Final article in this series alert!
I can't believe how many of you have written back, telling me how you're making this approach your own. So cool!
If you need to catch up...
WEEK ONE walked through my annual review process at a high level. It's the most important thing I do each year.
WEEK TWO showed you my actual example of the look back part of my review, including the grades I gave myself across all life domains in 2022.
WEEK THREE showed you how I convert goals to leading indicator metrics to keep myself on track. Accountability!
I've never been this transparent, and you're telling me that's making this valuable—the specifics.
So I'm doubling down.
This final article pulls everything together.
A weekly process that keeps me on track, balancing sometimes insane short-term demands with the "help my year from now self" deep work.
I'll show you my personal version of the weekly Most Important Things (MIT) process we teach in our classes.
You can get a GREAT and free overview of the foundational MIT process in our BD Habits course here.
The short version:
Weekly thinking is cemented in your mind. You know what a Monday morning feels like or a Friday afternoon.
Weekly thinking is how we think about our work and personal life. Along with daily thinking, it's the only time frame we don't need a calendar reminder. We just know.
And weekly thinking is the perfect interval to pair priorities with tactical "I can do that" next steps.
Weekly thinking is way more powerful than anything else: fortnightly, monthly, quarterly, etc.
We can leverage this weekly pattern with weekly planning.
I'll go through my own personal version below. It's built off the simpler weekly MIT process in the BD Habits course above.
Just checked: I've now done this 370 weeks in a row. Habit!
Here are the specifics. This is my format I fill out every Friday afternoon, or Saturday morning at the latest.
What fun stuff happened this week?
This is a great way to start.
I used to focus this section on what got done in the prior week, but I changed the frame to fun last summer when I was on sabbatical.
I realized fun is more important than done.
I just start writing–sometimes I think of accomplishments, sometimes funny moments. I write it for me, so anything goes, typos and all.
What were the most fun moments?
This new section seems the same as above, but the word moment changes everything for me.
The first question makes me think in broad themes, like seeing Becky improve from her bought with pneumonia.
This section makes me think of actual moments, like last week when I was on stage with my friend Mike.
I thought I was clever by naming something he said a "Magic Mike Move," not knowing about the movie reference! Everyone started laughing like crazy, I got embarrassed, and the jokes started flying.
It was SO funny!
I can forget little moments like those so it's so powerful to relive them at the end of the week.
I'm so future-focused that this little look back always makes me happy.
Isn't life just a series of moments?
I capture the best ones in this section.
#1 weekly learning
Here I jot down a quick learning for the week.
Really random things pop into my mind and they're always helpful. They point out that I'm growing, improving, and getting better.
Always valuable. Every time.
Then, this pair of questions:
I feel gratitude because...
and then right after that
I feel optimistic because...
I answer these separately but think of them as a pair because the idea came to me when I read THIS research.
In the study, they found that longer-term happiness is strongly correlated to people expressing two things: gratitude and optimism.
This is probably the shortest section of my weekly ritual. I usually jot down a sentence or two for each, and they always make me feel better.
Pro tip: I like answering them in the order I have above. Somehow the gratitude makes me think backward and the optimism forward.
I love the pairing.
Sometimes I'll think of something really deep, like how proud I am of my daughters.
Other times I'm simply grateful the sun is shining on me and that I'm warm.
It's crazy what comes to mind.
It's always something good.
Y/N Did I put fitness before work this week?
This one's new this year.
You saw this metric in last week's article. Asking this simple question each week makes fitness top of mind.
Coming up with metrics to track your progress is important.
(Aside: Did you notice on YouTube that we republished my fan-favorite interview with US Women's National Team star Kelley O'Hara? She and I go DEEP talking about self-improvement metrics in this interview HERE. She's amazing! So many insights...)
That harshest "number" is a binomial ranking: 1 or 0, on or off, Yes or No.
There's no middle ground. You do or don't do.
So since I let myself down last year on fitness, I'm choosing a Y/N metric for physical fitness this year.
So this little question prompts thoughts:
Did I get out of bed last Wednesday and go for that run when I planned it? Or did I chicken out and stay under the warm covers?
Did I stay on top of recovery like foam rolling at night? Or did I keep sitting in my cushy Eames lounge chair watching 1923 with Becky?
I did or didn't do. And have to fill in that Y or N at the end of each week. It's powerful.
Note: I'm not looking to put fitness #1 every week. I actually think it's important to have weeks where it's lackadaisical, doing whatever I want to recover mentally and physically.
But to get in the athletic shape I want, I need "fitness first" most weeks.
I'm shooting to answer Yes 40 weeks this year. I think I'll be 3 for 4 in January. That's a good start.
If I do that, I'll make a big impact on my traveling ultimate frisbee team.
This section will be the same all year.
