Tag Archives: planning

Planning – 3 Business Rules for 2017 and Beyond

Normally, once Saturday Night Live is over, I’m busy doing something. As a night owl, I’m often off the sofa and into my office to work on my lengthy to-do list. But, a few weeks ago, I was a bit tired and didn’t get up before the next program began. And, I’m very glad!

Immediately following SNL, at least in this market (Las Vegas), is Your Move with Andy Stanley. Now, I’d only seen the program a couple of times, but that night’s talk really hit home, with one slight twist. Stanley was addressing viewers to make changes in their personal lives. However, I had my business hat on that day and before he spoke a word, once I saw the bullet points on the screen, I immediately went into entrepreneur mode.

Stanley wanted you to look deep inside you to make the changes necessary to become the person you’re desiring to sit across the table from you, the perfect mate. If viewed from the other’s perspective with your checklist, do you match up? I’d heard this advice before, but my business brain was running a mile a minute on his bullet points. So let’s take a look.

Here are Andy Stanley’s Three Rules:

  1. Get out of debt
  2. Stay out of bed
  3. Clean out your closet

Now, aside from the first one, you may be wondering how the next two apply to business. Let’s take them one by one.

Get out of debt. Some people advise you to leverage, leverage, leverage. When it comes to debt, I’m advising to be debt-free. The less debt you have, the more control you have over your company. As a solopreneur or small business owner, if you don’t owe anyone money, then you have more money to keep the doors of your business open longer. You’ll make wiser decisions because if you’re spending your money and not someone else’s, you are apt to be very cautious when signing on the dotted line. If you’re debt-free with savings in the bank, you have a more solid foundation on which to grow your business.

If you have a type of business that requires a large capital outlay and it will be a few years to get those loans down to zero, at least pay off your personal debt. Your individual credit score might be required in order to secure financing for your business. And, if you’re looking to woo a potential partner, investor or company to acquire your business, the prettier the balance sheet, the better chance you have of finding that perfect one that checks off all the boxes on your list.

Stay out of bed. Here, Stanley was suggesting you not sleep around, and while that’s good advice for the business environment as well, I immediately thought in different terms. If I were to use this bullet, I would say Get out of bed.

So many people start a business not knowing the immense amount of time and effort required just to get it off the ground, let alone maintain. If you’re lying in bed instead of working on your to-do list and reviewing your goals to see where you can move forward, your business is doomed.

You don’t even have to own a business to make sense of this advice. Taking the time to improve your skills, get a better education, network with people in your desired industry, research requirements for the job you want – they all require that you spend some time in the full upright position.

I’m not advocating you never take time off. On the contrary, rest is essential to having the endurance to be a successful business owner. Lazing around and complaining that nothing ever goes your way will have quite the opposite effect.

Clean out your closet. Dealing with past emotional baggage was the point Stanley was making here, and that’s not bad advice for a business owner. However, I took it literally. Clean out your closet. And your basement. And your garage. And any other place that’s cluttered! Clean!

Why clean? First of all, a clean environment is healthy and conducive to inspiring thought. If you only see clutter around you, your brain has a hard time slogging through the mess before it can focus on creativity. If you’re looking at a clean and organized interior landscape, surrounded by things that make you happy, your starting point for work is significantly better.

Some people say they can’t find the money to start their business. Well, it might be sitting in your garage or the back of your hall closet. Clean out and sell items you’re not using. You might fetch a few thousand, or at least a few hundred, which could be enough to get your website going and business cards designed and printed. Accomplishing a whole house cleanout will also boost your confidence to accomplish those sometimes-scary business tasks. Just don’t waste the money you gain. It can dribble in as things may sell one by one and take a period of time for everything to sell. Set the money aside so you have all the dollars ready to work for your new business.

As you can see, the same words can mean different things to different people, depending on your perspective and state of mind at the time. Andy Stanley was working on your spiritual self while I saw the words from a business perspective. Still, good advice whichever side you’re on!

What are your thoughts? Can you relate to any of these three scenarios? I’d love to hear about your experiences.

