envisioning 2018 section, take a new piece of paper, and write down, “Envision 2018” with a general list of things you want for yourself for the next year. If you’re doing a very abbreviated version, then once again, simply just do the bulleted list including whatever comes to mind. If you have more time and energy, what I like to do is write down all the categories that are important to me. Here are some to consider…write down a couple of these on each page with room to add details under each. And if the category isn’t relevant to you, then just skip that one.
Lisa: 13:37 So are you ready? Here are the categories with added details. The first is “Health and Well-being”. This is the query of what really needs to be handled in order to have an incredibly strong foundation for excellence. Ask questions like, what do I need for my energy to be strong and vibrant, as a base for me to make projects happen and for me to be healthy and feeling good? in my case, I know that I want to sleep better and eat better and I want more regular movement in my life and want to feel calm, so what comes up as possibilities as meditation, movement and fasting –which I’ll do another show episode on. The next category to consider if it’s relevant to you is “Personal Development”. You can ask questions like, how do I want to develop as a person? What kind of traits would I like to build on and what skills do I want to develop?
Lisa: 14:28 What do I want to learn? The third category is “Physical Environment”. Under this category, I might list the things I want to change in my physical environment at home or at work that would make it a better reflection of me. I might ask myself, how can I make it more comfortable or more functional? The fourth category is “Self-expression and Creativity”. Some relevant questions are what are some ideas I have about expressing who I am creatively, what would I like, my clothes or other elements of myself, self presentation to say about me and what would I like to be or have or change to express myself fully. The fifth category is “Recreation and Joy”. Here I might list my top 10 sources of joy and pleasure. I could ask where would I like to travel this year and what activities would I like to do more of? What books would I like to read, and what are the other sources of joy, pleasure or recreation I intend to add to my life this year? So in my case, I have in the past been passionately involved in ballroom dancing and it’s fallen out of my life. So for this year I intend to get back to a clear focus on competitive dance in one way or another and I am open to the possibility that that shows up in the right way for me. “Marriage and Romance” questions that might be relevant are what do I most want in my current or in a future relationship? And what can I do to attract or improve my relationship? If family is relevant to you, that can be a category of its own. You might ask, what would I like more of for myself and my family and what changes can I make that will improve our life together?
Lisa: 16:22 “Friends and Social” world. Ask what kind of friendships do I want and who do I need to be in a relationship to others to have what I want are the five people I spend the most time with, a reflection of who I would like to be and how can I improve the quality of my friendships? How can I be a better friend? If “Career and Business” is important to you, then that section might have you asking, what’s next in my career? What three things would I like to see happen this year? What changes can I make that I have control over and which are my key circle of influence relationships? How can I strengthen them? What is a good stretch goal for my business and what kind of income or financial goal do I have? Related is the next category, “Financial Freedom”. Am I saving appropriately? What does financial independence mean to me and what would it take for me to achieve it? Am I responsible with money? How can I be more so. And does my lifestyle fit with my means? If not, how can I change that and what new beliefs about money would serve me? What would I do if money was not an issue? Perhaps contribution is important to you, in which case you might ask what causes would I like to contribute to and in what way and what help could I offer others that doing so would give me joy?
Lisa: 17:54 OK, that was kind of a fire hose, but don’t worry if you didn’t get all that and you want to check the show notes. I’ll have access to my workbook which outlines it all and gives opportunities for, and spaces and places to write down your answers. Just check the show notes at LisaBL.com/4. So now I want to say a little bit about the process of revisiting what you’ve capture.
Lisa: 18:18 There was a year when Joe and I realized that we were forgetting all about our goals and the plans we’d made for the year, so that year we decided to revisit our year planning once a quarter. So sometime in March, sometime in June, sometime in September, I put the dates on the calendar and we had a date night or a family meeting where we revisited what we’d written down. When we do our revisiting process, sometimes we decide that we will now take a goal or an intention off the table or out of our plans. We ask ourselves, is this particular vision or goal something that I truly want or am I ready to let it go? Because sometimes taking a goal off of the table is absolutely the right thing to do. Things change. You might have different information or more clarity or you might just want something different, so trust it! This is a living document and it’s a fluid process.
Lisa: 19:17 That’s a basic overview of my general process for your planning, but it only touches on the possible ways into envisioning your future. So I’m going to make this into a two-part episode. This will be the first section, Part 1, outlining a general approach to Year Planning that I use and the basic process. Next week on January 4th will be Part 2. Some of the topics we’ll explore in more detail next week include: what kinds of planners are effective for designing your year and implementing it; how to identify your Super Powers –the topic of this podcast– as a center and guiding light for creating your year; how a “Who I Am” statement can help support the year you envision for yourself; what kind of details to look at if you use your own personal life orientation as guiding light; and what Habit Design is and why it matters; using the concept of having a quest as a way to orient your year. And a whole lot more about collaborating with others and using a long range vision to design our year-by-year plans.
Lisa: 20:28 I cannot believe I intended to include so much in one episode, but suffice it to say we’ll break it in two, and since you’ll be listening to this at the end of the year, I hope you have a wonderful, a fabulous, a beautiful and connected celebration of the turning of the year on December 31st!
Lisa: 20:46 If you can please subscribe on iTunes or on your preferred platform for podcast listening. You can find show notes at LisaBL.com/4 and there you’ll find a download for my “2018 Year Planning” workbook. Review us if possible and please do join us again next week when we’ll go more into depth on Year Planning Part 2.
VO: 21:13 Thank you for listening to the Super Power U Podcast. Please subscribe to the show on iTunes and get more information at LisaBL.com.