What are the 4 things you will do, MUST do, to make this coming year a wild success? Stop negotiating with your non-negotiables.
Well, here we are again, closing out another year together. Preparing to flip that calendar over and begin anew. This time of year always carries with it a great significance for me and my clients. For all of us, right?
Friends, we succeeded at 365 more days of living. We experienced. We learned. We earned new data points. And now we reflect… What went right. What went wrong. And everything between.
In my corner of the world, many are counting down the days until Christmas and gearing up for 2022. With any luck, it will be a time for contemplation, gratitude, and good Scotch.
As we lean into this season, let’s resolve to make sure that gratitude, not obligation, is what is riding shotgun. There’s no better time to eliminate the “should”, and instead, embrace the value of your sanity. The “shoulds” are the expectations of others. The compulsory appearance at the holiday party, the greeting cards for everyone in your address book, your Aunt Sarah. If the holidays have you sinking under the weight of the stressful expectations of others – it is time to recalibrate.
Busy? That’s okay. Miserable? That’s not okay.
But once we are finished with all the wrapping and unwrapping, the hustle and bustle, we find ourselves in the home stretch. You know the one. That magical stretch of time that falls between Christmas and New Years Eve, the space where we can take our foot off the gas and reflect on what has happened and what is to come.
If the idea of the home stretch is but a distant memory, a wistful reminiscence of guilt-free school breaks and the ambiguity of snow days, I’m going to help you make peace and get reacquainted with that stretch.
Let’s start by establishing your 4 Rocks.
I’ve deemed this the “4 Rocks” based off the Big Rocks, aka Jar of Life, story popularized by Stephen Covey, (though there is a little Gino Wickman Traction in there as well).
I’m sure you are familiar with this famous lesson. If not, I highly recommend you do a quick search and read the full story for yourself. It’s powerful. But, in the spirit of saving time, I will gladly synopsize.
In the lesson, Covey draws a comparison of life and/or time to a physical object, in this case a glass jar. Within that jar are rocks of various sizes—rocks that represent priorities. The larger the rock, the larger the priority. To really prosper, it is imperative that we maintain space for our greatest priorities. Therefore, the largest rocks must be the first to be placed in the jar. Indiscriminately filling the space with pebbles or sand (items of less importance, distractions, and miscellany) leads to less room for the big stuff and thusly a multitude of pitfalls. Fill that jar with rocks largest to smallest and success will follow.
Oftentimes, the most important things in life don’t yell the loudest, so we must learn to listen for them.
So, this brings me to the 4 Rocks. Your 4 Rocks. They are more than just goal setting or New Years Resolutions.
What are the 4 things you will do, MUST do, to make this coming year a wild success?
What 4 items, ambitions, objectives, etc. are vital to check off your list? Those that, after ticking those boxes and reflecting at the end of next year, you’ll think—”man, that was an amazing year!”
Because 2022 requires a recalibration – and you are going to make it that way.
These 4 rocks, they can be personal, professional, or a mix of both. When choosing, think long and hard about what will give you the greatest boost, the greatest long-term joy. Perhaps one for physical and mental health? Another for a professional purpose, and the other two? This is your opportunity to choose your own adventure, you are only limited by your imagination.
Recently, a dear friend decided that one of his 4 rocks would be to take his son on a once-in-a-lifetime birthday trip, just the two of them. They boarded a plane, rented a BMW, and filled their trip with deep sea fishing and deeper conversation. In prioritizing this “rock”, this special time with his child, he cast off the shackles of the shoulda, coulda, wouldas, and created a core memory for both he and his son neither are soon to forget.
Another friend (and client), caught in a painful cycle of revolving debt, chose living debt-free as one of his rocks. The feelings of helplessness and persistent worry that those credit cards presented caused him years of struggle and actual pain. He is chipping away at that rock as we speak.
There are no hard and fast rock “rules”. Not every rock has a requisite sentimentality, nor do they need to be born from plight or struggle. They can be fun and whimsical, too. Another client is making travel one of her rocks. Her ambition is to visit as many countries as she is years old. Only a few countries off her goal, she’s packing her bags for the next flight and aiming for four new stamps on her passport.
These rocks could be a bucket list item, or just something that really matters to you.
So let’s talk about the method for creating them.
First, start with clarity.
What do you want out of your life? Out of your business?
Let’s lean out and focus three years in the future. Have a clear vision of your life. Not the How, but the What. What does three years from now look like to you?
Now, we reverse engineer success.
Pick the 4 biggest rocks, those we want to hold dear this year.
Three crucial components for dialing in your 4 rocks:
Don’t make it ambiguous, make it clear. Actionable. In my friend’s example — “I will take my son on a once in a life time trip for his birthday.”
Other examples: I will run the rock and roll marathon this year – or – I will have date night every Thursday.
The clearer you are, the more actionable it is.
#2 Have a Big Juicy Why
Why does it even matter? So often, someone will tell me their goal. Whatever it is. And then I ask – Why? Why does that even matter? And the question often stumps them. Know you Why.
It helps us get to the goal behind the goal.
My friend’s goal may have been to take his son on a cool trip. But why? Why does it matter? Reasons could include: 1. He’s becoming a teenager, with many outside influences, 2. I want to create a space where we can have life changing conversations, in a remarkable setting.
That’s why Why matters. The memories created on that trip will impact both of them for the rest of their lives. (If you are wondering, I get the term “core memories” from an amazing children’s movie called Inside out, if you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend watching it – regardless of your age)
#3 Manage Your Message
Language matters. Don’t say “I’d like to run a marathon this year”. Oh, well, I’d like to do a lot of things, but that doesn’t mean I will actually go out there and hustle for it. This is an exercise in sacrifice, y’all. These rocks are not insignificant things. They are Your 4 rocks. They deserve some R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
Do not “hope to.” Do not “like to.” Hope is not a strategy, and likes are for Facebook.
What are you going to do? What is a Must?
What matters so much to you, that you’ll move mountains to have it?
Stop negotiating with your non-negotiables.
As our friend Andy Dufresne tells us—you better get busy living or get busy dying.
Let’s get busy living.
We are so close to Christmas, you are primed and ready to pick your 4 rocks.
These are what will go into your jar first, your main priorities. The pebbles and sand go around these rocks. These are important, make them count. Choose wisely, and then post them where you will see them. Next year will come faster than you think.
There will be joy, there will be heartache, there will certainly be distractions—but whatever you do, don’t lose sight of your 4 rocks.
And don’t wait until New Years Eve. Know them now and take some small action toward them.
Sign up for a race that is 10 months away. Commit with a friend that you are going to do something you’ve been putting off.
If you would like to share what your 4 rocks are with me, I’d love to hear it. Send me a message here, or you can find me @theaprilgarcia on every social platform. Rock on!
Is it work? Yeah, its work—but you are already doing work. Make it meaningful work.