Tis the season for reflection and shiver-inducing songs like John Lennon’s Happy Xmas (War Is Over).

In the song, he asks, “So this is Christmas and what have you done?”

This year, I get to respond with “Everything I set out to.”

Last December — for the first time — I seriously sat down to write down my professional goals for 2013 and made a plan for achieving them. What did I lay out and what did I accomplish?

  • I launched my passion project Lifeboat — a revolution of people practicing great friendship, which got covered in Forbes, BuzzFeed, and NPR.
  • I worked with Mark to identify a strategic road map for reinventing Sea Change — including developing new positioning language, creating thought leadership to match, and launching a brand new responsive website that actually reflects what we do and who we work for.
  • I battled my anxiety with public speaking by having eight major speaking gigs over the span of 2 and half months including this one at MCON, a day of thought leadership and conversation about engaging the millennial generation for good.
  • I actually blogged about my take on the world of fundraising, non profits and leadership instead of just talking about blogging like I’ve done in years past.

It’s amazing what a little bit of strategic thinking and planning can do! I encourage you to try it.

  1. (1) Sit down and outline one professional goal you’d like to achieve in 2014. Do you want to learn a new skill? Do you want to manage your team better? Do you want to change careers?
  2. (2) Create a quarterly and monthly road map for how you can achieve that goal. Make sure to include measurable outcomes each quarter.
  3. (3) What are the key activities that will help you achieve your goal? Put those into your monthly road map.
  4. (4) Carve out time in your calendar (yes – block out hours each week) that you can dedicate to those key activities.
  5. (5) Tell a friend about your goal. Ask them to hold you accountable at a quarterly check in. Get those in your calendar.

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Think of this as a fun activity that will set you up for professional success/change in 2014!