Make This Your First Action of the New Year

In case you were wondering, this holiday season, like the most of 2020, is anything but normal. Everything from office parties to family gatherings have been completely altered or cancelled altogether.

Personally, this time of year has always been about deep reflection as much as the holiday festivities. An opportunity to look at the past year while envisioning what might be possible in the new year and beyond.

I invite you to do the same by developing what I call “The Personal One Pager.” This is an activity I started a few years ago and revise each December. It is also an exercise I encourage my coaching clients to complete, particularly if they are feeling overwhelmed or lack focus or meaning in their lives.

“The Personal One Pager” is exactly that, a one-page document. No more. You don’t want the process to be overwhelming which can prevent you from ever getting started. Once completed, I encourage you to have a hard copy that you can review and reflect on at the beginning and end of each day.

What you include in your “Personal One Pager” is completely up to you. Make it, well, personal. Its objective is to help guide you on what is truly important and how you will serve others. By doing so, you limit outside distractions and other “noise” (e.g., social media, 24-hour news cycle, drama) that can prevent you from living the life you were designed for.

Below are the categories I use for my own one-pager:

A theme: This is new for this year. It is a focus that you set for yourself in the coming year. My theme for 2021 will be “Back to Basics”. While I continue to develop personally, I have realized that I need to return to fundamental strategies in areas of my life including fitness, nutrition, and time management.

A purpose statement: I have written extensively on this topic, and this most likely will be the most challenging part of this exercise. It requires spending quiet time identifying how your passion and skills can make a difference in others including your family, co-workers, and community. I suggest no more than one sentence that captures what gives you meaning. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Start with a draft and let it evolve over time.  

A set of values: Values help us stay focused on what truly matters to us. They are particularly important when we are faced with a difficult decision or in a time of crisis. I suggest that you select no more than five values. Here is a sample list of values. You may want to take this list and circle each one that resonates with you eventually getting to a list of 3-5.

Outcome goals: In Michael Hyatt’s book, Your Best Year Ever, he differentiates outcome goals from habit goals. I will explain habit goals below. For outcome goals, think of typical goals you would set for yourself using the SMART criteria. I would suggest no more than five outcome goals to focus on throughout the year. The goals should be holistic, meaning they cover multiple areas of your life (e.g., relationships, career, wellbeing, professional development). Also, be sure to have a completion date for each goal.

Habit goals: Habit goals are the habits that you will be practicing regularly that will help you obtain your outcome goals. For example, if you want to run a 5K in under 25 minutes by June 30, a habit goal could possibly include running at least three times each week. Habit goals should be aligned with each outcome goal. The power of the habit goal is that it helps structure your day to produce significant change.

A personal code of conduct: Like any business, each of us would benefit from our own code of conduct. It is of little value if we simply accomplish goals while treating others and ourselves negatively. I use affirmation statements writing each as if I am conducting myself accordingly. An example would be, “I focus on having a positive, energetic interaction with everyone I encounter.”

Now that you know what could be included in your “Personal One-Pager”, I would devote 60-90 minutes each day over the period of a week to develop your own version. Build the time into your calendar now. Believe me, it will be an investment. Don’t stop there. Share your one-pager and the process with others.

Clients have said this has provided them with the focus and motivation that was lacking in their lives. One client recently said this was a game changer in terms of how he manages his time. “I now know how to plan each day.” I hope you experience similar benefits.

Your “Personal One-Pager” is an evolving document. In other words, although you complete this at the beginning of the year, life changes regularly as we well know after this year. Feel free to revise your purpose statement, add to your outcome goals, or edit your code of conduct. Remember, it’s personal. Just be sure to review at the beginning and end of each day and be ready for great things to occur!