Start over every monday instead
I don’t get too worked up over the new year. It’s cool, I mean, as a passage of time and as a collective celebration and everything, but “New Years” doesn’t really excite me like a new beginning.
That would be Monday's for me, so I can celebrate the small things.
January first doesn't make me want to declare high resolutions or start changing my lifestyle. Instead, I re-align with all the things I've been working toward for years.
Also, I believe that we should always be learning, growing, and improving ourselves. All 👏🏼 the 👏🏼 time 👏🏼. Not just at the beginning of the year or on birthdays.
Realignment > resolutions
What I tend to focus on at the beginning of the year is my yearly business plan.
I do a simple SWOT analysis, and I go deep into my numbers. (Or at least as deep as my creative brain will let me, for the rest I outsource.) And I use this time to try to see how the decisions I made last year affected my overall business health and whether or not they got me closer to my goals or not. Sometimes it can seem as though we are very far off from what we want to accomplish when, in reality, we are closer than we think. This time of year is a good time to measure that truly.
Three main things I do at during this time of year to realign myself and refocus my energy...
1. A SWOT Analysis
SWOT stand for strengths weaknesses, treats, and opportunities. I ask myself, "What did I improve? Where am I still lacking? Where are the gaps? And what can I capitalize on?"
I don't tend to focus on my weaknesses or threats too much. These are often things that I am already aware of and struggle against daily. But it's essential to take stock anyway.
What I do is double down on my strengths and opportunities. If I only have so much time in the day, I want to focus on what I'm good at.
2. I ask What part of my business made the most significant impact?
I try to look at this question a few different ways, from emotional to physical, but for this exercise, let’s keep it practical.
Revenue wise, I ask what portion of my business brought in the most significant profit? Also, what was my biggest expense, and how can I refocus my energy to nurture my best income generators (products, services, industries, etc...) and cut my losses?
I'm not super numbery, so I can only take this exercise so far before I need help doing the math, but what I can do creatively inside my business with that information is what's most valuable.
3. I revisit my 1st quarter goals from the past few years.
I keep a notebook for every year, and keeping copious notes throughout the year has its benefits. So when writing my yearly business plan, I go back to the beginning of last year and roll over anything that's still there. It's both encouraging and annoying.
Blogging is always on that list.
Still, it's good to see that there are things that you are still working on at a yearly level because you can recognize that they are essential, and it takes time to really make them part of your routine.
The 80/20 Principle
In the end, what I find really important about the new year is not to make some BS resolution that will get lost in the first few weeks of January. Instead, we can use this time to take a critical look into our businesses and realign with our long-term goals. Like most things, you may lose sight of them as life starts to get in the way and other opportunities pop up to distract you, but I would argue that the very intentional work you do in the first quarter of the year is what will create the success of your business for the other 80%.
Also, I’m reading 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch, so I’m pretty positive this bears out.
If you're interested, I made a quickly downloadable SWOT worksheet and added space for you to fill out these questions for yourself.