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Years ago I read the book ‘Your Best Year Yet’ by Jinny Ditzler, who sadly passed away last year. In a nutshell (because it’s a lot deeper than the following might suggest), she proposed that every year you go through a process of examining past success and failures, identifying what you learned from both. From that learning you consider looking at life through a new paradigm, and list three (could be more but not too many) Personal Guidelines for the next 12 months. Only after you’ve done that should you then identify your roles, values – and ten goals for that period. It’s called a BYY Plan.

(I’ve written before about ‘only’ having term goals and ‘what to do when you’ve only got 5 left and loads of time.)

Anyway, I have been doing that on and off for a while (and amending the list every time I complete one or more goals on that list) and this year was no exception. Except I wasn’t feeling the love. It’s 4 weeks in to 2022 and after a spectacular start I was feeling unmotivated. So what was wrong? I decided to look at last year’s BYY Plan.

Last year went well. I had a list, and one of my Guidelines was ‘Make Hard Choices and Act’. That was possibly the best one. Many’s the time I read that and went out and exercised, or pushed myself a bit harder, or did something towards a goal that I otherwise would have avoided. And I would guestimate I completed on well over 80% of the goals I set for my 60th year. I rewrote books, requalified as an advanced driving mentor, and drove three racing circuits of the four I planned, only being defeated when my brakes developed a fault and, let’s be frank, a race circuit is one place you need good brakes. I completed on a few procrastinated house development plans, and generally succeeded all over the place.

So why not this year, so far?

First of all, I realised that some of my goals were a bit vague. Well-intended, but vague. They needed sub-goals to make any sense, or just needed more specificity than I’d initially stated. (30 years of receiving AND giving SMART Goals input and I still screw up….)

Second, I realised that some were the goals you’re ‘supposed’ to have. Which means they weren’t really mine, they were someone else’s.

And third, I set the bar way too high. I decided to ride my bike 100 miles a week. For three weeks (and one day, to be honest) I did exactly that. And I felt absolutely wrecked, bored, unmotivated. The time it took out of each day among all the other commitments I made was mentally wearing.

And one goal was a combination of both the ‘someone else’ and ‘high bar’ faults, and it was debilitating mentally as I struggled with the effort of trying to meet it while not really wanting to. I’d walk the dog and the whole hour was my conscience debating ‘can I?’ ‘can’t I?’ and ‘How do I/Should I get out of it?’

In the end, I chose to disappoint the someone else, and in fairness they didn’t try to talk me back around, and respected my decision. It’s great to have understanding friends.

Anyway, long story short, today is the day I address all those errors and create a plan that is still challenging, but which I want to do as well. For example, one of my guidelines read ‘Exercise relentless self-discipline’. It may seem soft, but that word ‘relentless’ was causing mental and physical pain. Every time I didn’t train because of the motivation/physiological challenges, it just added more pain. Just removing that word is going to make the plan easier to execute without excusing laziness, for example. And if you’re being truly relentless, some things have to give way to other things, which in itself pulls at the conscience, which drives you nuts.

I know I promote self-discipline on this site, but in my book The Three Resolutions I address exactly when self-discipline becomes self-defeating, so my integrity remains intact!

So I recommend Jinny’s book (after you’ve read mine 😊) because properly executed in a considered way the Best Year Yet Plan I made for 2021 resulted in the best year I’ve had in quite a while.

And I was faster than the Stig around Castle Combe Race Circuit. (have I mentioned that before?)

(I admit that’s Anglesey Circuit and not Castle Combe, but I haven’t any pics of that day. Sorry.)