Thought Leadership

It Starts With A Vision - Your 2020 Planning

"The beginning is the most important part of the work." - Plato

Are you someone who looks forward to the promise of a New Year and setting new goals, or would you rather skip New Year's resolutions altogether because "no one ever follows through with them anyway?" Another alternative is to consider making shorter and more attainable goals. Perhaps a Dry January or Veganuary commitment?

There seems to be an overabundance of different New Year proclamations on social and mainstream media this year. Everyone is composing his or her personal take on the subject. The ending of a decade and the beginning of a new one is the reason I suppose.

I have never been one to make a long list of hopeful New Year resolutions. I believe in continuous improvements so I always have goals, not just because we enter into a new year. My goals are daily, monthly, annual and longer. However, just spending a few minutes thinking about what you want to accomplish (personally and professionally) in the New Year is always a healthy exercise.

As we enter New Year, and a new decade, I wanted to share my thoughts about planning and goal setting. In my view, this entire exercise begins with having the right orientation and perspective. What does that mean you ask?

Having a positive mental frame influences results. Our orientation to anything can, and does influence our thinking, feeling and behavior. Most importantly, it affects outcomes. With that as a starting place, these are my ideas on how to plan for the New Year:

First, avoid negative thoughts. Don't give into negative thoughts this year! Dr. Judy Ho, the author of Stop Self-Sabotage, makes the point in her book that our thoughts are not always reality. Negative self-talk can be harmful. If your negative thoughts are producing negative results, its time to make a profound change. Focusing on the job or promotion you did not get is not helpful. Instead focus on what you plan to do this year to make necessary changes to achieve your goals.

Second, have an ownership mentality by thinking like an owner. What does that mean, to think like an owner? In today's competitive world, owners must offer superior products/services and put clients first in order to build a successful business. Thinking like the CEO of your own business changes the way you do things. As you begin to think like an owner, it will lead to a significant change in your mindset. It drives you to think in terms of excellence in all that you do.

Last, focus on self-improvement. Don't rest on yesterday's successes. Focus on today's challenges. There is nothing wrong with taking a bow for today's accomplishments. Enjoy the moment, but always think of ways to improve and do better. As Jim Collins points out in his book Good to Great, we do not get from good to great by focusing on just average. Self-improvement is the key.

As you think about 2020, keep these three suggestions in mind. I think they are the beginning, middle and end to your New Year thinking and planning.

Until next time...

Jim Ward