Happy 2020! New year, new decade. Crazy, right? To help you kick off 2020 with a bang, I’m sharing three different activities Omied and I recently did to help set goals for the new year.
2019 was such an impactful year for us—Omied and I had some of the best and also the most devastating milestones of our lives this past year. I left my job at Google in January and launched my blog full-time (you can read my post about my decision to leave Google here—I can’t believe it’s been one year this month!!), and ended up doubling my revenue goals in 2020. Omied became a partner at his architecture firm. We didn’t plan to both become business owners in 2019, but that’s how it happened!
At the same time, we lost Omied’s dad to cancer in 2019. Neither of us had ever dealt with the loss of a parent before, and this loss made 2019 without a doubt our most challenging year ever.
I suppose that is life—a mix of high highs and low lows. You work at what you can control, and let go of what you cannot.
I tend to ignore all the buzz on social media about New Year, New You because I don’t think you need a new calendar year to roll around to change behaviors—every day is a fresh start! And while I’m not crazy about New Years Resolutions, and this post is def not going to be a list of resolution ideas, I’m absolutely obsessed with setting goals and intentions for the new year. I also think it’s super important to take a step back and think about all of your accomplishments, and celebrate them.
And so, here are the three different activities Omied and I did to set our new goals for the year and beyond!
Decade in Review
The first activity we did was Marie Forleo’s Decade in Review. Marie is a business-guru—she’s whip-smart and gives the best, tangible advice. I consider her my virtual mentor because I’ve truly learned and applied so much from her YouTube videos and taking her B-School class.
Marie’s Decade in Review activity took us a couple of hours (Omied’s kind of a slow journaler), and we both found it to be really powerful. Her first video covers celebrating your wins over the last decade, and any lessons learned and wisdom you can take with you into the new decade.
When Omied and I looked at all of our accomplishments over the last decade, we were pretty damn impressed with ourselves. And we realized that while sometimes it might have felt like a slog—You know those random Wednesdays where you wake up thinking it’s Thursday and there’s only one more sleep ’til the weekend and then you realize it’s super not Thursday, it’s actually Hump Day and you’ve still got three more full workdays to go? And you’re like ok I’ve got this and you write out your whole to-do list and think you’re going to be super productive, but then there are all these fires and surprise meetings at work, and you get approximately zero things on your to-do list finished, and you come home late and just feel like cool all I do is eat, sleep, and work, and now I’m going to go to sleep and do it all over again tomorrow? You know those days?—when you persevere through those days and continue to push yourself and grow, those days and all the rest add up to all of your huge accomplishments.
It felt amazing to look at both of our achievements over the last decade. And honestly, we really don’t take the time to look back at how far we’ve come and truly celebrate that. Now’s the perfect opportunity!
The second video covers letting go—whether it’s letting go of projects you’ve been telling yourself you should do (but honestly don’t really want to), limiting beliefs, resentments or relationships that no longer serve you—so you can let go of all that dead weight.
One of the projects I’ve been telling myself I should do but haven’t for years is learning new skills—specifically I’ve been telling myself I need to learn Farsi, since Omied and his fam speak it at home. It’s kinda been hanging over my head for awhile, and although I would like to learn Farsi eventually, I’m letting go of feeling like I need to do it now and like I’m a terrible wife for wanting to but never learning it for this long.
The third and final video is all about creating your 10 year plan. We journaled about our hopes and dreams for the next decade, and identified our top three goals for 2020.
The next activity we did is this Transformation Workbook. A friend of mine at Google shared this with me a couple of years ago, and I absolutely love doing this to help with goal setting and thinking about the upcoming year. It’s from 2013, but the questions and prompts in it are evergreen, and if you do it one new year at a time, over time you’ll really see how you’ve grown year over year. And it really helps set you up for a successful new year by helping you identify what parts of your life (such as health, family/friend/love relationships, career, home/living space) you want to change or transform—it’s never too late to reinvent yourself!
When I did this workbook last year, it helped me identify and put into words a couple of important things:
1. What I truly wanted wasn’t just a new job, it was working for myself. Which of course led to me leaving Google and launching my business.
2. I wasn’t super happy with our apartment situation—our furniture was a mish-mash of some old furniture and some new, and we had kinda just let it be whatever for a while because we didn’t know how long we’d be in this apartment…and years later we hadn’t done much to give it a more cohesive vibe. So this realization led to us reorganizing, adding as much storage as possible, purging things we don’t need twice a year, and getting all new furniture with the same vibe (Omied just loves a good mid-century modern set).
Doing this workbook helps you dig deep and get clarity around what’s important to you and how you want to live your life.
Strategic Future By Design
The third and final activity we did is this Strategic Future By Design Worksheet by Lauryn from The Skinny Confidential. I took my top goals for the year and mapped them out using this cute worksheet. It helps you put pen to paper, and take big ideas/dreams and map them out into bite-sized, actionable pieces. So for example, if your goal is to grow your network or meet new people, you can write down actionable steps like attending one event a week, reconnecting with old colleagues over coffee and asking for recommendations on who else you should connect with, or getting lunch with a new person at work once a month (or week, whatever seems reasonable to you!).
Next up, I took these goals and the steps I’m taking to achieve them, and I mapped them out into my gorgeous new 2020 planner month by month. That way each month, I know what steps I’m taking to bring myself closer to my goals for the new year. (Oh, and I used sparkly gel pens to write them out, because sparkles and gel pens make everything more fun.)
I LOVED doing these with Omied and sharing our thoughts and perspectives with each other. Omied and I actually did a little staycation at the Stanford Court Hotel in downtown and spent a couple of days doing this as an “offsite,” so that we could really dive in and be 100% focused on our strategic planning for the new year. That way we weren’t distracted or tempted by anything else like we might be at home, like cooking or doing the dishes.
We spent the first full day doing these activities and reading (I’m reading Marie Forleo’s Everything is Figureoutable and Omied is reading Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less—sidenote: I read this one last year and it’s a GAMECHANGER, people). The second day we spent doing tactical things that resulted from the first day (so, for example, I did a lot of updating things for my site—check out the snazzy new Press page here—and working on new processes and templates for things that will help me hit my new biz goals for 2020).
Even though Omied isn’t as into journaling and touchy-feely with this kind of stuff (the offsite and all the activities were 100% my idea and my planning), he told me afterward that he was really glad we did this together and that it was really powerful.
So there you go! Stop procrastinating, start doing, but with direction and clarity. If you do any or all of these activities to help you set goals for the new year, let me know! I’d absolutely love to hear what you think.
Here’s to a successful and exciting new year!
Elise Armitage is an entrepreneur and founder of What The Fab, a travel + lifestyle blog based in California. At the beginning of 2019, Elise left her corporate job at Google to chase her dreams: being an entrepreneur and helping women find fabulous in the everyday. Since then, she’s launched her SEO course Six-Figure SEO, where she teaches bloggers how to create a passive revenue stream from their website using SEO. Featured in publications like Forbes, Elle, HerMoney, and Real Simple, Elise is a firm believer that you can be of both substance and style.