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7 Steps To Your Best Year Yet

1. Be Kind

I could just end it there and say be kind and the world would be a better place and indeed it would.

But what I really mean is be kind to yourself, always.

It’s one of the few things that I’ll not negotiate with clients over.

If they’re not prepared to at least try and be kind to themselves, then I’m not prepared to be their Life Coach and that’s the end of it.

People sometimes get concerned because they think that being kind to themselves may lead to them taking their foot of the gas and getting lazy and/or irresponsible.

It doesn’t work like that at all.

I have worked with lots of people that were outwardly successful, but not particularly happy and that’s something we all want.

Quite honestly it’s really difficult being happy when you have a voice inside your head telling yourself what a jerk or loser you are and that nothing’s ever good enough.

It’s your head so change the voice to being a supportive one and even if you don’t achieve everything you set out to achieve, at least you can have fun during the process.

2. Know Your Core Values

I’m not sure if I’ve ever mentioned values on this blog before, so now is a good time to start (and yes before anybody leaves me a comment, I’m being sarcastic and fully aware I have dragged the dead Dobbin out for another flogging).

In 7 years of Life Coaching, I have had less than 5 people that fully understood their own core values.

In my opinion knowing your values immediately puts you in the top 1% of people when it comes to self development, if that is you….

3. Align With Your Core Values

Knowing your values is great. However, knowing your values and doing nothing with them is a bit like knowing your arse is on fire but not wanting to sit in the bucket of water for fear of getting wet.

There’s a reason why the value process frequently blows clients away and can sometimes melt away years of stuckness and that’s because it’s awesomely powerful.

As I say on the Aligning With Your Core Values page, forget about time-management, forget about goal setting, forget about NLP, forget about productivity and forget about life hacks.

Values are where self development is really at.

4. Don’t Set New Years Resolutions

The failure rate for New years Resolutions is truly astounding with well in excess of 90% being broken before we’ve even waved goodbye to January.

Being a St Louis Rams fan I know a bit about failure, but even the hapless Rams have a higher winning percentage than New Years resolutions.

If you want to make great plans for 2012 that’s all well and good, but set them up as goals and run them through a proper goal procedure like SMARTER goals.

Don’t set up lame resolutions on New Years Eve after your 3rd glass of cheap champagne like “I’d like to quit smoking” or “I’m going to eat more healthily in 2012” because they will have all the sticking power of a Kim Kardashian marriage.

By the way, the second bonus goody for people that sign up for my newsletter is a comprehensive ebook on setting goals. So if you have any doubts about how to set your own goals, get signed up!

5. Know Every Day Is A Good Day

There are 366 days in 2012 and a finite amount will suck, a finite kick ass and a finite be sat somewhere in the middle.

Therefore, every time you have a great day, you can really enjoy it and make the most of it.

Similarly, every time you have a bad day you can celebrate the fact that’s one less you have to endure in the year and the odds are that tomorrow will be better. Yes, that is called a reframe.

6. Get Back On The Wagon

Let’s suppose you want to get fit this year and commit to going to the gym or working out 4 times a week. Then in February just as you are getting into the flow, things go tits up.

First you get a cold that lays you low. Then you spend a week trying to catch up with work and don’t have time for the gym and then mad Aunt Enid shows up out of the blue to stay for a week and brings all her cats.

What do you do?

I’ll tell you what most people do, they presume they were never meant to get fit and they see their circumstances as a reason to quit because it’s quite obvious the Universe is conspiring against them again, the bastard!

Not you though, because you know commitment and health are important values to you and you intend to stay aligned with them.

You also understand this is just life throwing a cow pat in your general direction to see how you respond and you’re going to bounce back in style, unlike the cow pat.

The most successful people don’t not fall off the wagon, they just get back on one more time than they fall off and treat momentary failures as valuable learning experiences.

7. Theme Your Year

This is something that has becomes fairly popular in recent years with self development bloggers and I have to say, I like it.

It requires setting a theme for the forthcoming year (usual just one word) and then keeping your focus on that.

For me it will be health, because 2011 sucked largely on the health front.

I also know that health is an important value of mine so when I’m deciding whether to have that second beer I can just say the word ‘health’ to myself and see what response I get.

Cunningly simple unless you get so hammered your forget what your word is.

