Here we are. It’s December and another year is almost coming to an end.
I always disliked December and the holiday shenanigans. Especially when I worked in sales. People are always desperately running around trying to hit their targets.
And at the same time, there are holiday parties and celebrations. It’s pretty superficial. We all expect presents and put on our new clothes.
And somehow there’s always drama in December. Relationship issues. Family feuds. You name it.
But for the past two years, I’ve been taking a very different approach. When most people are partying and focused on closing the year, I retreat. I’m focused on planning the upcoming year.
I’m not talking about new year’s resolutions. I hate that nonsense. “I’m going on a diet in January.” That’s BS, and we all know it. If you want to be healthy, be healthy all year round.
1. Always be present.
While I’m looking forward to 2017, I’m also fully present and focused on enjoying life. I must say, it took me years to work myself in a position to do that.
Because we always have to stay practical. You still have to pay your bills, and you still have to take care of others. I never walk away from my responsibilities.
But no matter where you are in life — when January 1st comes, we’re all equals. That’s how I look at it.
Every year you have the chance to start with a clean slate. You can hit the reset button and do things differently. It doesn’t matter if you had a good or bad 2016.
Celebrate. Cry. But never forget that life moves forward.
- What do you want to focus on in 2017?
- What do you want to do for your relationships, career, yourself?
- What will you do when things don’t go according to plan?1 (Never think that everything will go well. Be prepared for setbacks.)
For instance, in 2015, I focused on learning. I read almost 110 books, followed courses, read articles, talked to mentors, etc.
And in 2016, my focus was on exercising and writing. I exercised over 300 times (I’m going to write an article about how I did it soon), and wrote a little over 150,000 words.
When I plan my year, I only focus on setting targets that I can directly influence.1 I never say things like: “I want to have 10K subscribers by X.”
I can’t directly control those things. People who say you can are delusional or lying to you.
What can I control? The equivalent would be: “I’m going to publish two articles a week. And I will spend one day a week on promoting those articles.” That’s also how business works. You can’t control how many people buy your shit.
You can control your own effort and skills. How many people will you reach? How are you going to reach them? How well do you know the principles of persuasion? Etc.
2. Overestimating short-term impact and underestimating long-term impact.
A year is enough time to make a lot of things happen. But at the same time, we also tend to overestimate what we can achieve in a year.
When making plans, I like to find a balance between thinking big and thinking practical.
Most of us also underestimate what we can achieve in the long term. If you work hard every day for years, you can make a big impact.
No one can make a big impact by doing something for a week or a month. Mastering skills, working on your character, and building relationships take time. A long time.
If you’re chasing your dreams, never quit too early. Keep at it. But at the same time, also know when it’s time to quit or pivot. That requires self-awareness.
And self-awareness is a skill that takes years to develop. You see? Life is full of paradoxes. There’s never one truth or ‘right’ path.
The only path that’s right is YOUR path.
Let’s start thinking about 2017, but don’t forget to be in the moment during the final days of this year. Have a good time and enjoy the company of others.
And when January 1st comes, wake up, get to work, and keep looking forward.
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