I have had a bit of a tough time getting focused at the start of this new year. I have been reading Anne Lamott’s Almost Everything. 

Like her, I am struck by the paradox of this moment in history. So much seems in chaos and craziness. It can be scary. And at the same time, the sun was shining yesterday and my friends joined me for a party yesterday that was a warm beginning to the year. What is it we should plan for? How big do we go? I spent the last couple of days wrestling with this.

So how to plan to move into the new opportunity presented by 2019?

I think it’s important to go after what we want (Big – long-term) and how we want to feel (small – daily). I think we plan in the context of a fair amount of disruption in the world and the beauty of every day.

It’s funny to me when I struggle. Almost always it’s about re-learning something I already knew in a new way. When I help people and organizations move towards their goals, I almost always ask them to think big and plan small. So for this week, let’s dive into what I mean by that.

1) Think big. We rarely achieve more than we hope to achieve. Set your goals a little beyond what you think is possible. And be honest with yourself that about it. You aren’t letting yourself down if you get almost but not quite there. You are asking yourself to stretch. You’ll reach further than if you just set small obviously achievable goals.

2) Plan small. There is an old joke about, “How do you eat an elephant?” The answer? One bite at a time. While you set big goals, success comes from moving forward one step at a time. Break the big goals into small pieces. Then break those into small pieces. That both gives you achievable goals and creates flexibility to respond to the changing environment.

3) Focus daily. To achieve the goal, each day take a minute or two to focus on the goal and your next step. I like to ask two questions in the morning that helps me keep moving towards the goal. That enables me to shift the small steps based on what is happening around me.

The question I ask is simple, “what would make today a success?” That sets me up for the day. By success, I might choose a business goal, I might choose how I want to feel at the end of the day. What would provide satisfaction – professional, personal, relational. 

Second, I ask “how can I contribute?” Sometimes the answer to that question is about service, helping someone else. Others, it’s about self-care so I can do more tomorrow. 

What do you think?  What helps you? 

Wishing you a joyful and successful 2019,