The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Dike Drummond, M.D. Headshot

Make 2014 Your Best Year Yet (In an Hour or Less)

Posted: Updated:

Here at the end of 2013 is the very best opportunity to devote some time (about an hour in this case) to planning 2014 as your best year yet.

This blog contains the 2014 Breakthrough Process Worksheet to help you do just that.. . set up 2014 as a year you will look back on as a breakout year for you. Answering the questions below will help you celebrate all you achieved in 2013 and create a personal strategic plan for a fulfilling 2014 and the whole process will take you just an hour. The perfect life changing activity for your New Year's Day.

As an executive coach to hundreds of over-stressed physicians, I help people plan and create their future. Usually they are moving from a place of exhaustion and struggle to one of much more balance and ease. In order to get different results in your life you must take different actions. For most of us it takes reflection and a plan. Here are three key steps I have found in my work. They work for physicians and they will work for you too.

1) Understand and celebrate your accomplishments.
So often we are the last to acknowledge ourselves for reaching goals and milestones. Let's take a few minutes now to list all your 2013 achievements and the things you learned along the way and give yourself a big pat on the back.

2) Get really clear on what you want in the year ahead.
So often we live our lives trying to avoid the things we don't want. Many times when I ask physicians what they want in their life... it is the first time they have ever contemplated that question. The only way to get what you want in life is to be clear on what that is and move in that direction. Now is a great time to get clear on what you want in your 2014.

3) Write it all down.
The act of putting pen to paper is the first step in moving from imagination to reality. I admit I am old school here and I know writing your goals down makes a difference in you achieving them.

- Grab a pen and some paper or a journal to write on,
- Print out these questions,

And let's get started.

POWER TIP #1:
To increase the fun and power of this process I encourage you to do this with other people... as a group. Take the steps in this process with your spouse/significant other, with your children, with your whole family, with your friends and business partners. You will be surprised at the things you learn and the relationships you deepen by sharing accomplishments and dreams with the important people in your life.

POWER TIP #2:
Have some fun here. Use your favorite pen. Brew a cup of your favorite tea. Put some Christmas music or other favorite on lightly in the background. Sit in your favorite chair. Use several different colored pens. Draw in the margins. Make a vision board out of your answers. Pretend you are in 3rd grade arts and crafts. Setting goals is more powerful when you use all of your senses in the process.

How this 2014 Breakthrough Process works

Write your answers to the questions below in as much detail as possible. If you need more paper, grab some blank sheets and keep writing until you feel done for now. In some cases there is an action step that is needed to complete the step. Often this is to schedule a meeting or activity. In this case I have put a checkbox that looks like this.

[] Scheduled?

I encourage you to schedule these completion activities as part of this process... get them on your calendar now. Then pat yourself on the back and make sure you keep that appointment with yourself.

Do not throw these worksheets away. They are your personal strategic plan for 2014. When you are done with the Breakthrough Process, keep these sheets in a folder and put it in a place where you won't forget.

PART #1: LOOKING BACK

2013 Acknowledgements

What do you feel are your top 5 achievements in 2013?

Have you celebrated them adequately?
If not, how will you celebrate and/or acknowledge your accomplishments and when will do you complete your celebration.
(Power Tip: Do this before the end of January)

[] Scheduled?

2013 Gratitude

What are three things you are grateful for that occurred in 2013?

Who are three people you are grateful for here at the end of 2013?

Have you thanked them personally?
If no, when and how are you going to do that.
(Power Tip: Think about thanking them in a special way... both of you will love it)

[] Scheduled?

2013 Learnings

What are the three biggest lessons you learned in 2013?
(What do you know now that you did not when the year began?)

What does knowing this make possible for you now... that was impossible before?

How will you remember these lessons -- so you do not have to learn them again?

2013 Incompletions

What are three important things you started in 2013 that are incomplete and/or unfinished?

What is the next step in your #1 incompletion and when will you complete it ?

[] Scheduled?

PART #2: LOOKING FORWARD

My 2014 Strategic Plan

2014 -- My Three Top Goals Are

Write down your top three goals for the coming year... in no particular order and in any and all areas of your life.

The next step towards my most important goal is...

[] Scheduled?

2014 -- Three People to Get Closer To Are

Who are the people who are (or could be) most important in your life... the ones with whom you would like to have a closer relationship?

Pick one and schedule a meeting, date or alone time with them in the next two weeks.
Get it on your calendar now and consider scheduling a regular time for you two to get together throughout the next three months.

[]Scheduled?

2014 -- Three New Skills to Learn

What three new skills would make all the difference once you learn them?

What is the first step to learning the #1 most important skill on your list?

[]Scheduled?

2014 -- Three Fabulous Adventures Would Be

What are three things you have dreamed about doing for a while (they are on your "bucket list") that would be fabulous things to experience this year?

POWER TIP:
Pick one. Put it on your calendar, pay for it and make the reservations.

Reality Check: When you have the tickets bought and reservations made, the odds are nearly 100 percent that you will look back this time next year and smile because you did it. It's time for an adventure, don't you think?

[] Scheduled?

2014 -- Three Problems to Resolve

What are three nagging issues/problems you are ready to resolve now?

The first step in resolving the biggest problem at the moment is?

[] Scheduled?

2014 -- Three Things I will Let Go Of Are

What are three things you have worked on or been bothered by for a long time... that you can simply let go of now?

How will you remember to let go when you find yourself holding on?

Power Tip:
Notice where items on this list are the same ones on the previous one... problems where the solution is letting go.

Next Step: Celebrate like crazy

Pat yourself on the back, pump your fist and say "YES," do your happy dance and say "WOO HOO". You did it. You completed the 2014 Breakthrough Process. Your foundation, and goals are set for the year. They are not rigid or stifling... these are the goals that make the most sense to you at this moment.

Two more things have happened as well without you noticing...

1) You writing these down on paper has completed the first step to making them real and created a file you can use to focus and motivate you throughout the year.

2) You have just tripled the chance that you will reach any one of these goals... a massive increase in the probability of your success.

Final Step:

Put this completed worksheet in a folder. Review your notes here at least once a month.
Each time you take out that folder and do your monthly review... work on completing the next step on at least one of the items on the 2014 lists. Pick one and do the following...

- What is the next step to be taken?
- When will you do that?
- Put it on your schedule.
- Complete the action.
- Come back to the lists, cross it off and celebrate.

POWER TIP:
Schedule your monthly planning sessions for the year now. Put them in your calendar.

I sincerely hope this 2014 Breakthrough Process supports you in making 2014 your best year yet.

Keep breathing, have a great rest of this day and a 2014 that is your best year yet.

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT and tell us your big goal for 2014 so we can support you.

Dike Drummond, M.D., is a family physician, executive coach and creator of the Burnout Prevention Matrix Report with over 117 ways doctors and healthcare organizations can work together to prevent physician burnout. He provides stress management, burnout prevention and leadership development services to physicians through his website, TheHappyMD.com.