I’m going to leave it at that. Of course I could have added be more grateful, give back whenever possible, smile more etc, but they’re more general happiness things and anyway, I’d rather get your take.

If you could add just ONE thing to the list to improve anybody’s chances of having a great year, what would it be?

55 comments to 7 Steps To Your Best Year Yet

  • Wish you the best of health in the New Year mate.

    I would add be grateful for what you have although it’s on the same level as your #5.

    To a very healthy 2012 for you and your wife Tim.

  • Tim, every day is indeed a good day!!

    For me, 2012 is the year of the six-pack and no, it’s not a reference to beer!

    Wishing you well in all you do,

  • Haha, “sticking power of a Kim Kardashian marriage”- loved that Tim!

    It’s true 90% of the time New Year’s Resolutions suck.

    Good luck with your health theme in 2012! I think mine will be “Grow” ;)

  • Kelly

    Great list. I really need to work on #1, am working on #2 and #3 now, getting back to reading and doing the exercises in HTBR&H after setting it aside for a couple of months.

    Without intending to, I decided my theme for the year about a month or so ago. I’m making some changes and decided that my mantra needed to be “Be Brave” so I’m making that my theme. I honestly think following the other steps will help with that as well.

    All the best in 2012, Tim. Here’s to your health!

  • I love this list, good work!

    “…knowing your values and doing nothing with them is a bit like knowing your arse is on fire but not wanting to sit in the bucket of water for fear of getting wet.” – LOL and so true!

    “Cunningly simple unless you get so hammered your forget what your word is” – LOL x2

    “Similarly, every time you have a bad day you can celebrate the fact that’s one less you have to endure in the year and the odds are that tomorrow will be better. Yes, that is called a reframe” – No, no, no! (I bet you knew that this one would rankle a few science/maths geeks such as myself!).

    The outcome of this type of event (having a bad day) has absolutely no bearing on the probability of future events. It’s similar to believing that your lucky hasn’t come up in the lottery for a few weeks, therefore it is “due” to come up. Reality/probability/logic just doesn’t work like that, no matter how much we wish that it did.

    I think you’ve said somewhere before that you don’t care about logic/reality, you can choose to think however you like. Fair enough, but personally I find it helpful to root out beliefs that are I know are illogical and/or unscientific.

    If you encourage people to believe in things that are provable as false (with a bit of effort), you may as well encourage people to believe in other illogical stuff with no evidence, such as fairies, the existence of a flying teapot orbiting the Earth, and, um, God. *Cough*. Did I mention before that I’m an atheist?

    If we can just pick and choose to believe any old nonsense that pops into our heads, we may as well stop bothering to investigate what’s actually true in this world. Let’s forget troublesome concepts such as ‘evidence’ and ‘logic’. Lets revert back to the stone age, living in caves, worshipping funny shaped rocks, with no modern medicine, electricity or central heating.

    Anyway, my theme of the year is just to make decisions that’ll help me to feel proud of myself.

    Ironically, I’ve been considering a NY Resolution for 2012 to send ranty emails/blog comments only to myself and sit on them for a few days so I can calm down and take a step back and see the bigger picture. Have I broken a NYR before I’ve even made it?!

    As always, loving your work!

    • I missed out the word “number” above. The sentence should have read:
      “It’s similar to believing that your lucky *number* hasn’t come up in the lottery for a few weeks, therefore it is “due” to come up”

    • I suppose I ought to be a bit constructive here and suggest an alternative phrase. Here goes:

      “Similarly, every time you have a bad day you can choose to remember that you’re only human. Treat it as a valuable learning experience and move on”

    • I understand probability Rob, well certainly at such a basic level as this!

      I know that having a bad day today doesn’t mean you won’t have one tomorrow and maybe for a pedant like you I should have chosen more wisely ;-)

      But the fact remains we will all have a finite amount of good and bad days in every year. We don’t know what that number will be, but we do know that every bad day over takes one off the total and thus increases the odds that the following day will be better. Of course if you have 360 crap days in store it doesn’t increase the odds that much, but it does increase them.

      But in any case, this is a choice of outlook and nothing to do with real probability. You can choose to think “I’ve had a bad day and therefore tomorrow will suck” Or you can think “I had a bad day so tomorrow will be brilliant!”

