I am feeling very good as I finish the year 2011.
Looking back, I am proud of my achievements, my new skills and new learnings.
This year has been the best year of my life. I planned at the start of the year, executed my plan throughout the year and today - I have achieved all the goals I had set my eyes on. I have to highlight that this is not been as easy as I thought it to be. When I started my year on Jan 1, I spent close to four hours developing an action plan for year 2011. I was inspired my Robin Sharma's Vlog - 'How to Make This New Year Your Best Year Yet'
There were 5 steps to be followed:
1. Celebration - Celebrate your past year's achievements, wins (small & big), special moments.
I had plenty to celebrate. This pdf sums it up.
2. Education - List out 5 business lessons, life lessons you learnt in the past 12 months. Also mention what was your thought process when you were at your best.
- Always be prepared. An opportunity might knock anytime.
- Work on your skills. Improve faster.
- More projects means more contacts means more projects. Continue what you are doing.
- This too shall pass - nothing is permanent - Joy, Sorrow, Nothing is permanent.
- Grab every opportunity.
- Be ready well before deadline. Do not keep it till the last moment unless the delay helps you deliver better results.
I was in the zone. I focussed only on the goal. I did not pay attention to any of the distractions.
3. Clarification - List out your BIG 5 for next year. What five things should happen which will make 2011 the best year yet? What are your top 15 goals? What are your values?
My BIG 5 were:
1. Present at CAST 2011
2. Author of 2 books.
3. Learn Perl & save money.
4. Be the trainer (testing) for my organization.
5. Be a uTest bug battle winner.
Among the top 15 goals, my first goal was to read all the books listed here. http://www.librarything.com/catalog/ajay184f The books are tagged under '2011 Book List' collection.
Values - Hard work, Fitness, Relationships & Enjoyment.
4. Graduation - Develop a plan for the next months. Tie your BIG 5, top 15 goals and values into a PLAN such that every month, you know your targets and what is to be achieved.
I developed my plan. I had time for all my goals, BIG 5 and spare time in December to wrap up any pending tasks.
5. Visualization - The most powerful step - Visualize your future. Visualize how you want to feel on Dec 31st, 2011. Visualize yourself fulfilling all your goals & achieving the BIG 5. The more colorful, vivid, in detail the visualization - the better.
So, with the above plan on my wall, I had made up my mind to make 2011 the BEST year.
Was it easy? I would be lying if I said Yes. There were quite a few challenges and I am happy I overcame them.
Challenge 1: Time
With so many books, articles on my 'To be Read' & 'Absorb if useful' list, I had to spend more time offline than online. But again, there is a catch. Most of the interesting blogs, challenges are announced on twitter, blogs. So, I had to be aware of most of the announcements from my colleagues and yet spend just the right amount of time required for these commitments. One of the changes in my routine was to get up at 4.30 am. This gave me three hours in the morning. I slept two hours early and got up three hours early.
Challenge 2: Distractions
Cricket World Cup - As a devoted fan of cricket, it was hard for me to miss watching every ball of the matches. I promised myself that I will watch only one match - the FINALS & only if India makes it to the finals. This also meant 'No Television'.
Online chat with friends - I was always online to chat with friends but this year I made up my mind that I would be online only for scheduled discussions.
Challenge 3: New Routine
This was new to me. No television, no tuition, no chats. It took me some time to get used to this routine. The big chart right next to my bed inspired me, helped me concentrate on my goals. Is there anyone who still believes that writing down goals has minimal effect?
Challenge 4 - Saying NO
This was a tough challenge to say NO to the various tasks that came my way. They looked quite interesting and challenging but I had already set my eyes on something BIG. There was nothing which would prevent me from achieving that except me. A tough decision, few unhappy experiences. But that's how life is. No Pain - No Gain.
So, finally. Here I am - happy, contented and looking forward to the new year 2012.
And you guessed it right, the chart for 2011 would be preserved and replaced by a new one for 2012.
Thanks for all your support. Hope you too had a great year 2011 and wish you happy new year 2012.
PS: This blog post was inspired by Jon Bach. And every word I have written in this blog post is TRUE. I hope to link to this post on Jan 1, 2012 for the post - '2011 - The Year That Was' and mark everything as Done/Achieved.