Productivity

7 Questions To Ask Yourself To Make This Your Best Year Ever

7 Simple Questions that can transform your life, Your business and your future in the new year. 

7 Simple Questions that can transform your life, Your business and your future in the new year. 

 At the beginning of each year, I ask myself seven simple questions as an exercise that is absolutely crucial to my growth and success in the new year. I’d love to share my questions (and my answers) with you and maybe you can use the seven questions for the new year as well. Ready? Here we go!

1. What was the biggest milestone or accomplishment this year?

Sometimes identifying the biggest milestone win of the year helps us to focus our energy for the next year. Recognizing the accomplishment that made you feel the most fulfilled helps you stay true to your passion in the future. 

 Breaking Busy hit the shelves, and I had the honor of hearing from thousands of women who said they finally learned how to get off the hamster wheel of busyness and performance.  It helped them lead more purposeful and happy lives.  It just doesn’t get better than that!  I dreamed of writing that book for 10 years, and now I look back and 10 years feels like nothing. It was worth every hurdle I had to jump over to get it done. 

2. What challenge did you overcome this year?

Sometimes looking back on our challenges and struggles can give us a chance to remind ourselves just how strong we are, and it can serve as an encouragement that when hard times happen in the future (because we know they will), they will not consume us. 
 
My husband Mark has a chronic illness, a very severe form of adult onset asthma, that started in 2013.  We spent almost half of this past year with him very sick. Just one of our boys bringing a little cold home would turn into a two or three-week serious illness for my husband. We spent months trying to get the exact combination of medicines to keep him breathing and healthy. He’s doing great and on the other side of it now, but this experience definitely shaped our year. Through the experience, we learned to prioritize what was really important in our family. 

3. What goal did you have that you didn’t reach?

This goal may be professional; you may have hoped that your business had more revenue, that you had more time, and had less stress. Or maybe the goal isn't work related; it could be related to your personal life. 

 Like so many others I went into this year planning to start exercising and eating healthy. But I tend to eat way too many Reese's peanut butter cups and feel like not getting off the couch.  I didn’t prioritize my health, and here I am a year later… I’ll revisit this in my goals for this year later. :)

4. Is your business where you hoped it would be?

If you find yourself at the end of the year wondering why your business hasn’t grown, why you are busier than you’ve ever been, and why you are still having trouble getting your team to do what you need them to do- you aren’t alone. 

I’m happy to report this year professionally has been great. My role at Propel Women is amazing, writing books (I turned in book #2.. more details on that coming soon!) where I get to go into the step-by-step practical details of how to live life well is a joy, and I began coaching a select number of clients again. All three of these things bring me so much fulfillment.  At age 40, I can finally say I’m not waiting for the next big thing around the corner, and it feels wonderful.

If you’re not where you would like to be in your career or business today and could use a guide to walk on the journey with you- apply for coaching with me now. 

5. Who did you surround yourself with?

Whether you are 15 or 45 the people, you spend your time with have a huge effect on your happiness, your future, and your sanity. 

This year I made some hard choices to spend as little time as possible with people who are critical and negative by nature. I still love them, but I woke up in the last few years and realized I was giving too much of my time and happiness to people who had a toxic effect on my life.  This past year I focused on those friends who brought out the best in me, who were encouragers, and those who love me enough to give me that kick in the pants truth-talk when I needed to hear it. There’s nothing as valuable as a good friend who speaks the truth in love. 

6. How did you spend your time?

To have any growth in life, we have to dedicate time to it. For spiritual growth, we have to dedicate time for worship, prayer and reading the Bible. For physical health, we have to dedicate time to prepare healthy meals and exercise (I know, I know… it’s on my list for next year.)  And for the health of our business, we have to devote time and focused attention on working to build our business, and not get lost in the details of running our business. 

 At the beginning of 2016, I started tracking how much time I spent watching news shows, listening to current events radio, podcasts and reading news articles online. It was shocking how much time I was spending on this. Some weeks it was up to 15 hours.  Sure I was "well-informed" but it wasn’t a good use of my time. And even worse, it was a little bit depressing.  I changed how I consumed news and limited it to about an hour a week. I'm still informed, but I'm now way happier. (The bonus is that I missed out on 95% of all the crazy during this election year.)

If you haven’t yet read Breaking Busy and would like to learn practical tips for getting your life, time and happiness back order today. You’ll get a bunch of great freebies that I developed with it, too!

