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September 26, 2018

Try out the spreadsheet

The year 2013 is almost done and even if you try not to, it is impossible not to take stock.  Another year… another inch – either you grow sideways or things head south, but things move around. 

Perhaps you are one of those committed and passionate people who lives life by a detailed spreadsheet of ‘things to do this year’ and at this point you are happy to sit and tick those boxes.  If, like most of us, you aren’t that meticulous in your planning, you are realising that some stuff was a ‘priority’ in January 2013 and because you let it slip, it is still a ‘priority’ now as we begin 2014.

I put the word priority in quotes because sometimes what we term a ‘priority’ only serves to make us feel bad about ourselves. A few years ago, my friend Shan Bartley sat me down and together we created this spreadsheet called ‘Valentine’s Year’.  Through a process that took a few hours, we created columns called ‘work’, ‘family’, ‘investments’ etc and filled in the grand plan for the year in each sector e.g under work I had ‘start my publication’.  We had rows showing months of the year and as we talked, we filled in what I should have done within each month so that I could achieve my goals by the end of the year.

It was exhilarating and terrifying in equal measure.  It is one thing to dream by yourself in the dark, and another to not only tell someone, but actually put your dream down on paper and create a plan of action.  Putting things down forces you to see success points but it also has your failures down on paper.

I stuck with that spreadsheet and do you know what? It changed my whole life. I realised that I had some dreams like ‘buy a jeep wrangler’ and how it manifested, is that each time I saw one, I would desire it.  in order to buy one, I had to make sure I not only had the money but that this vehicle was truly for me; so I took one on a test drive and I was cured of my desire.  It looked nice, but it is just not the car for me and I let go of that dream.  Other dreams like owning a publication came into high focus. 

That spreadsheet forced me to do the research, have the necessary conversations and get the necessary experience to run a magazine. It took a few years, but Valentine’s Weekly is finally out.
Your so-called dreams can torture you or inspire you in equal measure.  Saying you want to lose weight each time you try on a pencil skirt or eat a piece of cake is interfering with joy in your life.  Saying you want to lose weight, getting a trainer and coming up with a plan on how you can enjoy one piece of cake per week can inspire you and have you feeling like you are in control.

Try out the spreadsheet, and happy New Year.  I hope all your dreams come true in 2014.

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