      The former increases that the day will suck because of your mood and of course vice versa.

      BTW, did I say I don’t care for logic? I don’t remember saying that. I have said plenty of times I don’t care for reality because most of the time it’s subjective and peoples perception of reality is frequently proved to be wrong.

      • From another geeky perspective, I have to point out that there are other factors besides probability in the finite shit days theory – here’s hoping that (a) we learn from our shit days, thus reducing the likelihood that that specific type of shit day (and possibly similar shit days) will recur; (and, the better our attitude, the fewer types of situations will be labelled as bad, which does actually reduce the possibility of having a bad day in the near future)(b) having the attitude that there are a finite number of bad days can lead us to the learning that we have some sort of control in how we view things, and that would help us to possibly re-label what we’re going through as not quite so shit as we thought. I’m not sure if I’m expressing myself properly, as I’m dog tired right now :)

  • Tim,
    I like the way you put so much lightheartedness into the topic of self-development. #1 is my favourite on this list.

    I have 2 things I want to contribute in hopes to make 2012 a better year for every one.

    1. Create.
    Put it simply, it means don’t just talk, make it happen!
    If you want to have a stress-free life, begin adjusting your priorities. If you have always wanted to be a business owner, go on, start something. If you want to have better relationship with your family, start listening, and make time to be present.
    Create is all about being proactive, being the driver in our lives.
    We might not always be in control of the balls life will throw at us, but standing in the now, we Create the subsequent result from the way we choose to hit these balls.

    2. Acceptance.
    Accept where you are at, and where other people are at. Accept that all of us have our strengths, flaws, soft and hard faces. There are times we cry, we laugh and we love.
    If someone crosses our path, it is often not personal. He might have just lost himself, and he probably hadn’t met the right guidance to walk out of it.
    Embrace our differences, and more importantly, embrace our similarities.
    Each and every one of us are part of this world, holding a different Role.

    That said, my theme in 2012 will be about Creating and Accepting.

    Wishing Tim and everyone a healthier and better 2012!

  • Mary Ellen

    Great food for thought here. I so totally agree. And the idea to THEME your year is something I’ve done personally – and it so totally works. Last year was PATIENCE, this year 2012 is PERSISTENCE. I define it in 2-3 sentence that mean something to me and I post it everywhere as a simple reminder. Powerful stuff.

    Happy New Year!

  • One thing I’m definitely going to do is to network with like minded people more in 2012 and I mean in person. Online networking is great but I do miss that face to face social interaction after going crazy with online activities this past year. I’m especially going to network with like minded people in areas that are new to me but I have a huge interest in.

    One of these include real estate investing which is new for me but I do want to get involved in to secure my own financial future. I believe that I will learn more, get motivated more and even connect with potential investment partners through face to face networking. This will help me have my best year yet.

    • I have mixed feelings with that Clint. I got to the point of detesting networking off line and welcomed online opportunities with open arms.

      Now though I’m thinking the pendulum is swinging back as that networking is more like pure noise now. Not sure what that means, but I agree that it’s difficult to beat face-to-face relationships.

  • as always Tim some great stuff there and put in the most enjoyable “non judge-mental, i’m from a higher level than you way”
    hope 2012 is a great year for you and Helen
    best wishes from a very wet and bloody cold Belfast

  • Couple of golden lines here, especially the part about the world conspiring — that describes so many of us.

    I would add to this list to build in an aggressive activity into your life.

    Humanitarian worker Eric Greitens discovered the importance of this and wrote a book “the heart and the fist.”

    It can’t be articulated what it does for people at a deep level. If you can sign up to some sort of kickboxing, boxing, martial arts, wrestling it could be the most profound personal development journey you ever go on. If those don’t seem like an option, sign up for some kettlebells :) — the closest thing to fighting without getting punched…

  • Great post Tim. If there’s anything I’ll add, it’ll be “be a blessing”. Sometimes we’re only blessed when we bless others. It doesn’t have to be in any spectacular way or place. The best place to start is your environment. I try to do this in my own little way and it has helped me a lot. It’s something I’ll definitely carry on to the new year.

    Having an annual theme is a really good idea and it’s something I’ll make a habit from now on.

