Best Year

Recently, I started listening to Hal Elrod’s Achieve Your Goals podcast and Hal was doing a 4-part series in December on how to make 2022 your best year ever (episodes 407, 408, 409, and 410). Thanks to the way Hal explained this, I found myself actually sitting up and taking notes. Literally taking notes. And then looking through the transcripts taking more notes. And then mind-mapping my notes.

I rarely take notes from a podcast and this series is a rare exception because the information was so fresh to me and provided such an interesting take on the age-old idea of new year’s goalsetting or resolutions or whatever you call it. Hal says that he is not presenting anything truly revolutionary, but I’m going to say that “revolutionary” is in the eye of the beholder. For me, some of these ideas are, in a word, revolutionary.

So, what I will do here is try to distill the information into a simple framework for making 2022 my best year ever. With the many life and lifestyle changes I had in 2021, I am ready to launch into the upcoming year with a fresh mind and a fresh approach.

Hal suggests that this entire framework (my name for this approach) is not actually about achieving goals. Instead, it is REALLY about becoming the kind of person that achieves those goals. This is critical because “who you become determines what you’re capable of generating, creating, attaining, experiencing for the rest of your life…” (Added bonus, you can use this same framework in later years to continually reach new levels of awareness and ability.)

Hal says that making 2022 your best year ever is about two key ideas:

1) how you show up EVERY day
2) how you perceive your year

If you choose not to show up every day, or choose not to give it your best effort, you won’t make it your best year. Or, if you do show up every day and give every task your absolute best effort, but you look back at the end of the year and don’t see how far you have already come, you won’t feel like it’s your best year ever. So, it will take a combination of daily, focused effort, and accurate assessment of your results.

This framework that Hal lays out includes two major components: mindset and behaviors.

MINDSET

This is about the “internal work we need to do.” This component includes the following:

Clarity – We must get absolutely crystal clear on what results (i.e., goals) we want at the end of the year. And we must get absolutely crystal clear on WHY. The more clarity we have, the more power we will have to go through the entire journey on the way to the destination. Rather than talking about achieving or accomplishing, I will be talking in terms of creating…”What results do I want to create in the area of ______?” I have noticed that I feel more powerful and more capable when I think about creating instead of accomplishing. “Creating” allows me to feel like I am in complete control and it allows me to perceive how far I have come in my journey. For me, this adds power to continue moving forward.

Purpose – We should invest as much time as we need to determine our WHY. Why do we want to create these specific results in those life areas? Why are these specific results important? Why are these results so important that we will invest energy and time and attention to them every day throughout the year? What immediate benefits do we gain by creating these results? What long-term benefits do we gain by creating these results? Find as many reasons as you can for each result you want to create…the more reasons you can find for why you want to create those results, the more powerfully those results will energize you to move forward every day.

Unwavering Faith – You have to maintain unwavering faith that you can create the results you want, in order to get yourself to show up and take action when you don’t feel like it. Or when it seems to be taking much longer than you think it should. Or when you encounter the inevitable obstacle or challenge along the way. As long as you can maintain unwavering faith in yourself, your success moves “from possible, to probable, to inevitable” as Hal says.

Resilience – When I think of “resilience” I think of the old proverb “fall down 7 times, get up 8.” Challenges and adversities along the way are inevitable. There is simply no way that we can predict every obstacle we will meet during the year. But we can choose to be resilient – we can proactively respond to the adversity instead of reacting to it. The difference is critical in maintaining our power to continue creating the results we want. To proactively respond, we must choose to face the adversity honestly, determine possible solutions, and then choose one and move forward. And then lather, rinse, repeat as often as needed to move forward.

BEHAVIORS

This is about the preselected “actions, habits, rituals, and routines” we need to put into place and then maintain throughout the year. This component includes the following:

Determine the Results You Want to Create – Hal sets out 8 major life areas. You can have fewer than 8 or more than 8, depending on how you see your life. The important thing is not how many there are, but the results you want to create. With some slight interpretation on my part, these are the life areas Hal suggests:

  • Health – your health or fitness or wellness, however you prefer to characterize it
  • Finances – your income, savings, and investment results for a well-rounded approach
  • Career – your profession or business or both, depending on your desires
  • Relationships – your family, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, and so forth
  • Contribution – your contribution back to the world or your giving to charity
  • Personal Growth – you might also call this personal development
  • Relaxation – Stephen Covey called this “sharpening the saw” – fun is important!
  • Spirituality – your spirituality or religion, however you prefer to characterize it

Establish a Mission for the Year – After you know the results you want in all the life areas, get very, very clear on the answer to this question: “What is the single most important goal that you’re going to prioritize above all the rest?” This is important because creating this result will usually help you develop the mindset, habits, strengths, confidence, and clarity that will be needed to create the other results.

Have a Morning Ritual – Hal wrote a book called the Miracle Morning, in which he describes a morning ritual that sets the day up for success by putting your highest priorities first and setting aside focused, quality time to create daily results in those areas of your life. I have finally bought the book and will be putting it into practice as part of making 2022 my best year ever.

Choose Predetermined Processes – As Hal said, every result you want can be achieved by a repeatable process. The point here is to break your desired results down into smaller and smaller components until you arrive at daily actions that will lead to the results you want. Over time, these actions become rituals (another name for habits). By creating a process – in advance – that will lead to the result you want and then committing to that process, Hal says you can move your goals from possible, to probable, to inevitable.

Once you have chosen your predetermined process, all you have to do is to take the specific actions until you cross the finish line. This focus on process is critical because outcomes are often out of our control but process is almost completely in our control. And when we focus on what we CAN control, we are more likely to create the result we want. When we take the emotions away from results and attach them to process, we also increase our power and paradoxically increase our odds of creating the results we want.

Create a Foundational Schedule – Once you have chosen your predetermined processes, create a foundational schedule that puts the processed into your calendar. If you treat these like daily appointments with yourself, you will give them the attention and energy they – and you! – deserve. Make sure the schedule is flexible enough to allow for the unforeseen challenges that will almost certainly come your way. And be sure to take the rest of your life into account so that your expectations are realistic. But once you have your foundational schedule put together, keep it in a system that makes it very simple for you to follow and implement. It must be easy to implement or it becomes just another obstacle.

Initiate a Support System – This could be an accountability partner or a mastermind group or a friend or family member. The only real requirement is that whoever is part of your support system must be willing to offer you honest feedback and honest encouragement. Hal suggests creating a new private Facebook group for your best year mastermind. Whatever approach you choose, the important thing is to engage regularly (such as weekly) so you can review your actions and determine if you need to make any course corrections to your predetermined processes.

Show Up Every Day in Peace and Love – If you have gotten clarity on the results you want, and then chosen your predetermined processes, and then committed to daily action on the processes, the next way to increase your internal power is to choose love and joy. This is based on the idea that the only moment we have is “NOW” and the best mindset we can choose is to be at peace with anything we cannot change. This does not mean you have to love whatever is happening, but since you get to choose your response to it, one powerful response is to choose to be at peace with it. For example, if you are sick, you don’t have to love being sick, but you can choose to still smile anyway. Or you can choose to watch a comedy show and laugh at something funny – and in that laughter, be at peace with being sick.

Also, in the inevitable moments when your daily activities put you in touch with other people, choose to love them. This will be difficult sometimes, but choose to love them. They are dealing with things you don’t know about, having challenges of their own, and might not have the same awareness and strength that you do. So, love them. You don’t have to tell them that you love them, but choose to love them. This will help you be at peace with a situation you probably can’t control.