I know, I know. It's not even Halloween and I'm talking to you about 2018. It might seem too soon to think about it, but we all know that once peak pumpkin spice is behind us, the rest of the year can be a blur. Now is actually the perfect time to plan for 2018, especially if you want to do it in a calm and thoughtful way that will set you up ready to take action on January 1.
A good plan begins with a good assessment, so let's start let's start with a review of 2017. We'll get to part 2 next week.
I believe there are five key areas in a successful private practice--Mindset, Clarity, Integrity, Sustainability, and Community. You can read more about them here. When reviewing 2017, pay attention to your wins and your growing edges in each of these areas.
Before you make any plans for 2018, you need to know what's worked well and and what didn't work so hot this year. Makes sense, right? So, sometime in the next week-ish carve our a chunk of uninterrupted time- about 45 minutes to an hour. Choose somewhere where you can be peaceful and reflective. Grab a pen and some paper, put on some background music, and answer the following questions.
1. What were my wins this year?
By wins I mean both the large wins and the small wins. Include your business successes, your clinical shining moments, and your personal achievements. If you feel stuck, try looking back through your calendar, journal, or Quickbooks with an eye toward the positive.
Did you help a couple deal with the ramifications of an affair? You rock! Did you institute a reliable accounting system? Amazing! Hit your income goal? YES!
What about in your personal life? Sustainability is one of the pillars of a successful practice and that means self-care. Maybe you managed to go to yoga fairly regularly, or took a vacation, or prioritized date night with your partner. Add anything you did that particularly nourished your soul this year. In my book, that's definately a win.
Spend at least 10 minutes doing this. Then, when you are done with the list, take a few minutes to let all you've written really sink in. Rick Hanson suggests holding good memories in your mind for at least 20 seconds to help form neural connections that promote wellbeing. Far too often we focus on all the stuff that still needs to happen and skip over all the good stuff that is already happening. Acknowledge the hard work you do and celebrate it.
Just for fun, and so everyone reading can share in the celebration, go ahead and add your biggest win in the comments section below.
2. What challenges did I have this year?
Now for what didn't go so hot.
We tend to remember the hard stuff much more easily than the good stuff, so this list may be easier to write, but try to do it with some compassion. Fail forward, as they say in the tech world. Having clarity will help you make decisions for next year, but it is also important to be compassionate towards yourself and to cultivate a growth mindset. Wouldn't you hold that for your clients? Well, you are just as deserving!
Were there projects that didn't go as planned? Did you fall behind on notes more than you wanted to? Maybe you overcommitted, or procrastinated, or tried to do it all yourself when some help would have been appropriate. Get it all down on the paper and don't take it personally.
While this section can be more business focused, if you had some really big personal challenges, write them down. It might help you have compassion for why it may have been hard to hit some of the business goals.
3. What can I learn from this?
Look over the list of wins. You'll want to do more of what works in 2018, so look for areas where you've had lots of success. Let yourself really own the things you do well and that come more easily. Can you identify any patterns? Maybe you've gotten great feedback on classes you've taught, or articles you've written. Wouldn't it feel good to set goals for 2018 that include doing more of the things that energize you?
Now review the list of stuff that didn't go so great and look for the themes and lessons there too.
What of these things can you let go of entirely? Or let go of for now?
Which practice pillar- mindset, clarity, integrity, sustainability or community needs more of your attention in 2018?
Where might you need more support?
Jot down any reflections you have about this process and let it marinate until next week.
In part 2, I'll go into more detail about how to take what you've learned in Part 1 and use it to plan SMART goals and identify what actions you'll need to take when in order to meet those goals. Plan to carve out at least an hour, probably two, to really make use of the next post.
Give yourself some appreciation for taking the time to reflect, and get on doing the great work you do!
See you soon-
A big thanks to Julie Wolk and her treetops process for inspiring this post! If you are into growing a business based on nature, check her out.