Enjoy!

Cindi

Planning – Your 2017 Motto

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Planning – Your 2017 Motto

January is nearly half over. Do you have your motto selected for the year?

A few years ago, much by accident, I decided I would have a motto for the year, a theme, a focus. I was chatting with a client about a project and he mentioned a discussion he had had with one of his employees. He made a particular comment that immediately struck me as what I wanted to focus on for the following year. I quickly adopted it as my motto.

I tried different ways to remind myself on a daily basis when I decided to list it as a recurring appointment in my Outlook calendar. From then on, every day when I turned on my laptop, a window would pop open and gently urge me to work towards that goal.

A couple years later, somehow I found two mottos to use for the year, one for business and one personal. I liked that combination and I’ve been doing so ever since.

I’m usually not one to share what my annual motto is, but a few months ago while browsing through Etsy, I came across this dashboard from TheFabulousPlanner. I loved it and decided it would be my business motto for 2017.

So, for this entire year, not only will Outlook pop up in the morning with my motto, every time I open my planner I get to enjoy this beautiful reminder of my yearly focus.

I’ve enjoyed having an annual motto more than I ever thought I would. It’s the perfect place to start when you’re planning your goals. If you know at a very high level what you want to achieve 12 months from now, all the goals you set should support that. It streamlines the thought process immensely.

How can you set your motto for the year? Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Decide where you’d like to be at the end of the year, and describe it in a few descriptive words.
  2. Select one or two of those words that really resonate with you.
  3. Create your own motto, or find a section of a song lyric or quote from someone you admire that reflects that motto to you in a positive manner. Begin with, “Year of…” as in, “Year of Making it Happen.”
  4. Determine how you want to remind yourself of your motto. You can do as I do, or choose to write it down daily, meditate on it, post it on your wall, make it your screensaver – find what works for you.
  5. Double check your goals to make sure they support your motto.

Some people choose a theme song that reflects their motto. Others phrase it as an affirmation. The whole idea is to create a positive mindset to help you grow, improve and achieve your goals. Remember, each person determines what success mean to them so never compare yourself to others. As long as you continue to move forward, you are learning, growing and achieving.

There you have it! Super simple but so helpful.

Do you have a motto or theme for the year? I’d love to hear!

Enjoy!

Cindi

 

Chic from Home: My 2017 Planner Setup Part 5

My 2017 Planner Setup Part 5

In my last three posts, I discussed my main 2017 planner setup in detail. This final post of the group will look at the supporting players. It’s so funny how quickly you can expand your planner system. Just two years ago, I was strictly digital, craving something more visual. Last year I was in one Erin Condren Life Planner (ECLP). This year I have six binders. Yikes! Amazingly, I know of people who are using even more than that, for everything from meal planning to devotionals. Just join a Facebook planning group or two and your eyes will be opened onto a whole beautiful universe!

So, let’s look at the last three binders I’ll be using for the year.

