14 Questions to Make 2020 Your Best Year so Far
2020 is 60 days away. There are no looming deadlines or time crunches related to 2020 yet. You can breathe easy, relax and really dream about all that is possible for the year ahead. Imagine a life in which you wake up every morning and know that you have the big rocks, the top priorities in your life, already scheduled for the day. Sure, some things will come up, but you can fit those into the spaces around the big rocks. How fantastic would that feel? It’s not hard to do, and now is the time to turn that dream into a reality. The questions below will help you do just that.
We all know it matters who says it, so check out what Jim Rohn has to say about planning your year:
“Don't start the year until it is finished on paper. It's not a bad idea, toward the end of the year, to sit down with your family for the family structure plans, sit down in your business for the business plans, sit down with your financial advisor for your investments and map out the year... properties to buy, properties to sell, places to go with your family, lay out the year. ~Jim Rohn
The truth is confusion often causes us to take no action at all, while clarity leads to us acting decisively on our next step. When we are clear on what we want to accomplish, why we want to accomplish it and the actions we need to take to accomplish an objective, we are extremely productive. The best time to make plans and decisions is before you are under pressure to make plans or decisions.
Remember, the goal of the Ninja Selling system is to increase your income per hour so you can have a life. As you’ll likely do business planning in the coming days or weeks let’s start our 2020 planning looking at that big, life picture outside of work for a moment. Use the questions and prompts below to start this process.
Take a few minutes with each of the following questions and jot down some things you want to plan for the upcoming year.
1. Who are the most important people in my life? Does how I am spending my time reflect their importance?
It is one of the great ironies in life that the ones we love and care for the most are often the ones who are the first to get cut out of our schedule when we feel a time crunch. Don’t beat yourself up or feel guilty if you have done this in the past. It has happened to everyone. This is the time to look forward and make your plan to make sure the most important people in your life are reflected in your schedule. What does this look like on a practical level? Simply put, schedule your time with them first. Cover the low hanging fruit by writing their birthdays and anniversaries in your Ninja Planner right now. Schedule a weekly family night, date night, card-playing night, bowling night or whatever kind of night is meaningful for you. Or, if they live far away, put in a weekly action item to call or video chat with them. I bet if you spend a minute or two thinking about it, you know what you could do to honor these relationships. Schedule this first.
2. What do I want to do for my own personal (physical and mental) health this year?
A big misconception is that taking time to take care of ourselves is selfish because we could be spending that time and energy on other people. This could not be further from the truth. It is only by taking care of ourselves first that we have the mental and physical energy to take care of others. There is a reason during the airline flight safety briefing that they instruct you to put on your own oxygen mask before taking care of others. You can start small and then go from there. Some ideas could include book a massage or facial monthly, have a weekly “coffee walk” with a friend, join a running club, hire a personal trainer, walk around the block before dinner, go for a Saturday morning hike. Make it a priority to take care of yourself. Please, we all want you to be around for a long time!
3. Are there any conferences or personal growth events I want to attend this year?
Education and personal growth is not something that ends when you graduate school or fulfill your Continuing Education requirements to maintain your license. Ninjas are life-long learners. Curiosity and personal growth expand who you are and what you have to offer the world. Make a commitment to attend a conference or personal growth event where you’ll learn something new and expand your horizons. Go ahead, schedule it in your Ninja Planner now. You will be glad you did.
4. What CE (Continuing Education) do I need to complete in the upcoming year to support my license?
Don’t let your CE requirements sneak up on you for 2020. Take a look at what you need to do for CE this licensing cycle and get it in your Ninja Planner for 2020. This is one less thing you will need to think about when business is booming.
5. How many weeks of vacation do I want to take this year?
Decide on the number of weeks of vacation you want to take and get those weeks scheduled in your Ninja Planner. There is a power to writing them down and sharing them with your family and friends. Once they are in writing, then you can plan your days and weeks around them making your business run that much smoother while you're out enjoying time off. Doing so will recharge you for when you’re back in the office. One of the most successful Ninjas I know takes 10 weeks off a year. How does he do it? He makes a plan and executes it.
6. Where do I want to go?
I have heard and personally experienced that deciding where to go and looking at all the exciting things to do once you get there can be half the fun of the trip. Pick out those destinations you have always wanted to visit and then start making plans. If it is a family trip, let the whole family enjoy the excitement of the weeks and months leading up to the trip. Again, once you have that trip in writing, the fun starts immediately.