  • Thanks Tim,
    A Big 2012 will be ours, look forward to reading more gems from you
    be good to yourself

  • Wow. Thanks, Tim – this was just what I needed to hear right now. And so do 99% of my clients, I would guess. I’ll be sharing the link. :)


    I totally agree. My theme for upcoming year, 2012 is The Reform Year

  • Awesome post. Theme of the year for me is kind of strange: END OF THE WORLD. I know it’s not just one word, but it is a phrase. And will help me remember that IF (very sarcastically) IF this is the LAST YEAR for the world, then I want to do everything I want to do this year, and will make conscious choices about everything I spend my time on this year. No more twittering away hours, but instead spend the time in the moment with my son or writing that novel I always dreamed I’d write.

    Here’s to 2012! Bring it on!

    • That reminds me of the Simpsons episode where Homer is told he only has 1 day to live. Rather than doing all the good stuff people always think they will do when told such news he just sits down on the curb and blubs his eyes out!

      Bring it on indeed ;-)

  • Hi Tim.I discovered your site through Jonathan at Advanced Life Skills and I’m so glad I did. I love this post! #4 on the list here is so important. People walk away with their heads hanging low year after year because they fail at these new year’s resolutions that they were never really prepared to follow through in. Like you said, everyday is a good day. However, it’s tough to feel that way if you’re busy disappointing yourself with failed resolutions.

    Happy New Year to you! I’ve subscribed and I look forward to reading more of your posts in 2012.

  • A great last post for 2011 :D

    I think that my theme for 2012 is going to be LOVE!To give more love to myself and everyone,even to those who hurt my feelings in the past!Love can change the world and I want to live in a better world,so I suppose Ghandi was right,”you must be the change that you want to see in the world”.It is a bit general as a theme but I think I will imply some smaller themes such as hope,kindness and smile :D

    I wish you Tim all the luck and health in the world and a great,productive year full of good days and some bad days(for the experience you get as you know better ;p).

    Greeting from Greece and Happy New Year :D

  • Really sound advice for the new year, Tim!

    I didn’t know it was a trend to pick a theme for the year, but I’ve actually been doing that the past two years. First year I was focusing on spirituality and second year I was focusing on career/work. This year putting a big focus on relationships!

  • I think I could definitely use these tips for my new year ‘s resolution as I am one of those people who arent much of these in the posts.

  • Tim,

    At first I wasn’t too on board with your suggestion, “Don’t Set New Years Resolutions,” but I like your idea to instead make them goals. I even like the idea of making a theme for the year under which your goals can lie. Thanks for the inspiring post!


    • Better late on board than not on board at all ;-)

      Actually,Advice like this is so generalized and at the end of the day it’s whatever works for the individual that matters.

  • Great post! My first time commenting although I’ve been here before. In fact, Lori Deschene sent me the link to your site a while back as an example of a great website. She’s been my blogging ‘mentor’ and a wonderful support to me. I’ve just finished my official first year of blogging.
    Anway back to your post, I’d add it’s envisioning ones goals each day and trying to act on at least a couple everyday. Staying focused on grounded with one wants.
    I recently ‘retired’ from my school social work job after 20 years to have the opportunity to go out on my own. So I’d really like to be ‘successful’ in growing my own thing (I hesitate to use the word business) in terms of getting coaching clients, doing presentation (parenting and coaching) and growing my blogging world.

    • Sure Harriet, that’s definitely a wise idea, if you don’t focus on your goals you’re not likely to achieve them!

      And what makes you hesitate in calling your thing a business?

  • Hi Tim,
    nice reading here.
    Some time ago I wrote similiar post on one of my blogs (I have three), but your is much more interesting… I should learn from you :)

  • one thing?… Simplify: get rid of what doesn’t fit into your core values

  • Hi Tim,
    Happy New Year and best wishes to you and yours in 2012. The one thing I really agree with here is no resolutions, I hate them and always feel they set people up to fail but each to their own. My resolution is to pop in to your blog a bit more this year, All the best.

  • Clara

    I like your blog’s graphic design – is it custom made, or some public template? Where can I download it from?

  • This is a great article and something that I continue to strive for in my life. It is so easy with the hustle and bustle of daily life to forget about what you want to do for the year or how you are “really doing”. I found some great advice in here to put in my toolbox to use when I feel I am getting off the track of “making it the best year”. Appreciated!