    1. The Punctuate Planner from Barnes and Noble. I originally purchased this because I was certain I wanted to use something smaller than my ECLP and I didn’t want to spend a lot of money to try out my ideas. This little planner is only about $10, less if you can get it during a sale. If you’ve never used a planner or you want to try something new, it is quite a sweet little planner for the price. It has five dividers, WO2P horizontal format for 18 months, a page of stickers, a back pocket, pen loop plus a clear zippered pocket. Even if you only use it as a template for size and style, it’s well worth the investment. The other thing I like about the planner is that it has the year on the spine so if you’re using a personal Filofax or Louis Vuitton MM, you can store the contents of your planners by the year in about the space of a paperback. As I said, all in all, a pretty useful planner for the price.
          However, once I actually had the planner in hand and started working with it, I realized it was just too small for me to use on a daily basis. If I were to have to take my planner with me and I wanted to have something less cumbersome than an A5, it would be fine. It fits comfortably in my hand but I really needed something bigger. So, it’s now my fitness journal and leftover task list.What do I mean by leftover task list? It’s all those items at the end of the month from my main planner that I didn’t accomplish but still need to be done. If they were a priority, they would have been completed. So, they obviously aren’t super important but I don’t want to have to search through the weeks to find items I missed. When I’ve completed all my tasks for the day, I check them off and I put a star by the date. The items remaining will go into this little planner and I’ll get to them as time allows. Eventually, I may move the list to my main planner but I’m still toying with what else to do with this baby. So, it has its assignment for 2017.  We’ll see how it works.
    1. Personal Filofax original purple patent. I bought this preloved on eBay for a very nice price and it’s in great condition. I found it right about the time I bought the Punctuate and thought I had a one-two punch. I’d do my planning in the Filofax then store the year in the Punctuate. We now know that won’t happen. I have my LV MM monogram for notes and ideas, so I decided to use this planner to expand on one or two specific projects at a time. There are projects that require a lot of notes and activities, so this will work fine for the year. However, I think that as time goes on, aside from my notes agenda, I’ll be using an A5 for everything.
  1. Sticker binder. I can’t believe I’m talking about a sticker binder at my age, but I admit it. I have stickers! Now, I certainly don’t have as many as others I’ve seen. I realize how addictive it can become. I can always think of one I need or one I can’t find on Etsy and need to create. My biggest problem was I had no idea what I already had so I could actually use them. And, when I first began ordering, I was looking at what others were doing until I could find my own style (still searching…).I had the ones I used most in the back pockets of my ECLP, but I had to pull them all out to find the one I wanted to use. Inevitably, I’d realize that there were many that would get hidden. It just didn’t work for me. I decided to order a mini binder, dividers and clear sheet protectors/pockets and finally get everything organized. I love it! I separated it into five sections: home and entertainment; functional; business; health and beauty; and fun and fashion. I also added business card pages so I could keep the cards of my favorite sellers handy. Behind that, I had two 10-page bound sheet protectors that I received from a fellow planner in one of my Facebook groups. In those pages, I keep discount codes from the sellers, as well as all those little freebie stickers that come with your order.Now I can see exactly what I have and I know exactly where to find what I need. I definitely found some level of sticker peace; I’m not sure if I’ve discovered planner peace yet!I’ll leave links to everything I purchased for my sticker binder below. My only complaint is that although the dividers and sheet protectors are both made by Avery, the dividers do not extend out past the sheets. I plan to add a Martha Stewart tab to each so I can more easily find each section.

So, there you have it – my complete 2017 planner setup. I’m sure my system will evolve as time goes on, but for now I think this will work for the year.

What does your planner system look like for 2017?

Enjoy!

Cindi

Filofax 2017 Personal Organizer, Leather, Patent Purple, Paper Size 6.75 x 3.75 inches (C022433-17)

Avery Mini Heavyweight Sheet Protectors, 5.5 x 8.5 Inches, Pack of 25 (77004)

Avery Mini Business Card Pages, Clear, 5.5 x 8.5 inches, Pack of 5 (76025)

Avery Mini Plastic Durable Write-On Dividers, 5.5 x 8.5 Inches, 5 Tabs, 1 Set (16180)

Wilson Jones Round Ring View Mini Binder, 1 Inch, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 Inch Sheets, Basic, 362 Series, Customizable, White (W362-10W)

Martha Stewart Home Office with Avery® Tabs, 2-Inch Solid, Assorted Pastel Colors, 10-Tabs/Color, 3 Colors, 30-Tabs/Pack

Please be advised that some links in this post are affiliate links.

Chic from Home: My 2017 Planner Setup Part 4

This is the last of my three main planners I’ll be using for 2017, but I’ll still do one or two more posts on other items that will be part of my system for the year. I’ll touch base mid-year or so to see how all this is going as this is the first year I’m going the binder route. You can read my previous posts to see the setup of my other 2017 planners.

