That’s it! I’m closing the books on 2020 and looking ahead to 2021.

I’m not a fan of short-term New Year’s resolutions. But I am a fan of thinking openly and purposefully about where I want to be personally and professionally one year from now. Only then can I make a plan to get there.

If you already have a practice like this, here’s a reminder to start your 2021 visioning now. If you don’t have a practice, here’s how I approach the conversation. Take what you like and adapt it.

Tone and Setting

This should not feel like homework. This should be fun. Do this in your favorite place. Make yourself a lovely coffee or tea. Whatever makes this feel enjoyable, do it.

Bright Spots Reflection

You have done extraordinary things. Think back on those accomplishments — small and large. List a few. Remember how daunting they might have felt at one time. Reflect on how you overcame your doubts. You can do it again.

Questions to Ask

1. What do you want to be different in December 2021?
Do you want to have stronger personal financial footing?
Do you want to have a more vibrant work/team culture?
Do you want to be a stronger leader?

2. Why is this important now?
Why now?
What’s calling?
What’s at stake?

3. How does this look/feel?
How will you know you achieved this?
What does it look like in practice?
What specific outcomes might manifest because of this effort?

4. Is this realistic?
What might get in the way?
Have you tried this before and encountered barriers?
Are there ways you can break this down into smaller chunks?

5. Is this big enough?
Is this enough of a stretch for you?
Are you doing something easy because you are fearful of doing something big?
On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being the most) how sweaty are your palms when you say this commitment. 6-8 is a sweet spot.

6. How can you start?

What are three small steps that can help you start this effort?
When can you do each step?
Who can you turn to to hold you accountable?

After you identify your three small steps, you can start thinking about evolving those into a longer roadmap (Watch for 2021: part II). For now, take heart that you’ve done something truly rewarding for yourself. You’ve raised your gaze and imagined what might be.