Creating a Plan for an Amazing Year (and Life)

by on Dec 10 2016

I have an incredibly blessed life… it’s been part luck and a lot of hard work. But there’s more – I’ve also PLANNED this life out step-by-step. Here’s the process I use each year to create an amazing life…

Summary:

It’s super important to have an effective goal-setting process in place. It’s a big part of living a truly amazing life and creating the impact that you want. This isn’t necessarily easy work to do – maybe that’s why most people don’t do it.

Here are some tips and strategies to keep you moving in the right direction:

Don’t underestimate the power of having an effective planning process – one that you come back to on a regular basis and that you continually tweak and improve.

Think deeply about how your personal life and business life work together and enrich each other. There’s a reason they call our kind of work creating a “lifestyle business.”

Always begin your planning process with a positive focus. One great way to do this is by celebrating your wins. This is helpful because you can’t create from a depleted emotional and mental state. (And this goal-setting process IS creative work!)

Start by identifying the “big rocks” — your most important and non-negotiable projects and activities — and putting them in place first. Then you’ll still have plenty of room to fit in smaller goals and activities. (It doesn’t work if you start with the smaller stuff — there won’t be any room left over to deal with the most important items.)

Identify the primary roles in your life, and for each of them create a vision for where you want to be in the coming year. Then use this vision for each role to help formulate actionable goals.

Don’t be too hard on yourself – you probably won’t achieve all of your goals every year. But if you follow this planning process and strive to follow through, then even though you don’t hit all your goals… you WILL create an amazing life.

68 Comments

  • Arlean says:

    Very nice presentation. Many thanks. I liked it.

  • Kathy Schlecht says:

    Thank you for the inspiration!! Bless you and your family!

  • Hello Jeff – thank you for your posts – I’m a Mom, Professional musician, Creator, entrepreneur living in Lyon, and a friend from our Business Club here suggested your videos – I’m Learning from them, thank you –
    Thls latest one about planning hits the spot – I’m always making lists and planning, then obssessing when I can’t accomplish everything in the day or the week – I’ll try to pat myself on the back more often(my son tells me the same thing) and get myself to the next level!

  • Thanks for the talk . It helps to keep the track .

  • Jude says:

    Great teaching. I love it. Be blessed

  • John Ellsworth says:

    Thanks for your great message!

  • Al Davis says:

    Thank you Jeff – terrific video as always. I would love to hear you talk about, in a subsequent video, switching from a negative internal state to a positive one–this is one of my ongoing struggles, and I’m sure I am not alone in this.
    And also would love to hear your thoughts on achievable goals versus shoot for the stars goals that you mentioned in this video.
    Thanks!
    Al

  • Wade says:

    Thank you, Jeff, for this insight. I believe we often focus on what we missed, the failures. I often don’t give myself credit for the goals I reached because I reach them and then move on. By looking at the year and seeing all the goals and actions, I can give myself credit for the ones I hit and then make a plan for the ones that I missed or create new goals that align with what I really want to do or need to do.
    It is easy for us to just move ahead, setting goal after goal, but the year-end reflection helps us align all of our goals, health, wealth, and spiritual, for the year ahead.
    Thank you for all your help!

    • John Gray says:

      I like that statement on the end about health, wealth, and spiritual prosperity. That is what God said in the Bible 3 John 1:2 he whats us to Prosper, and be in Health even as are Soul prospers. Despite all negative people, that didn’t like Joseph’s dreams in the the Bible YOU CAN’T TELL EVERYONE YOUR DREAMS. I just need a little help getting my self going like Jeff said luck ,opportunity or chance to get in that stream of sales or marketing , any comments will help my friend, hope not to void. Thanks Jeff

  • Tareq says:

    Jeff, You are an inspiring leader and a great man. Thank you.

  • Danielle says:

    i had a major breakthru 2016 in terms of health. The migraines I suffered with for YEARS, like HARD core migraines,, (I had dreams I had brain cancer but I cured it naturally) are 90-100% gone. That is huge progress. I also did a random painting a few weeks ago that looks like colorful ROCKS, little rocks, big rocks. Funny, cause you were talking about rocks.! My next goal, permanent pleasure in my NECK and permanent pleasure in my stomach.