My third planner is my notes binder where I organize all thoughts Cindi. As a writer and entrepreneur, these notes are crucial! I recognized at an early age that when you have an idea, you need to write it down, lest it disappear into the cosmos never to be heard from again. I remember finding thoughts written in orange crayon on blue cardstock as a child, and I’ve kept it up ever since. The writing down part, not the orange crayon.  🙂

Over the years, I’ve used sections of my old Daytimer, legal pads, composition notebooks, notepads and virtually anything I can get my hands on in a hurry, from the back of envelopes to ticket stubs and show programs, to jot things down as they come up. Oftentimes, my brain will just dump idea after idea for several different projects, and they get written down one after the other with no coordinated effort to separate by project. Eventually, I transfer the info to notes files on my computer, but I have to jump from file to file as the notes are all over the place.

Well, hopefully, that has now changed. I decided I wanted to use my LV MM monogram agenda in the special way that it deserves. It will now house my forthcoming ideas, but in a more organized fashion.

I ordered some custom dividers from The Fabulous Planner using images owned by my company. Some are logos, others are designs from that part of my life when I had a bridal gown design business. The designs are mine but I paid someone who is far more skilled than I to make them beautiful. The images were just sitting around and I decided I wanted to be inspired by and enjoy them. So, I incorporated them into the dividers.

Each divider has a specific category of projects, identified both on the divider image and on the tab. I just used a Brother label maker to label the tabs. (Brother P-Touch PT-D210 Label Maker)

I tend to use two and three-letter acronyms a lot when I’m working on projects, so that’s exactly what you see here. Except for Blog. That’s pretty obvious. 🙂

Since I set this up, I’ve been using it daily. I automatically reach for it because I know it’s making my life easier by keeping all my notes organized. I don’t understand why I didn’t think of this before! I’ll still transfer the notes to my computer, but it will take less time because they are already separated by project. This little agenda makes me happy!

I don’t plan to keep anything else in here – no calendars, no clips or dashboards or anything. It will just be for ideas and that’s more than enough.

Enjoy!

Cindi

Please note that some links are affiliate links.

Chic from Home: My 2017 Planner Setup Part 3

Chic from Home: My 2017 Planner Setup Part 3

Once I saw the nude A5 Filofax original patent, I had to have it. I just didn’t know what to do with it. Then I watched an Alexis Giostra (aka Miss Trenchcoat) video on the 43 folder system.

I had no idea what the 43 folder system was until then, but it greatly intrigued me. For many years, I tried different ways of organizing my bills to pay, birthday cards to send, RSVP’s, registrations and so on, yet nothing seemed to work perfectly. Then, once I wrote my book Tame Those Pesky Details: 12 months of business tips and tasks (Aunti Cindi Presents), I added new folders to the system, to address the tasks needed to be done annually, month by month. I was searching for a way to make this all work together. Enter: Alexis.

Now, Alexis didn’t invent the 43 folder system. It’s referenced in a book by David Allen called Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity. However, I liked her approach and the size of the A5 planner seemed to be just as much as I needed.

I found this lovely preloved planner on eBay as the foundation for my system. However, as much as I love the 43 folder system concept, I’m not totally convinced it will work for me, so I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on the setup. It consists of 12 folders (one for each month) and 31 dividers or tabs (one for each day of the month). Many people are crafty and create their own using card stock or file folders. I am not crafty. Crafty and Cindi are never used in the same sentence except to describe me as not being crafty.

So, I made my way to Target Dollar Spot (TSD, Bullseye Playground) and found packs of their mini planner pages. One pack included six dividers while the other had four folder/pockets. Of course I needed multiple packs, but at three dollars, each, it was very reasonable. I had a couple of five dollar gift cards I’d earned from previous purchases, so with my five percent off, the investment was pretty minor.

I did have to repunch the holes as you can see in the photo. Most people use washi to make it look pretty. I have only a few roles of washi (I know!) and I love them so much I didn’t want to use them on this. So, I had some old correction tape in my office goodies box and used that. It’s white and not so attractive, but it did the job perfectly and I’ll live with it for now. If I decide I want to upgrade, I can always do the washi thing.

