17 Ways To Design the Year You Love

17 Ways To Design the Year You Love

Just like everyone else in the world, MADE sat down for our end of the year recap to chat about the roller coaster that was 2016.  According to the Smithsonian.com, it looks like 2016 was miserable for many. Although we can’t predict what the year may bring, we can actively make personal strides to becoming better people and ultimately reach our annual goals while adding some light to the world around us.


Here at MADE, we desire to live a year of goal-setting, wealth-building, dream-catching, soul-loving and healthy-living. We created 17 tips that we thought we’d share as we all design a better year for ourselves in 2017.

1. Form a formal daily meditation and prayer regimen.

Find time to quiet your mind before your day begins to gain the clarity needed to make sound decisions. Throwing up a prayer here and there helps, but there is nothing better than intentionally planning to forge a connection with yourself and a higher power on a consistent basis. It’s imperative to align your vision / goals from a spiritual perspective to reach your goals.  Start with five minutes each morning. Put a reminder on your mirror or phone alarm to make sure you make this a habit.


2. Visualize your best life for 2017.

Start with the question: “What do I want to achieve personally and professionally?” It sounds pretty simple but sometimes it’s hard to pinpoint an answer. Contemplate all the important areas, relationships, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and even fun and enjoyment. How does your life where each area is fulfilled? Collect photos that represent these images and put them in your life. Computer backgrounds, phone screensavers and more are great reminders for you to be the greatest.


3. Create a 2016 recap.


It may be hard to take a look back especially on an “off year”, but a true assessment is required to improve upon the last year. In your mini annual review, write down at least five wins and five improvement areas from last year. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Once you’ve taken a snapshot of the ups and downs of 2016, generate five key lessons you learned from your wins and your losses. With this in mind, you can craft a meaningful vision statement that accounts for improvement.


4. Craft a 2017 personal vision statement.


Instead of creating a New Year resolution which may be a short-lived, try crafting an overarching vision for the year. It defines what success and excellence look like to you. It expresses your vision for where you want to be in the future and it reflects your values, goals and purpose and how you want to operate.  Revisit your vision statement several times throughout the year to stay on track.


5. Assign annual S.M.A.R.T goals to every aspect of your life.

Categorize the important areas in your life such as spiritual connection, relationships, career and success, health and quality of life, finances, personal growth, fun and enjoyment. To maximize your fulfillment in each area, assign tangible goals to them. More specifically, we are fond of assigning S.M.A.R.T. goals which are:


S – Specific

M – Measurable

A – Actionable

R – Realistic

T – Timely


Separately, identify the “Areas of Opportunity” for 2017 which may derive from the “losses” section of last year’s recap. These may be incomplete tasks, missed opportunities, unfinished business endeavors from 2016 that still can be accomplished in 2017. Attach 2017 S.M.A.R.T. goals to these opportunities as well.  


6. Plan in 3 month milestones.


Now it’s time to implement your goals in bite-sized milestones. To avoid feeling overwhelmed, tackle your goals in shorter increments that are manageable. Try to plan 6 months ahead in 3 month milestones. In January, start planning for July-September (Q3 ‘17). If you are late, don’t worry there’s still time to catch up.  Write down the tasks (big and small) required to achieve them and break down the task by week. Put these tasks into your weekly planner and check them off as you go.


7. Create an environment that fosters success.


Your environment is an integral part of being productive. Organize your study or work space in a way that is conducive for creativity and idea generation.


8. Cultivate existing relationships daily.


Make it a point to disconnect from work and reconnect to the real world. Authentic human interaction can change your attitude (for the good or the bad) and may even give you a boost energy to keep going. Dedicating time to tap into connections with friends and associates will be beneficial to your personal growth and development.

In terms of professional networking, many times opportunities for business development are all around you and may be lying in your immediate circle. Set time aside each day to connect to individuals in your network to exchange ideas, create collaborations and discover ways to support business associates in their endeavors.


9. Join a collective of like-minded individuals.


To accomplish many of your milestones, resources, guidance and additional support will be necessary. Exchange ideas with a mastermind group of leaders with similar goals. Conferences, summits and expos are excellent ways to meet professionals on the spot. Industry organizations and  membership clubs are other forums to connect to individuals with similar interests and goals.


10. Practice a self improvement activity every day.


There are several activities that can improve your personal skill-set each day. Spend even just 20 minutes writing out your goals and affirmations. Speak in front of the mirror for 10 minutes per day to practice vocalizing your thoughts on various subject manners. Stay informed by reading top headlines from the news each morning. Read at least one book (or audiobook) per month in subjects you are interested in.


11. Prime yourself for creativity.


Spending time writing every day helps you become a better communicator, improves your ability to recall important information, and it also enhances your creativity. Free write in a journal and benefit from a greater self-understanding.


12. Conduct quarterly clean-ups.


We are so busy hustling to reach our goals, we tend forget to check in on the important to-dos that aren’t as fun. When we neglect doing the necessary housekeeping tasks, we leave room for what results in negative consequences. Implement systems to automate some of those pesky tasks that if left undone may accumulate late fees, tickets, service interruptions or larger concerns like health issues. To avoid any unnecessary issues, set up automatic payments for monthly bills or schedule recurring appointments on your calendar.


13. Plan dual-purpose trips.


Plans to go global? If you are looking to travel abroad while being productive, design a trip that incorporates business and pleasure. Select destinations that can help develop your career or may involve cultivating your passion. Schedule introductory meetings to help you get to the next level with your business endeavor while taking a personal vacay. You can even write-off your business travel for tax purposes.


14. Plan weekly time for self-care.


Similar to a meeting, create recurring calendar invites for weekly self-care and relaxation. This may involve a long bubble bath, steam room or massage. No matter what life brings when we take the time to refresh and renew ourselves, we work, look and feel better.


15. Schedule time for family time and fun activities.


Don’t wait for the holidays to reconnect with your extended family. Set aside family FaceTime (if you are away from each other) or a monthly conference call with the entire family. Sprinkle family functions around the year to capture important moments that are often missed due to the hustle and bustle of the world.

16. Feed your body and soul daily.


Feeding our bodies the right types of foods can prove to do more that fill us up. Research has found that our brains operate optimally when we consume a very specific amount of glucose (25 grams) in a form that is released slowly over time. Foods that fall into this category and have positive effects on your body and mind include:

  • Fish
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Avocado
  • Blueberries
  • Raw carrots
  • Dark chocolate


Add these to your diet on a consistent basis while drinking at least 9-13 cups of water per day. Be sure to exercise regularly to feel your best.


17. Enjoy your life in the moment.


No matter how you spend your day, remember to live in the moment and enjoy it. The way to love your life is by living it in.


MADE by Kris D. Williams

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