    • Tom Spaniel says:

      Danielle

      Both my wife and daughter suffer from migraines. In fact my daughter has missed almost a month of school so far this year due to migraines. What did you do to eliminate them? I know it is individual but we are seeking all ideas at this point. My email is tjspaniel@gmail.com
      Thx Tom

    • Kathy says:

      I also suffer from migraines and, though I’ve reduced them by 50%, I am affected more than I’d like. I’d love to hear what you did to make it better. My email is kathymosebrook@yahoo.com. Thanks in advance!

  • Ilysa says:

    Always appreciate the info you share I have learned so much from you that was game changing to my business. Working on making next year even better than this year. It’s a plan!

  • John Malamas says:

    Very good presentation Jef. I fully agree that planning is not everything but it is something working in the forgrownd and also in the backgrownd towords achieving our planned goals. Thank very much …

  • Karen says:

    Thank you for the motivation!

  • Enjoy your infectious energy You give so much Thank you

  • Yay! Can’t wait to start writing down 2017! Thanks for the inspiration, Jeff! >) xox

  • Paula says:

    Love the idea of looking at roles and working with those in your planning. Brilliant, Jeff.

  • Susan Advocate Steinhardt says:

    I’m on my 2nd video. I like your down to earth presentation. Thanks. You’ve helped me this morning very much to more effectively think about 2017! You give me more hope – for this coming year and setting goals that I will meet!!! Thanks so much, Jeff!

  • Hi Jeff,
    Thank you for this wonderful and inspiring video.
    Goal setting is very important to get success in anything you are doing. Without having a solid goal, we are not going anywhere. And, I believe with goal setting we should create action plan and follow it. I have also set some goals for my business.
    Thank you for sharing this video with us.

  • Liz says:

    Thanks so much. Awesome advice . Clear and on target. Doing it now! Best wishes to you and yours in the new year!

  • Larry Ragan says:

    Thanks Jeff for your insights, as always, incredibly helpful and motivating. I follow Michael as well and love learning from you both! Goals I need to work on would be in the categories of family, work, spirituality and personhood. Let’s see if I can do this!

  • Entheous PI says:

    Hanks Jeff love u buddy. Great quote at the end too. ” plan is uslensss but planning is essential”. Resonates so much

  • Ellecia A. Douglas says:

    Jeff,
    I really appreciate this video. I was looking for a source or an idea to help with my plan for 2017. Your “real fireside chats” are very impactful. Thanks for taking the time to share.

  • Gemma says:

    You are awesome Jeff!! Thank you sooooo mich for all these amazingly helpful videos you share!

  • Teresa says:

    The big rocks illustration is one of my favorites! I use it myself in presentations. Thanks for always being so real. Inspired me that I can do this as who I am and I don’t have to be someone else.

  • Godfrey Pafura says:

    Hi Jeff,
    That is very inspiring.
    Many times i start something and never finish it along the way.
    The problem is because of what you just mentioned, ” PLANNING”.
    Thank You

  • Awesome! I am your new biggest fan!

  • Barry Davis says:

    HI Jeff,
    Thanks for this, I liked the way you said that not all plans will come to fruition, that was a very honest thing to say, and also a good way to admit that you have not always reached all the goals! sometimes we can get distracted in the detail of chasing every event on the calendar rather than the calendar of events.
    I also liked the way you said to go easy on yourself!
    Thanks for those ideas,
    Barry.

  • Oooh! I just watched your winter video out skiing! I’m Canadian, living in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and seeing you ski away at the end makes me incredibly homesick, first time in years! LOL Wow, the snow just looks so amazing. And it’s December now, with record snowfall in Colorado & even in southern countries. Anyway, thanks for your video on goal-setting (& thanks for not calling it ‘goal-setting’). It inspired me to fill out what my big rock projects were in the last 6 years, and the scale of what I’ve achieved is yuge! … especially highlighted with felt pen. And from that I see better what the big projects are I’d like to continue & shift away from … thanks again! Happy skiing!