On Instagram, I’ve posted a photo with the back of the dashboard, which is simply the 2017 year at a glance, and the first file folder/pocket. Alexis adds In and Out file pockets, but I don’t feel I need those now. What I did add was a clear envelope for each month to correlate to the tasks in my book, thus creating a 55 folder system. (Tame Those Pesky Details is currently only offered as an ebook but will soon be available in paperback.) I rarely need more than a place to put a business card, a note or a brochure for those tasks, so this works perfectly.

I turned to Jane’s Agenda on Etsy for the monthly tabs. They are awesome! She coats them so they are sturdier than normal, and so easy to use! I asked for a custom color combination and I think the black on ombre gold is just gorgeous! I had no idea this planner would turn out looking so pretty!

The other item I added in the pocket is the Celebrate Everyday calendar from my old Erin Condren Life Planner (ECLP). That way, I can check it out on a regular basis, buy birthday and anniversary cards as needed, and stay on track.

I plan to put each item in one week before its due date, so with mailing time (or shopping time), things should arrive as scheduled.

In more detail, here is how this planner is setup:

  1. Dashboard 2017 calendar
  2. January folder (because this is January)
  3. January clear pocket
  4. 31 dividers
  5. February – December folders, each followed by a clear pocket relating to the Tame Those Pesky Details task for that month

In a nutshell, the way this works is to rotate the current month to the front, keeping the daily dividers behind it. This system provides a perpetual way to keep on top of all your important dates!

Alexis does an awesome job of explaining the whole system, so I would refer you to her YouTube videos on the subject. In the meantime, I’m putting mine to work and excited to use it this year.

Have you tried a 43 folder system? What other ways do you handle this sort of deadline paperwork? Let me know!

Enjoy!

Cindi

Additional Links:

Filofax The Original Leather Organizer Agenda Calendar with DiLoro Jot Pad Refills (A5, Patent Nude 2017, 022387)

Avery Mini Heavyweight Sheet Protectors, 5.5 x 8.5 Inches, Pack of 25 (77004)

Please be advised that some of the links in this post are affiliate links.

Chic from Home: My 2017 Planner Setup Part 2

In my last post, I gave an overview of my planning strategy for 2017. Now, in these next few posts, I’ll break it down into the individual planners and explain why I’m choosing to go this route for the new year. I’ll also do a quick overview of some inserts I created myself in a separate post.

I’m always working on multiple projects, whether I’m writing books, working on websites, developing products, plus taking care of my Mom, so I really need to have everything well controlled. I went the digital route for a long time, but as I discovered the planner community, I went back to my roots and opted to include paper in the plan. It seems to have taken on a life of its own!

My main workhorse planner is this lovely Filofax Original A5 in deep teal. I hesitated to purchase it – even second hand! – because in many photos on different websites, it looked really green and that’s just not my color. However, I must tell you, this deep teal is GORGEOUS!!! And it complements crystal and gold beautifully.

This particular Filofax will include both business and personal calendars. It’s just too hard to maintain separate calendars, as I’m sure most of you are aware. I maintain the same calendar on my smartphone as well.

Here’s the breakdown of this planner:

  1. “Make it Happen” dashboard. Sounded like a great motto for the year! Looks very pretty when you first open the planner. (See photo on Instagram) Good visual reminder.
  2. A Cindi ownership dashboard.
  3. 2017 year at a glance calendar dashboard.
  4. 2017 goals. When I wrote these I had such a clear vision of where I want my business to grow in 2017 that I began accomplishing items on the list immediately! Some items may seem like to-do’s and others I’ve since determined I’m not so excited about, but the list is handy to reach and review on a daily basis.
  5. A lined sheet of note paper to identify 2018 goals. It will be here before we know it!
  6. A Filofax top load envelope/sheet protector. I put this behind my goals because if I find an article, get a business card or have other items that relate to my 2017 goals, I’ll just slip it in where it’s safe and I can find it when I need it. I had items to place as soon as I put it in my planner.
  7. A size cheat sheet. I can never remember what size things need to be, like Facebook covers or Twitter profile photos. So, I jotted down all the ones I use and printed it for my planner.
  8. My two months on a page yearly blog planner. This will be to identify recurring types of blog posts that I’d like to have every year.
  9. Month on two pages calendar. I’ve purchased mini stickers to help me use this as mostly a visual. One thing I dislike about most planners is the calendar overview is right before the month. Then, if I’m trying to find when was the last time something happened, I have to look through half the planner. Here, the whole year is back-to-back. If it’s July and something happened in May, I only have to flip two pages. I’ll identify things like meetings, doctor appointments,  mani-pedi-hair appointments and so on; not all the details or even the time and location, just that it happened. I’ll put the details on the weekly planner pages. I’m going to try this. We’ll see how it works.
  10. Week on two pages – entire year. These are set up to accommodate the Erin Condren vertical format stickers, so if I choose to use them, I can. I’m not much of a sticker gal, but at least the squares are standard size. I use the top square of the day for my to-do list, usually 3-5 items; the middle square for appointments and the bottom square for holidays, family, notes – that square is still flexible. The months are separated by card-stock calendar pages from Target Dollar Spot (Bullseye Playground) that I punched to fit the planner. I could also have used monthly tabs but this is what I’m doing for now. There is plenty of room. Regarding my task list, as I complete each task, I check it off. When I’ve completed the tasks for the day, I put a star above the date. Then, if I look back to find unfinished tasks, I can skip the days with stars.
  11. Financial section. The first part is a month on two pages, back-to-back, where I’ll simply note when I receive a payment and from what source. I want to track to see if there’s a pattern. As my business grows, this may be eliminated. I considered doing it on a month on one page vertical format, but this will bring me more of a visual.
  12. Income goals. I broke down my annual revenue goal by income category so I can track how well I’m doing compared to plan.
  13. Annual Bill Summary. This is an insert I created to track all those unexpected charges throughout the year, plus regular monthly bills. I plan to do a separate post just on this.
  14. Shopping log. This is an easy place to keep track of online orders. I normally just jot them down on paper, but now it will all be logged in one safe place.
  15. Business Expenses. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to include this or not, but I’ll try it for a year. I created my own rather than purchase because for me they were easy to do and I can print additional ones as required. My business is still small enough that logging these expenses rather than just using an app is easy enough.
  16. Wishlist. Some items may be more necessities, but a girl can wish, can’t she?
  17. A few sheets of blank note paper.

Month on two pages and the week on two pages inserts are from Etsy shop owner SewMuchCrafting. Dashboards and bookmarks are from Etsy shop owner TheFabulousPlanner. Stickers come from several Etsy shops but I have to give a shoutout to PaperLovingMommy. I use a variety of stickers from her but my absolute favorite are her annual holiday stickers. She has the most complete set on Etsy. They really make the holidays stand out on the calendar pages, and she includes things like daylight savings time. Sometimes she sells out so they won’t show up in a search. Just check back periodically and you’ll find them!

I do maintain electronic copies on some of these items, like the annual bill summary and, of course, revenues and expenses. I also track website traffic and social media likes/follows in a spreadsheet that is separate from my planner.

That’s it! As I said, I’ll be describing some of these in more detail in a future post. If there’s something you’d like me to describe in more detail, just let me know!

Enjoy!

Cindi

Chic from Home: My 2017 Planner Setup Part 1

 

My 2017 Planner Overview Part 1

My journey to finding planner peace has been a long and circuitous one. Have I reached planner nirvana? I’m not sure, but I think 2017 should be close. Check back in a few months to see how it’s going.

But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. First, let me give you a brief overview of my 2017 planner setup. I’ll post more detailed blogs on the three (yes, three!) main planners in the next few days. If we’re lucky, at some point soon I may even do a setup video. 🙂

This past year, I’d been using the Erin Condren Life Planner (ECLP) and quite enjoyed it for the most part. However, I really wanted to try a binder system as there were many custom inserts I saw on Etsy, in a planner group or wanted to create myself that would not work in that format. I spent hours outlining what I needed in order to achieve maximum productivity. So, 2017 will be the year of the binder!