7. What can I do to focus on my relationship with my spouse/significant other?
If you have a spouse or significant other, chances are they have missed out on a few dinners or had plans change because of something that came up at work. Commit to making time with your significant other a priority in your life by scheduling your “appointments” with them before you let your Ninja Planner get filled with all those other things that pop up and take away your time. In future blogs, we’ll share tips and dialogues to use with clients that allow you to protect your valuable personal time while still offering great client service.
8. What can I do to focus on my relationship with my children/grandchildren or other children in my life?
Not everyone has children in their life but if you do, we all know that children grow up quickly. You only have so many chances to go to their kindergarten class and have lunch with them or be a chaperone on that school field trip to the zoo. Maybe you want to be sure to visit with your nieces/nephews or a godchild in your life. Make sure these kids know how important they are to you by giving them the gift of time. If your daughter plays on the high school basketball team and her games are always on Tuesday and Thursday nights from January to March, then block off those nights now in your 2020 Ninja Planner so you can be sure to make it to her games. Book school holidays or trips to see the grandchildren or your nephew right now so you will be ready to design your business around your family instead of fitting your family into the cracks your business leaves in your days and weeks.
9. Are there friendships I want to rekindle? High School or College Friends? Friends from a city you used to live in? Class Reunion?
I recently had the great fortune to reconnect with my best friend from high school and college. He was the best man at my wedding and I had not seen him in 17 years. He had a son going to college and a daughter who was a junior in high school that I had not met. We spent a weekend together this past summer and it was like no time had passed. It was a high point of my year to get to spend time with him, his wife and his children. It made me realize I have a lot of great friends that I haven’t seen in years. We all get busy with the social demands of our business, but take some time in 2020 to reconnect with a friend you haven’t seen in far too long. Pick someone or a few people right now, schedule some time and commit to rekindling an old friendship. I can assure you, you will not regret it.
10. What experiences am I going to have this year?
Maybe this isn’t something on your Life List, but it is something you have always wanted to do and never found the time. It could be trying out a writing workshop, doing some wood carving, joining the recreational volleyball league, attending the Arts Festival, volunteering at the museum, getting certified as a local naturalist, doing a weekend meditation retreat, taking a cooking class. Are you starting to get the point? Pick one or a few new experiences you want to do in 2020 and plan the time now. Don’t let them sneak up on you. If it is scheduled, it will happen. Don’t let your life happen on accident. Some spontaneity is good, but all spontaneity is a path to disorganization.
11. What item or items on my Life List do I want to accomplish this year?
You have a Life List for a reason. Don’t just look at it every year and say “I can’t wait until when I have the time for…” Carpe Diem, my friend. We all have stories or know someone who left this life very unexpectedly. Accomplishing an item on your Life List is not irresponsible, it is living. Go for it! Pick one, pick two, pick ten.
12. How will I foster my emotional/spiritual growth this year?
If you just read this question and did a little eye roll and said this question feels way to woo-woo for me, then you can skip this one and that is totally fine. However, if this question stirred a little feeling inside of you, then take a moment and explore that little feeling. When life gets hectic, it is often emotional and spiritual health that suffers first, but for many, the emotional and spiritual health provides our greatest source of resiliency. If you’re a person this resonates with, then be sure to schedule time to recharge your emotional/spiritual batteries. Decide what you are going to do and schedule that time right now.
13. What annual physical, dental, eye, or other medical appointments do I need to schedule this year?
Do you want to be sure you don’t miss your annual exam with your physician like you did last year? You want to know how to get the exact appointment date and time you want to get? Book it 6 months to a year in advance. I can’t imagine that your optometrist is booked at 10 am on Wednesday, November 11, 2020. Book it and put it in your Ninja Planner right now!
14. What annual financial, insurance, accounting or other professional appointments do I need to schedule this year?
As a Ninja, we do real estate reviews for our clients at least annually, so be sure that you are reviewing the other aspects of your own financial health. Schedule appointments with the trusted advisors on your team right now, especially if you want to get that latest possible time slot with your accountant before the tax filing deadline, say Tuesday, April 14 at 3:00 pm? Book it now!
There is a reason there are a multitude of quotes from people much wiser than me about the importance of planning your life in order to have a great life - because it is true. Can your life be amazing and fulfilling if you don’t plan at all? It is possible, but not very likely.
If you want 2020 to be your best year so far, then take the time to make a plan for 2020 and the odds will definitely be stacked in your favor!
~ Erik Hardy
Founder, Ninja Planner