  • Sheri Berke says:

    Thanks Jeff. There is a strong sense of reassurance in knowing that highly successful people like you create a plan and them work it. I’ve always loved the “big rocks” analogy. I’m inspred to update mine and plan 2017. I thought because I retired I didn’t need to do it any longer. Not true. The content has shifted…but now I’m also building a business, which came out of my plan to keep learning! So on to planning 2017!

  • Renny says:

    I do plan every year and I love it. I actually have 5 year plan for aspects of my life and review every year and adjust the plans… this has kept me on track with my personal life and career

  • C. Viscoff says:

    Hi Jeff.
    I have watched all your videos and have learned much. I appreciate your generosity in sharing.
    However, in spite of being a positive, self-motivated and goal-oriented person, I feel stuck. Oh yes, I have a list of all the things you suggest for a first launch, but no matter when I start, there always seems to be some little thing missing. I am not sure what it is, nor am I certain what question to ask you. It feels rather like a recipe from a friend who leaves out her secret ingredient ( a word, a gleam in the eye, a twist of the wrist? )….so it just never turns out like hers. I know we all have different things to offer, but the process is the same, right?
    I am in awe of your journey; I understand the commitment, the hours and days of trying and failing, the successes and near-successes, but somehow when the rubber meets the road, I am still way back at building a list. I also know the turtle beats the rabbit, but my turtle is still digging up dirt on my way to the starting gate and even though the rabbit is off doing other things, it is still long out of sight- hopefully behind me.
    I, like many others, due to some ill-advised financial choices, am starting from scratch again; it is daunting at the very least. So paying for your courses becomes impossible. Well, not impossible, but the choice to pay bills or pay for a course becomes a no-brainer. Which brings me back to the beginning – once again.
    I understand the launch is the most essential part of this journey. But at the risk of sounding really dumb, personally I would like more detail at the beginning. I know I can handle the millions coming my way 🙂 but right now, a few hundred would be welcome. So I need to find that first step… the one that takes faith when the stairs are not visible. The baby steps. If I don’t understand them, I will never walk, let alone run… so the millions come after the thousands, which come after the hundreds. I want to really be confident of the steps leading to the hundreds because then I will know how to make them bigger.
    Jeff, this is the last page of a book of letters I have written and no matter how many I try to write, they still aren’t clear what I need. I am hoping it makes sense to you; if not you, then who?
    Thanks for listening, I am going back to my notes.
    Cauleen

  • Kelly says:

    Love this– great food for fodder. I’m in plf right now and really appreciating it. I’m a yoga teacher, awareness coach, and marriage family therapist. Loving your humility and your directness and the clarity of the model. Also really relate to you as I am also a long time Whitewater kayaker as I grew up in Colorado. And i play guitar! Would love to hear more about your trip on the grand as I kayaked it a couple times- more than a decade ago… anyway, thanks for all you are doing! It’s giving me a great sense of what’s possible!

  • Ilaria says:

    Thank you for yet another inspiring video, always the right insight at the right time. It is great to give ourselves ‘permission’ to have goals for each role in our life and to remind ourselves that we are ‘whole’ human beings. I would love to hear a video on setting achievable goals versus ‘reach for the stars’ goals – I am setting myself up for an ambitious 2017 (and I am doing the 5-day to my BYE) and it would be wonderful to hear how you navigate that balance. Blessings.

  • Kelly says:

    Very surprised that you don’t mention Stephen Covey or FranklinCovey since it is obvious that their method is the basis of what you have been doing for the last 15 years as evidenced by your mention of Big Rocks and using your Roles.

    • Jeff Walker says:

      @Kelly: Actually, I’ve never studied Stephen Covey or done any Franklin Covey stuff (although my wife loves their planners!).

      The rocks and sand analogy is used by lots and lots of people – I don’t know who originated it, or where I originally heard it.

      With regards to roles – I’ve been using it for at least 15 years, and I’m not sure where I originally heard of (or came up with) that approach.

  • Jason says:

    Thanks Jeff. My goals for 2017 eclipse, by far, anything we’ve done in the past. It’s a little intimidating yet I know we have the products, the tools and the system, so it’s mostly a mindset game and keeping my Big Why in focus. Thanks for the coaching!

  • That’s how I plan my year too!! I’m so pumped for my best year ever in 2017!!