7. What are your three big goals for next year?

 Sure we can have 20 goals if we wanted to. But I love to simplify and love things in threes. Every week I identify the three most important things that I will work on as my priority. Every morning when I start my workday, I identify three things I need to focus on above all else. So every year I also like to find three big priorities for my life in that year. 

1.     Get healthy-  Every year at my annual physical it shows that I’m in great health, but man oh man, I am so tired half the time. I wish there was a magic pill to fix it. But I know I just need to exercise and eat healthier food.  My goal isn’t to lose a bunch of weight, I just want to feel good and have more energy. 
2.     Help more women thrive in their businesses-  I love coaching others for success, building brands, developing strategic plans and helping others bring out the best in their teams.  With each product launch, revenue target reached, and task delegated, I celebrate with my clients just like it’s my very own success. I love it and look forward to helping more business owners this year. 
3.     I’d like to be even more intentional with my family this year. This year is my oldest son's last year in high school (*sniffs*).  He goes off to college in the fall. I hope that our family makes lots of great memories during his last few months at home. 

 What are your three big goals for next year? 

 I hope that you found these seven questions that I ask myself at the end of each year helpful. If you use them in your life, I’d love to hear from you.  Feel free to send me a note on my contact page or Facebook here
Happy New Year!

Love,
Alli 

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7 Secrets For Balancing Life

 "How do you balance it all?" That's the question I get asked more than any other. Sure, my life is full, I'll admit it. (I'm not exactly relaxing everyday on a beach eating peeled grapes.) With five sons, work, my books (Breaking Busy is especially relevant here!) and the normal craziness of life- my secret is great systems and amazing technology. 

Today I'm sharing some of my favorite tips, tricks and strategies on work productivity and life balance with you. 

1. Use Your Calendar to Make Time For What's Important

I'm obsessed with Gcal. I not only put all my appointments in it, I use it to schedule my life. I realized that if I want to actually live on purpose, I had to dedicate time to my priorities. I learned to schedule blocks of time for prayer, Bible study, for exercise, for paying bills, even to call a friend.

We have to make time in advance for things that are important to us and things that bring us joy.

If we fill up our calendars with busywork we won't make time for what makes us happy.  (Click to tweet that)

2. Cut Out Errands & Save Money with Amazon Prime

What did we do before Amazon Prime?! Basically it was the dark ages. If you aren't an Amazon Prime you can try it out for 30 days FREE. Click here to try it.

Not only do I order all my home office supplies from Amazon (OK, if I'm honest 90% of everything I buy comes from Amazon) I even get everything from vitamins, groceries, to mascara auto-delivered every month. This saves me from running to Target and buying twice as much as I need because it's cute and right in front of me. :) 

3. Set Three Achievable Goals Per Day

We all love our to-do lists and have the habit of listing 20 things we want to get done in a day. Most days we accomplish five of those things and beat ourselves up over the rest. Instead of listing out everything, look for the three most important things for the day and focus on those. 

For more help on how to identify and achieve your goals everyday check out this article. 

4. Make Decision-Making Painless

In Breaking Busy, I shared the '5 F's of Decision Making' (click here to download the free downloadable printable) and my favorite part of the framework is focusing on the future version of yourself.

 I ask myself "What will 'Future Alli' say about this decision next month or next year?" It helps me say no to new obligations, pass up opportunities, and make decisions without worrying that I'll regret them later. 

5. Find Peace by Thinking in Terms of Seasons

When I face a big project, a time of busyness for the family, or even struggles in my own energy level I try to remind myself to think of life as a series of seasons. In some seasons I may have to work longer hours (for book writing, it means I lock myself away for 6 months of Saturdays to write).

In some seasons with the family we are just flat out going to be more stressed. Between activities, sports, and the constant desire for less parental rules (ahem)- Mark and I keep perspective (and our sanity) by reminding ourselves and each other that it's a just a season. 

6. Beat Digital Clutter Once and For All 

Digital clutter is the worst. The stress caused by wondering where that article you wanted to reread is, where that shopping list went, and where your files are can be overwhelming. The key to reducing stress is to keep everything organized in one place. 

I use Evernote to organize my whole life. It's like my extra brain. Here's a whole tutorial on how I use Evernote. 

7. Work Towards Ongoing Growth Not Perfection

We all know that nothing is ever really perfect. There's always an issue, a problem, a small flaw somewhere. If we aren't careful we can allow ourselves to focus on little issues and get stuck. I say, "Done is better than perfect" and strive for growth, not perfection. 

Hope you enjoyed these seven strategies I use to achieve more and stay sane while juggling a full life. If found this article helpful please share it with your friends on Facebook. 


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