01/07/2013 03:12 pm ET Updated Mar 09, 2013

3 Steps to Your Best Year Yet in 2013

It's frightening how the years fly by, each one faster than the last. Although Tim and I have carefully planned each of the past 34 years, there's a moment each year when time seems to be racing by too quickly for me to accomplish what I want in this lifetime.

Now, here comes 2013. What changes do I want to make? How can I choose among all the possibilities? Which ones matter most? Of course, I know the answers will come when I answer the 10 Best Year Yet questions, but still the doubts come. What I needed to yank me out of the quagmire came in a holiday card from Barry Hirschfeld and his wife Arlene:

"This year let's make our mark by setting an example of passionate living
and giving, paving the way for those less fortunate
to be blessed with that to which we've become so accustomed."

Right! It's not about me. Good reminder. Altruism is the only context for making each year my best year yet, even through some goals might at first seem selfish:

Weigh 140 pounds, do cardio four times a week and core twice a week. The healthier I am, the longer I might be around to help others.

Increase our net worth by 2 percent. The greater our wealth, the greater our ability to give.

Meditate daily. The more my mind is still, the greater my compassion for and kindness toward others.

Here are the three steps to get started planning your best year yet.

1. Pick up your magic wand.

Before you begin to think seriously about exactly what you want to accomplish in the coming year, allow yourself to dream. What would you like in 2013? What would make it your personal best year yet? Here are some samples from my responses:

  • Be freer to do what I choose each day and far less tied to my computer.
  • Our family reunion is more fun than ever.
  • My writing becomes a more effortless and joyful process.

2. Review what's been happening in the past year.

Think back over the past year and remind yourself of the successes you've had and the good things that happened to you. Doing so is a natural boost to your confidence, just what the doctor ordered before you start to plan your next year. Write down your answers to the question, "What did I accomplish?" Here are a few of my responses:

  • Had a number of perfect new coaching clients arrive spontaneously.
  • Successfully started a remarkable book club.
  • Learned to express more compassion and loving kindness to others.

Next, consider your failures. Write down your answers to the question, "What were my biggest disappointments?" Here are a few of my responses:

  • Not spending enough time at the athletic club to justify the expense.
  • Failed to devote myself to my meditation practice as much as I'd hoped.
  • Not entertaining our friends as much as in previous years.

3. Learn your lessons.

There's nothing you can do about what happened in the past year other than learn from it. Look through your list of accomplishments and failures and ask yourself, "What did I learn?" and write down what occurs to you. Here's one that's really important to me:

  • Don't get in a hurry and just wing it!

Once you've written all that occur to you, ask yourself which of your lessons would make the most difference to you if you followed them in 2013 -- choose the top three. Then, turn each one into a pithy instruction or piece of advice to follow in the next 12 months. My guideline for the lesson above is:

  • Take time to do my best.

Over the next several weeks, I'll be passing on more information about having your best year yet, but if you want to move more quickly to make your plan, there are a number of ways you can do so:

1. Read "Your Best Year Yet!" in either paperback or e-book format -- both include a workbook. To purchase, see the images below this article.

2. Download and read "Three Hours to Change Your Life" -- a free excerpt from my book.

3. Get the free web app for making your 2013 plan.

4. Find a Best Year Yet Coach or tell your own coach about this process.

I'm passionate about helping others to have their best year yet, so ask for help if you need it. I'd love to hear about your plans for 2013. Either leave a comment below or email me at

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