  • Gregory says:

    Thank you for the product mention. How long have you been using ‘Greatest Year Ever ‘?

  • Sylvia Peters says:

    Very timely! I was planning all weekend and you just improved my plan. Thank you!

  • Aria Barbara Ryan says:

    Hi Jeff. I am one of your new PLF owners and watching this makes me reflect on one of the biggest reasons I bought it: You are so down to earth! I watched this after I had already begun working on my goals, and was in progress on writing what I want in a relationship. I want a man like you! Open heart, not overly materialistic, loves nature, comfortable with himself, athletic, successful by standards I share, creative, fun, wants to contribute to the benefit of humanity.. Do you have a clone? 😉 Thanks for all you do. I am really liking PLF. Now back to big rocks….

  • Stacey Halligan McCarthy says:

    Jeff, I love your realistic approach. I always take something away from your videos!! I’m happy to be on your email list.
    Thank you!
    Stacey

  • Thanks Jeff. Loved the gem 💎 analogy about ‘Big rocks, Little rocks and Sand’. Will be very useful for me in planning a rocking 2017!!! Is there anything we can do to support you? Considering you give soooo much out to your community?

  • Monica says:

    Hi Mr Walker. Am I blessed to be here at this point in time listening to your video about strategic planning and the uncomfortable place reaching your goals puts you in? Could be, I am very grateful to all. Thank you for supporting modern education and tomorrow’s world. It is what I want too.

  • Esther in TX says:

    Thank you, Jeff, for ALL of your wonderful videos and messages! What always comes across is
    your GENUINE CARING for entrepreneurs, and people in general! Your excellent pointers for
    Goal Setting are so helpful, & I look forward to implementing them (I agree with first acknowledging what “went right” & our successes). THANK YOU for the reminder to block out time for FUN and the
    things that bring us JOY in Life! We can’t be effective Entrepreneurs/Leaders if we are burned out!
    (Having previously lived in CO, I share your love of many sports, and my Goals also include outdoor sports & activities. It hadn’t occurred to me to block out that time/those dates in advance….WOW!) THANK YOU for also reminding us of the importance of GIVING to others…… this is something that I have incorporated into my Business as well as my Life for decades, and it makes Life so much more meaningful and beautiful…..we are so blessed! So happy to hear your great news about raising the money for the school in Kenya!— For those of us who are “changing directions,” and courageously
    starting a new business (that will require learning from YOU and other Mentors!), the New Year
    holds such glorious promise of making a difference as well as a living! May you, your Team and your Family continue to be successful, blessed, and have a very Merry Christmas!

  • jane e ubell says:

    Inspiring. ready to look back and plan ahead! thank you!

  • Kathy says:

    Thanks very much Jeff. I really appreciate this kind of sharing from you that supplements the nuts and bolts PLF work. It’s the “heart and soul” stuff…the juice that makes everything matter. Thanks again for the “ju-ju”! for starting another week, finishing the year and getting ready to start another year!

  • Thanks Jeff,

    Very timely reminder. In 2005 I discovered a book “Your Best Year Yet” by Jinny Ditzler. It’s a fantastic tool to help review the year past (successes and failures), learn from it, set a mantra for the new year, and then set goals for each of the roles in your life and selecting the top 10 for the whole year, and planning accordingly on a monthly and weekly basis. I usually summarise that on a piece of paper which I stick on my bathroom mirror so I can see my goals multiple times a day.

    The process of planning, and writing the goals, has had an amazing effect on my life. The only year when I didn’t do the BYY, life happened to me and I kind of drifted instead of taking control and steering my life in the direction I’ce chosen for myself.

    This year, I’ve listened to a number of webinars on planning, and I want to add a few more functionalities to my approach :
    * adding 3 to 4 “Why”s to each of my top goals, so that will help me keep on track and be reminded of my motivation for reaching these goals. This tip come from Michael Hyatt whom you mentioned in your video
    * Plan on a quarterly basis with a theme for the quarter, as well as the necessary on-going activities (mostly for my business)
    * My main learning is about focus and work organisation :
    – Organise 2-week sprints
    – Work on only one big thing at a time (say, activities which require 4 or 5 chunks of time be it hours, days or weeks) so that I can finish off something before moving on. The sense of progress, and the financial impact (hopefully), should help sustain work on the next big thing.
    – Block time in my calendar for the big things. I read of someone at Facebook who organises their week with 6 chunks of 3 hours of uninterrupted work per week : one morning or afternoon each day + a full day without meetings

    Here’s to a fantastic 2017 to you and all the members of your tribe !

