As a child I recall sitting at the student desk in my room and writing down goals – not the average New Year’s Resolutions type of goal, but goals that were specific, measurable and relevant in my young life. Perhaps it was the grade point average or the new baton routine I wanted to master. I would normally write 10 things that I wanted to be, do, or have for the upcoming year and pin them on the bulletin board where I would see them daily.
Little did I know then that my annual ritual would actually become the backbone to my success. Today, as a Certified Executive Success Coach, I continue to walk my talk with writing SMART Goals, taking action that is aligned with my goals, and producing results that provide me with a feeling of fulfillment
about my life.
It was in 1999 that I first discovered the Best Year Yet program. I was so impressed with the simplicity and thoroughness that I quickly joined the organization as a Partner and began using the Best Year Yet process with my clients. When I saw the results my clients were producing that first year, I wondered how this could be done with partnerships. So I approached my husband and asked him to help me to experiment by creating a Couples Best Year Yet Plan. The rest is history.
Here we are turning the calendar to 2011, excited about our sacred marital retreat between Christmas and New Year’s where we set aside a few hours to create not only our individual Best Year Yet plans, but also our Couple’s Plan. It’s become an annual event and has grown beyond the borders of our marriage. Several of our “couple friends” and even one of our adult sons and his wife are following in our footsteps by going on marital retreats and creating a Best Year Yet Plan for their marriages.
Over the years we’ve demonstrated to family and friends the power of the process, how it pulls us together with a common vision, and how it helps us protect our time together. I love it when a family member comes to visit after the first of the year and the first thing they do is beeline it for the refrigerator where we post our plan. They are curious to see what our intentions are for the New Year – and more importantly, where they fit in to our plans.
I recall one year when we created a specific goal to provide memorable life enriching experiences for our nieces, nephews and grandchildren. We wondered what plans would unfold for the kids involved. As it turned out, we took two to Hawaii for their first BIG travel trip, we took another to the snow and taught them to snow ski, and yet another came along on a camping trip with us where we hiked and explored the wilderness with them.
Another year one of our Guidelines upset the applecart with some of our friends. The guideline was: Decline the Should’s. To us that meant we wanted to be more conscientious of protecting our time and doing only that what we truly wanted to do. We stuck to it, even though we had been challenged several times, and the result we produced for our marriage was a new level of joint ownership – dare I even suggest, a new level of freedom and joy.
Which brings me to the point: what motivates us to do this year after year? Quite simply because our marital vows include a commitment to grow together. We’ve adopted the motto ~
“Until Growth Do Us Part”
We’ve defined our growth as new levels of joy. So as we begin each year, sitting by the fire, sipping our favorite beverage, and embarking on the creation of another Best Year Yet plan for our “coupledom”, we remind ourselves that the destination is JOY. Then we define what a Best Year Yet filled with new levels of joy would look like to us. And the egg timer is set, the dialogue begins and before we know it, another new Best Year Yet Plan is ready for the refrigerator door — and the beautiful crystal picture frame that sits on our bathroom vanity.
Whether you are in a life partnership, a single parent, a young adult or perhaps business partners, give it a try. Be purposeful and deliberate with the creation of your plan and then throughout the year help each other apply your three Guidelines. We’ve found that discipline to be the key to producing our New Paradigm, which is descriptive of our new level of joy in our relationship in the coming year.
Wishing you and yours a very happy and purposeful New Year!
Dory Willer, PCC, SPHR, founder of Beacon Quest Coaching in the greater San Francisco Bay Area of California, is a certified executive and organizational success coach. Willer was named the 2003 International Coach of the Year, and has been coaching companies like Yahoo!, Wells Fargo Bank, Northrop Grumman and Boards of Directors since 1999 produce thriving results year-after-year with their Best Year Yet plans. www.BeaconQuest.com