I’ll be using three main planners with three (or more) minor ones for now. Each has a distinct purpose and if I utilize them correctly, this setup should keep me happy. I may add, adjust or subtract items as time goes on, but that’s the joy of a binder or disc planner. You can make changes whenever you like.

Here’s a quick overview of my planner setup for 2017:

  1. A5 Original Filofax Deep Teal – This will be the main workhorse for the year, housing calendars by week and by month.
  2. Louis Vuitton Monogram MM Agenda – This sweet baby will keep notes and ideas well organized until I want to use them.
  3. A5 Original Filofax Nude Patent – I’ll be trying my version of the 43 folder GTD system this year. Mine is actually 55, but who’s counting?
  4. Personal Filofax Purple Patent – I’m keeping this handy to use for specific project plans.
  5. Personal Punctuate Planner from Barnes & Noble – This will be a list holder.
  6. Mini Binder – I think I’ve finally found a way to organize my stickers!

As I’d never used a binder system before, the Filofaxes and LV were purchased preloved. They’re all in fantastic condition and I was very grateful to save some money!

I’ll do individual blog posts on the first three, and a combined post for the last three. If I add any more, I’ll let you know!

Thanks for reading and I hope that something I’ve utilized in my planner setup will help you to find planner peace.

Enjoy!

Cindi

Planning – What is your motto for the year?

 

2016Many people this time of year are focused on New Year’s resolutions or setting up a few goals for the coming new year. I’ve been a big goal setter for several years. I like to remind myself what I want to accomplish during these 12 short months as well as celebrate all that I’ve accomplished at the end of the year.

Over time, the way I set goals has evolved and I’m sure it will continue to evolve. I change. The world changes. Technology changes. Many different things influence my methods to achievement.

In my book, Tame Those Pesky Details, I talk a bit about goal setting. However, the past few years I’ve added a twist. Before I begin my planning, I determine where I want to be at the end of the year and summarize in one or two short sentences, mottos or mantras, what is the theme for the year. Everything else falls in line behind that.

It’s often said, if you don’t know where you’re going, all the planning in the world won’t get you there. While setting goals is fantastic, I’ve found it’s become even more meaningful by having a motto or two as an umbrella of sorts to summarize and light my way.

Let me give you some examples. Perhaps, if you’ve been working on a project for a long time, this might be your Year of Manifestation, when you finally reach that major goal. Or, if if you’ve struggled financially but feel you have a gameplan for changing that, your motto might be the Year of Good Income and Good Savings.

Only you can decide what your motto will be. The first year I did this, I only had one motto. Now, I find that I like to have two. Why? I can’t exactly explain. If I had to deduce I’d say one has more of a personal slant and the other relates primarily to my business, but they intertwine. However, if there comes a year when I feel one will sum it up completely for me, I’ll do it.

I like to set up my motto as a daily appointment on my Outlook calendar, so every morning when I turn on my laptop I’m reminded and focused on making my year the best that it can be in the direction of my motto. Doing this definitely inspires me and keeps me on track. I’ve also written it into my planner (more on that later) but you could set it up on your phone or make a pretty screensaver image with it. Whatever works for you!

Most goals tend to be pretty specific, but I feel we need to be open to opportunities that arise that may be better than we ever imagined. Or, that are our dreams come to fruition! Working towards your goals but focusing on the big picture motto creates a perfect storm of positive energy. At the end of every year, I’ve realized my motto has been achieved even though it might not have played entirely with my goals. In a good way.

What are my mottos for 2016? Sorry, I share a lot but for me, that’s something I hold private. If you care to share, I welcome that. More importantly, I encourage you to think in higher-level terms when it comes to your goals and know that you have your destination, you just don’t always have your route!

Best Wishes for a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!

I am,

Your Aunti Cindi

This post contains affiliate links but all opinions are my own.