  • Amanda says:

    Thanks Jeff! It’s not just what you say…. in fact moreso it’s your energy that is so great! Inspiring, calming and invigorating all at the same time.

  • Alister says:

    Jeff, I really appreciated it; your focus is helping me to focus when there’s a lot going on around me (and everyone else too).

    Thanks !

    Alister

  • Marty says:

    Thanks very much Jeff, I’ve just had my best year ever by a factor of 2 here downunder and am doing this ‘next year goals’ process with my wife on Friday night. And I just KNOW I would have focussed solely on NEXT year instead of starting off by acknowledging what an awesome year we’ve had. It’s taken me 5-6 years to move from full time stand up to author/speaker, and this year I really worked my mojo (FINALLY!) so you’re right, I should start from the position of embracing that energy first. Thank you thank you thank you. 😉

  • Hey Jeff!

    Thank you for your generous and authentic sharing! I joined PLF and I am looking forward to living my life by design.

  • John Bergman says:

    Great video Jeff. I do a lot of Strategic Planning for my clients so I fully appreciate the need to plan.

  • Truth Paradise says:

    Thanks Jeff I’ll get on it and plan on what I want

  • Bryan O'Shannassy says:

    Hi Jeff,
    Thanks for a great post. It is always helpful to get another person’s ideas and perspective on planning one’s life and business. All the more so when that person is super successful.

    I congratulate you for raising that $120,000 to build that 8-room school in Kenya. Not only will it benefit the 400 students and their teachers but it will also benefit all those Kenyans who supply goods and services to the school.

    Before you embark on another project like that, have a look at how Rotary can help you with a Rotary Foundation grant. It can create a huge multiplier for your project’s money. This means that you could do the same with with less dollars or create a bigger project that benefits more people for the same $120,000.

    The fact that you undertook this project yourself means that you would make a great Rotarian. If ever you join, please let me know. I would like to keep in touch.

    Best regards,
    Bryan

    • Jeff Walker says:

      @Bryan: hmmm… I’m familiar with our local Rotary, but not so much their foundation grants. We’ve actually now raised over $650,000 in our PLF Community… enough for five schools. We’re raising the funds for World Teacher Aid, which is the one with the people on the ground who are doing the actual construction (and everything else that goes along with it).

  • Aria Zoenr says:

    Cool to hear that you get out to the wilderness. I reach for the stars too.

  • Pet Linhares says:

    Hello Jeff, the year 2017 was very good indeed, we had some problems but we are always evolving and this is the most important.

    Happy 2017! 🙂

  • Lillie says:

    oh, Jeff! I am so inspired by your videos (and by your book). I’m so grateful.

  • Jen Lirio says:

    I really needed to hear this, Jeff. I’ve gotten so caught up in “doing” that I nearly forgot how vital this is. I really like how expansive the planning process is… how the Vision encompasses all key areas in life. And when the personal and professional roles are aligned and reinforce each other, that’s a truly integrated life. Thank you for sharing this powerful reminder on the #PowerOfPlanning!

  • Linda Gullo says:

    This was a great Pep talk. THANK YOU. Yes used Michael Hyattt’s program and it helps. Need to learn your funnel steps and grow my list. Want to get into a Mastermind Group this year. This past year I started Podcasting and now want to launch my Coaching practice starting in January. After 19 years of Mental Health Counseling I have top fulfill this mission to help more people. There is so much to learn from you and the thought leaders.

  • Cedric says:

    Hi Jeff,

    Your metaphor with the big rocks explain everything.

    All the best for you in 2017 😉

  • Paul Easton says:

    HI – A great video with some good points. I am planning 2017 to be my most productive year and one where I must understand that self employment means I am a jack of all trades and sometimes master of none so I have to accept that to grow the business I have to bring the expertise I don’t have into the business. Use my failures as a stepping stone. Thanks again Paul

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