Zach and I spent the first week of 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee really talking, reconnecting, and focusing on what we wanted for this year. We also were learning a ton attending the 5 Days to Your Best Year Ever Live Conference. I am so grateful that both of us were able to attend the conference together (aka quality time without the kids). It’s a live conference for the online program 5 Days to Your Best Year Ever by Michael Hyatt, which also follows along with his new book of the same title released this month.
Throughout the conference, Michael asked people to come up to the microphones and share their “ah-hahs.” I thought that I would share my takeaways from the conference here.
You can do anything, but not everything.
You can do anything, but not everything
My biggest takeaway is the quote above: “You can do anything, but not everything” by David Allen. Michael Hyatt mentioned this quote while talking about setting goals, and it hit me like a ton of bricks. This is exactly where I have failed in the past. I like to have a lot of goals that I’m working towards, and I want to do them all NOW. I also want them all to be accomplished right now. Clearly, I am an impatient person. So, like many of you I am sure, I set a ton of goals across all areas of my life at the beginning of the year, and I start to work on them the first few weeks. And that’s great — I think it’s wonderful to set and have many goals in life. But in reality, it only goes well for a bit until the wheels start to fall off. I never really understood why; and I would chalk it up to low willpower, mental weakness, or lack of follow-through. But what Michael pointed out is that I am just trying to do too much all at once. When you do that, what you’ll start to do is get discouraged that there is so much to do and change all at once. Because of this, I start to stop one thing one week, then a few things the next week, and then before I know it, I’m 6 months into the year and not any farther on my goals then I was in January. Then, I’ll start the whole process over again on the second New Year: September. And yeah, I’ll admit, some goals and habits that I’ve set up for myself have stuck, but for the most part, the majority have not. So what to do?
Michael Hyatt suggests that you have 7–10 goals for the year and no more than 2–3 per quarter. Zach and I struggled with this a lot during the conference. We each had our goals we knew we wanted to accomplish in 2018, but what to start on first? What about ones you want to reach by the end of the year, but should probably start on now? How do you figure out how to schedule them into your year? This is how you fall into the trap of doing too much at once. You get all excited about the possibilities and try to do it all at once. Time to slow down.
Coaches were on call to help answer questions during the conference. When we asked a coach about our dilemma, she said we really needed to simplify and prioritize things, slow down, and rank our goals.
Think backward to move forward
We spent two days digging into where we were in life (such as completing the LifeScore Assessment), looking back on the past year, and acknowledging regrets; then looking forward at where we want to go, and what is needed to do to get there. He calls this an After Action Review. What did I want to happen in 2017? What were my wins? What didn’t get accomplished? What were my biggest regrets?
This was new for me: to really be humble and admit to myself that I am not happy with some aspects of 2017. In the past, I may have thought, “oh, I didn’t do that thing I planned to do,” but it wasn’t something I actively analyzed. I had never had my goals concretely staring in my face saying, “Hey! You forgot about me!”. Because Zach and I had done our life plan using Michael Hyatt’s book Living Forward, I actually had goals in 2017 that I could look back on and see if I accomplished them.
I noticed that my biggest regrets were also the areas that were the lowest in my LifeScore Assessment. I am not sure if it went that way for everyone, but when I looked at both of those items together, it became really clear to me what I had to focus on first. My biggest regrets of 2017 were not going to be my biggest regrets of 2018.
Ripple effect goals
At the end of the first day of the conference, Michael had a panel of attendees from BYE 2017 up on stage to talk about their past year. Two of them mentioned something that really stuck with me — this concept of Ripple Effect Goals. These are goals, that once you start to achieve them, they ripple out and affect all other areas of your life in a positive way. Both talked about how getting into the best shape of their life was that ripple effect goal. They noticed that as they improved their health, just about every other area of their life started to improve as well. Zach and I talk about this a lot, and it is one of the tenets of his coaching: You have to be in charge of yourself and your body before you can tackle and be in charge of anything else. We are going to take a deep dive into this in an upcoming podcast because we feel it is that important.
While I didn’t reach all of my health goals in 2017, I can attest to the fact that as I significantly improved my health this past year, a lot of positive change started to show up in other areas of my life. I felt productive this past year for the first time in a very long time. Given the massive gains I saw with health in 2017, one of my primary goals for Q1 2018 is to continue on that path and reach the goals I originally set for myself in 2017.
Ripple goals don’t have to just be physical goals. They can be any type of goal, such as spending quality time with your partner, your children, cutting down on the amount of TV you watch, meditating, starting a budget, or even sticking to your budget!
How do you figure out that Ripple Effect Goal? Here’s a trick: Look at the goals that you have put down for yourself for 2018. Which single one — if you achieved it completely and fully — would have the 100% biggest impact on your life and future? Whatever that goal is, that is your number one priority. Is it paying off debt? Taking charge of your health? Focusing on a relationship? Whatever it is, do it first and do something every day to bring you towards achieving that goal.
Connect with your WHY?
We spent a lot of time determining our WHY. Ask yourself, why is the goal you set so important to you? This is often the missing step in goal planning, because if your why isn’t strong enough, then it will not keep you focused and motivated when the going gets tough. If your why isn’t strong enough, then you’ll say that any hardship or struggle you face “is not worth it.” Here’s the thing: someone else can’t tell you your why. Your why is YOUR WHY. So for example, Zach and I have a few goals that are the same, but our why’s are not. What motivates Zach to push himself towards the finish line is not the same that motivates me. Find your why and you’ll find your fuel for change.
Not all projects are goals — they can just be projects.
My final takeaway was an interesting one for me. For those of you that have been following along with our podcast, you’ll know that I was working on my side hustle Paleo Kids Kitchen for a good chunk of last year. Zach and I were driving home from the conference when I turned to him and said, “You know what? I don’t have a single goal on here related to Paleo Kids Kitchen?!” I was shocked because that idea had taken up so much mental space and time last year for me. Last year, it was a goal for me to get a website up and running, to blog consistently, and to release videos consistently. Like I mentioned above, I made some gains early in 2017, released videos and set up a website, and then it stalled out for practically the entire summer until September hit. At that time, we both started using the Full Focus planner (amazing. . . and save 15% ordering one here), and that helped me to move my project along. I blogged and released videos consistently and started to see some traction in followers and subscribers. Come Thanksgiving though, I was already starting to question the focus of Paleo Kids Kitchen — it was getting away from my original intention and passion. I really just like creating videos with my daughter for kids who eat Paleo and don’t have other cooking videos to watch. At the conference, I realized this is really just a project that I enjoy doing with her — it’s not a personal goal for me right now. And that’s okay. Realizing that I needed to revise or delete what I thought was a goal felt good. When I listed my regrets of 2017, Paleo Kids Kitchen wasn’t on there. So it’s not something I have to beat myself up about — I just realized there are other things in 2018 more important to me to focus on, and prioritizing those will set me up for having a best year ever.
Really, I could go on and on. There were SO many wins and takeaways from the conference I could list here, but I hope this gets you thinking about what goals you’ve set for yourself in 2018 and what you’d like to achieve by December 31st. While you can’t sign up for the 2019 conference yet, you can get Michaels Hyatt’s book, Your Best Year Ever and follow the 5-Step plan yourself. I love the simplicity of the 5-Step plan, and if you’d like to have a year where you actually get things done, where you look back and don’t have any regrets, then I highly recommend picking up a copy and getting started.