I hope you managed to take some time off during the holidays to recharge and relax. With a brand new year ahead of us comes so many things to look forward to; birthday’s, celebrations, opportunities, risks milestones and achievements.
I had my fair share of these in 2016 and I’m sure you did too. For me, 2016 started with me making my way to Schiphol Airport (Amsterdam) at 6am on New Years day — only to arrive in New Zealand 30 hours later (and a day ahead).
This year I got to meet 2017 from my home in New Zealand with some of my closest friends and family around me. Since moving away from my New Zealand home moments like these are special and rare. I treasure them as some of my most precious memories. As I sit around the campfire I never want to forget this feeling of infinity — like life will go on forever and we’ll always be young, wild and free.
Over the past couple of days I’ve taken some time to reflect on what 2016 meant for me. As I started to uncover the things I’d done I realised it was a big year. While I don’t feel like I’ve ‘made my mark’ this year, I do feel like I’m getting closer.
Here’s some of my highlights from 2016:
- Spoke at 2 conferences
- Delivered 3 workshops
- Celebrated my five year anniversary with Owen
- Recorded 52 podcast episodes
- Wrote an article for a magazine (twice)
- Completed 4 client projects
- Launched femke.co.nz
- Interviewed 22 inspiring creatives
- Visited 12 countries (!?)
Here’s some of the things I’d dabbled in doing, but didn’t because I neglected them:
- Grow my mailing list
- Always have 1 client project on the go
- Publish an indie-series magazine
What a year without goals looks like
There’s not many things on my neglected list. But this is deceiving. While looking back on 2016 may look like I achieved a lot, it’s in fact quite the opposite.
At the start of 2016 I set myself zero goals. I dived into 2016 without taking a break to reflect and recharge. Three weeks in to the year I found myself in San Francisco for work, before flying to Prague and Denmark not too long after.
I didn’t give myself the opportunity to slow down and think about the year ahead. Not a single moment was spent reflecting on 2015 and evaluating my current projects and workload.
I assumed everything I was doing was worth it and continued racing around from one project (and country) to the other.
In 2016 I experienced burnout for the first time. I was so close to giving it all up. Life would be so much easier if I didn’t put all of this pressure on myself to create so much. Soon I began to question myself and my integrity: why am I doing this? Who even cares? Is this worth it?
Without any clear goals to keep me on track, I bounced around without any clear direction. It wasn’t until September that I took a moment to gain some clarity and plan out the rest of my year.
What’s your main focus for 2017?
In 2017 I want to achieve deep focus and prioritisation. I’ve long been a believer in less is more, yet realised that I’ve yet to practice this successfully in my projects. Instead I commit to more things. My to do lists expand to several pages long and I obsess over maintaining quantity-consistency.
After reading The Essentialist by Greg McKeowen, I realised that the most powerful and productive thing I can do for myself is focus. However in order to achieve the level of focus I need to do great work, I need to do two things:
- Say No — To projects or opportunities that don’t align with my personal goals or that take time away from things important to me (see #2)
- Prioritise what’s important (including things in personal life) — Too many times have I chosen spending time with my laptop instead of those close to me.
Finding focus is my personal goal for 2017. I’d rather do one thing extremely well than ten things mediocre. I’ve realise this year that success to me isn’t about quantity — but quality.
My 2017 goals
In order to prepare for a focused 2017 I evaluated all of my current projects and priorities. I’m not in a rush to add more to my plate this year — but rather focus on doing the things I’m currently doing, well. To do so, I’ve broken my goals down into the following categories:
- Audience Building
From there I’ve set a goal, description/ideas and metric for each one. This gives me something specific to work towards and measure throughout the year.
Goal: Grow my newsletter list
Description: Improve the on boarding experience / create a lead magnet that’s helpful and attracts the right audience / engage more with my existing audience / encourage organic sharing.
Metric: Grow my newsletter list to at least 2,000 subscribers
Goal: Create a helpful educational resource
Description: Share what I know and help others through teaching / could be in the form of an email or video course, ebook, toolkit etc
Metric: For it to be consumed at least 300 times
Goal: Be ahead of the game
Description: Create useful, relevant articles / have a sustainable buffer / continue publishing weekly
Metric: Always be at least 2 weeks ahead in articles
Goal: Earn revenue from things other than freelancing or service opportunities
Description: Could be an ebook, course, webinars, products, podcasting, coaching, membership, community building
Metric: Earn at least €5,000 by December 2017
Goal: Improve my public speaking
Description: To prepare for future workshops and meetups / will be beneficial if make a course in future / helps me learn to articulate myself better / builds confidence
Metric: Speak at at least one conference
Goal: Dedicate and prioritise time to my personal health & wellbeing
Description: Through yoga / open to other forms of exercise and spiritual wellbeing
Metric: At least four health & wellbeing sessions per month
I truly believe that 2017 will be the year of focus for me. While I may not achieve all of the above, the ambition I’ve poured into these goals is enough to drive me forward with passion and enthusiasm.
What are you hoping to achieve this year?