Relationships are a critical part of success, both professional and personal.
Last week, in part 1 of our yearly planning series, we looked back at the past year, taking time to celebrate our successes and be honest about our challenges. Today, we’re going to focus on the present, and on our current relationships, in particular.
Sometimes when we’re thinking about our big dreams and plans, we can lose sight of the things that are most important in our life — the here and now. This second installment is going to help you focus in on the people you cherish the most, which is a crucial part of the process to set you up for success in 2020.
Here are links to the other installments of the series:
Take time to reflect
Once you have your worksheet downloaded, find a quiet time and place to sit down and fill it out. The more thought you give to this process, the more you will get out of it.
We’re going to be thinking about the people in your life who mean the most to you, so it might be helpful to take some time to reflect on the experiences you’ve had and the people you’ve shared them with this past year.
Take out your planner and flip back through the pages, paying special attention to notes about time spent with friends and family. Scroll back through the photos on your phone (or even on your Instagram or Facebook) and savor the beautiful memories you’ve made this year.
Now that you have your relationships in focus, let’s dive into the worksheet.
Identifying important people and relationships
On the first page, you’re going to identify the five most important and influential people in your life.
Friends and family are great additions, but they don’t have to be the only ones.
Is there a colleague or a mentor at work who has impacted you? Add their name.
Is there someone you admire or aspire to be like? Add their name.
You don’t even have to be close with someone to add them to your list — as long as they are someone who is influential in your life in some way, they belong on your worksheet.
Once you’ve identified the relationships and people you want to focus on for this exercise, we’re going to dive a little deeper by answering some very specific questions about each person:
- Why are they on your list?
- How long have you known them?
- What have they been an example of to you?
- What have you learned from them?
- What about them are you grateful for?
- What one word describes them?
- What is your favorite memory with them?
- If there is one thing you would want them to know or wish you could do for them, what is it?
These questions are important to answer thoughtfully and truthfully as they will illuminate some important truths about your relationships — maybe even some that you’ve never verbalized.
Once you’ve completed this week’s worksheet, you might consider reaching out to some of the people on your list and sharing some of these thoughts with them. Letting someone know how much they mean to you is often under-practiced but always appreciated.
How will you improve in 2020?
On the second page of the worksheet, we’ll dive into even more thought-provoking questions, starting with: What can you do immediately and in the year head to improve your relationships?
Fill the empty space with any changes, improvements, or adjustments you can make to help grow or strengthen your relationships.
If you’re struggling for ideas, here are some thoughts:
- Set up a regular time to call/Skype/FaceTime with someone you want to do a better job of keeping in touch with
- Send snail mail to loved ones
- Ask your partner, friends, and family: How can I love you better?
- Really listen when others talk
- Make notes in your planner of birthdays, anniversaries, and special days so you’ll remember to get in touch
What relationships will you nurture — and how?
On the third page, the questions continue: Are there any new or stale relationships you hope to nurture?
Maybe there’s a new team member at work you could mentor, take to lunch, or include in team happy hours. Or a new in-law in your family who could use some kind words at your next family gathering. Or maybe there’s someone in your life whom you really enjoy, but you have fallen out of touch with.
Consider this your opportunity to start 2020 on the right foot with those people. Clearly list your plan of action for how you will nurture each relationship in the coming year. Don’t let yourself get away with just naming names — be *specific*.
Experiences to look forward to
Finally, we’ll start looking to the year ahead to get you ready for week 3 with one final question: What are you looking forward to in the year ahead, and with whom?
End your planning session on a high note by listing some of the things already on the horizon for 2020 that you’re excited to experience with another person. Once you’ve listed them all, take the opportunity to spread the joy and send them a text or an email and remind *them* how excited you are!
Now that you’ve spent some time reflecting on your relationships, read back over your answers. Are there any trends or themes that jump out? Is there anyone on your list whom you could reach out to right now and tell them how much they mean to you?
Relationships are a crucial part of your happiness, so allow this exercise to carry you into 2020 ready to make the most out of the year and the people you surround yourself with.
Stay tuned for next week’s installment (all about your yearly theme), and the rest of the series, which will release every week through the end of the year! We can’t wait to see how this process goes for you!(And don’t forget to order your 2020 Ink+Volt Planner now to make sure next year is your best one yet!)