Your First 100 Days: The year ahead.

Today’s post has a weekend full of work, if you’re up for that, so I’m putting all of it in one place instead of dripping is out.

I offer today’s work in the spirit of staying present, connected, and motivated by the desire to grow and change, to use our unique gifts, talents, and strengths to mend the broken world. May it be so.

Growth and progress are grounded in intention and belief. Identifying wants, clarifying intention, and creating an action-focused plan that is grounded in values, vision and personal beliefs, provides a framework for consistent work and stability. The plan is something you can come back to, when life turns off course, or when you decide to give yourself rest (which is part of the work).

Another benefit of having a plan — your own plan, for accomplishing what’s important to you — is that it can clarify things for the people around you, too. When you’re clear about what you want, you can express that more clearly when you accept or decline an invitation or opportunity.

A plan is a tool for recentering yourself, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. It works, I promise. Especially when the world around you turns upside down.

(Just tuning in to this series? Welcome! Here’s the scoop: I’m giving followers here a free walk-through of a course called “Your First 100 Days,” a structured approach to help turn ideas into action. The first post in this series is here.)

The last two exercises were focused on your future self, gazing down the road to five years from today (January 2028) and writing down, in priority order, a list of goals that you want that future you to have met.

Now we’ll take all of the work to date – the Year in Review, 100 Wants, Vision board, and 5-year goals – and start on the near-term, 12-month plan.

Note: If you’re doing this work in May and wonder if you need to wait until the following January to begin, please let that go. Start when you start. Or as my sister’s favorite yoga teacher used to say, “Be where you’re at, ’cause you’re already there.”

The five sheets in the workbook look like these, below:

The only big difference between the 5-year series of worksheets and these is that the 12-month work begins with a calendar (and again, you can start that calendar in any month). The purpose of that calendar exercise is to keep you grounded in reality. If you’ve got events ahead that are already known (a graduation, a trip, a milestone birthday, a surgery, a concert – whatever), then put them on the calendar. If there are clear and specific target dates for work you’re doing, then you can put those on the calendar, too. But the calendar isn’t the plan; it’s a reference sheet.

After completing your calendar notes, you’ll repeat the 5-year view exercises (goals, top 5 goals, forced prioritization, ranked list of goals).

Different from 5-year goals, 12-months goals might also sound like:

One year from now I want to …

… have grown and harvested my first crop of carrots and started an asparagus bed

… be four courses closer to completing my degree

… have saved $X toward (longer goal)

Yours might sound different from those examples, but what they should have in common is a similar timeframe. They should be things that can reasonably be accomplished in the next 12 months, and they should connect, in some way, to the 5-year view.

To recap, the basic steps for this work are:

  • Review (but don’t dwell on) all the work completed to date – year in review, gratitude, wants, vision, and 5-year goals
  • Use the “Year Ahead” sheet to note events, commitments, or milestones you anticipate in the coming 12 months
  • Write your goals for the year ahead, taking a brain dump approach and noting everything that’s on your mind, no filter or judgment
  • Select the 5 most important goals from that longer list
  • Use the Goal Prioritization exercise/sheet to put your 5 goals in priority order
  • Write a brief statement or phrase that will guide your vision for the year ahead, as you pursue your goals
  • Note the people who will be there to support you when you need them

Next week we’ll look at how to put these goals in motion that you can sustain. There will be three different worksheets, each with a different take on turning ideas into action.

See you then.

For all in Memphis, or all watching Memphis, or all who are human, a suggestion to treat kindly all who suffer, who fear, and who grieve, including ourselves. As we grieve for Tyre Nichols, father, photographer, skateboarder, and human, may we all remember that children are watching. Healing the broken world requires nurturing loving-kindness, especially in children. Children absorb information from the world around them long before they have the skills to express what they are seeing and feeling. We are all, in some ways, still children, absorbing information we cannot process fully or quickly. In being kind to others, may we be the same for ourselves.


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