Even though we are a couple of weeks in to 2019, it’s a great time to take a few minutes and map out your plans. I’m a big fan of sitting down for an hour or so and getting my thoughts for the year out on paper. I started doing something I call the “Ten in Three” in 2014, and in looking back at that first list, it’s fascinating to see that I have completed all but one thing (getting PMP certified, #2).
Set the Intention for your Year
You might feel, like I know have in the past, like life is moving fast and you don’t have time to really stop and soak in what’s going on. You might feel like you’re on a trajectory with your career that now feels just OK, but you know you want something more than what you’re currently doing. Or, maybe you have not stopped to think about what it is that you want to do with your one “wild and precious life” since college, and feel a bit lost.
The beauty about taking an hour or so to get your thoughts in order about what you truly want to accomplish (instead of being in a reactive mode), is that it provides you with a little time to put some mindfulness and intention around your year.
Set a timer for 15 minutes and get out a blank pieces of paper or journal page and work through these questions to sort through your intentions – try to keep the answers in a list or bullet format so you can easily see the key ideas that start to emerge during this process.
Here are some questions to ask yourself as you start this process:
- What are the big things you want to create this year?
- What are the big things you want to bring into your life, if you take away the current limitations you may feel are holding you back?
- If you could map out anything you wanted for life, what would it look like? If nothing was off the table, what would you do, and who would you be?
- What are some ideas that have been coming back to you, time after time, that you’ve pushed aside because they are not “practical,” or don’t fit in your life right now?
Choose the Things You’ll Focus On
The next step, after you’ve spent the time doing a highly productive brain dump, let’s get sorting through those thoughts.
Look over your list, and taking a moment with each item you’ve written, let the idea settle into your heart. There may be some of those items on your list that are “maybe some day” type items, and others that feel like they resonate with your soul.
Take a highlighter or colored pen, and mark the ideas that feel like the ones closest to the things you truly want to focus on.
Set Your Ten in Three
Once you’ve sorted through the ideas, it’s likely that there are a handful that are bubbling up as main ideas you want to bring to life. Take a look and see what you’ve got, and narrow this list down to the top ten that you want to bring into reality.
My process has been that I pick ten items that I want to complete, and spread them across three years. There’s a lot of pressure online to “do all the things,” and that leads to being totally overwhelmed. Once you’ve narrowed it down to three big goals for a year, you’ve limited the the things that will get your attention, and increased the likelihood each one will get completed. I’m also a big fan of this method over something like a Bucket List because it gives you focus, instead of being a big long list hanging out there that feels too long to ever finish.
You can download the fancy downloadable, printable sheet to remind you of your Ten in Three by clicking here.
Two notes on the Ten in Three: while the instructions here are simple, this process can be one that takes a couple of days. Allow yourself the time and space to do this in a way that feels right for you. Make the commitment to yourself to finish this once you’ve started.
The other note that I like to point out to people about the Ten in Three is to be kind to yourself if, say, midyear, you realize you don’t want to do one of the things you added. It’s OK to change your list, depending on what life throws at you. The only thing I haven’t finished on my list is #2, and it was an intentional decision for me to not pursue getting a PMP certificate. You can change your mind, too.