This is where I pull in the 2023 behavior change "remembers" I need to make happen.
This section is a big deal.
I don't type anything in it. I just skim it.
Most behavior change is episodic–do this when that happens.
You can't plug it into your calendar.
So skimming my personal behavior changes once a week makes them top of mind. I have a higher chance of remembering to do them.
I can tell you now that I'll have countless Fridays this year where I read this section and think "Oh man! I forgot to do ___ when ___ happened! Dang it!"
That little mistake will make it more likely I'll get it right next time.
I might get off track one week, but never two.
You'll see in my real example below that I also pull in the rest of my annual plan. This is to remember where I'm headed and what I need to prioritize.
A quick 30 second skim is all it takes–reorienting me to be my best me.
OK, it's time to type again.
Here I type my 3 Most Important Things (MITs) for the next week. These are tasks or a "mini projects" I can accomplish in a week.
Remember your MITs should spell BIG:
This future-focused task takes me a minute or two and gets me focused on having the best next week possible.
Cool: After a few weeks, your subconscious mind will have these ready to go as soon as you his this section. It's uncanny.
This is a prompt for me to head over to my Life Dashboard 2.0 spreadsheet and enter the weekly data I showed you in the last article.
I estimate these metrics, so it only takes 3 minutes or so. Fast!
I do this last because it's the most fun, and I get a little reward for doing this every week.
I drag the photos that made me happy into my digital journal entry.
They might be big, like the one below from my speech with my friend Mike. Magic Mike Moment!
We. Had. So. Much. Fun!
Or they might be small, like our dog looking at our cat looking at our other cat sitting in an Amazon box. Ha! Real life.
That photo makes me smile so much. A little bunnellity of life.
And it's not every week you have a daughter in the Congo, so I had to add some of her amazing photos.
The photos are great ending–they make me feel the week even more than my words do.
To go deeper, scroll below my footer to see my actual entry from last week. More specifics!
The whole process takes maybe 30 minutes.
Half an hour to make sure my next 168 are awesome.
Pro Tip on why it's so fast: I designed a template in the app Day One with the section headers and the latter copied sections so that I can populate an entry in a tap or two. Bam! You could use a template in another app just as easily: Evernote, OneNote, or Apple Note. Whatever works. The key is streamlining the structure so you spend time thinking and doing it!
I type and don't worry about grammar.
I estimate the numbers and don't worry about 6-minute accuracy.
I plan next week's MITs, and don't worry if they're perfectly worded.
The beauty of the process isn't striving for perfection, it's striving for progress.
Feeling the fun and progress of the prior week.
Setting the stage for the same in the next.
When I finish each week, I often think of the phrase my friend Marshall taught me.
I'm parked downhill.
ps. Here's my actual entry from last week. I didn't edit it other than to take out organizational names.
It probably has typos, but hey, it's just for me, so I won't notice them.
My Actual 2023 Week 3 Review
What fun stuff happened this week?
Becky’s slowly improving...some days are tougher, but overall weekly progress. Wow. What an ordeal pneumonia has been.
Josie hanging out Saturday morning before she taught her kids horse riding lessons was super nice.
Gabby’s in the Congo!! So fun to see her daily photos and videos of bonobos as she sets up the research study for Duke.
Great workout week...192 HIT minutes. First week this year I hit my goal of 180+. Back on track.
Great deep work progress on book 2...Table Of Contents coming together.
SUPER fun virtual session with the ___ team at ___. Major unlocks for them--can’t wait to circle back with Hal and Michael and see how they implement. Will really impact their amazing client.
Best yet....amazing to present with Mike at ___’s Canada Learning Day. THIS is the reason I started BIG. To make a huge impact and work alongside the most impressive friends and experts in their space. Love Cliff. Was fun to work again with Ashley. Still on a high as I write this Saturday morning!!
What were the Most fun moments?
Gabby finding the dog in the Congo that looks exactly like Pixie did! Congolese Pixie! So funny, lumps and all.
When I said something about Magic Mike Moves in front of 100+ people while presenting with Mike and didn’t know what it meant. Awkwardly hilarious.
Giving Mike 60 seconds to think through a good closing story and he CRUSHED it!! What a closer!!!
Hearing how much fun Ryan and Anna had working with ___. Love them and that firm!!
Seeing Bradley and the broader team continuing to have a huge impact with ___. I’m just thrilled we can help them retain and gain more of customers. Still dancing from Vegas the sessions.
Lots of BD progress this week at top their law firms ___, ___, ___, and ___. And top consulting firms ___ and ___. Lots of great opps to impact people coming up. Gonna be another fun year. Oh and almost forgot about global agency ___! Sort of jealous Anna and Gina will lead working with them.
#1 Weekly learning
Realized EVERY single person reaching out to us mentions our thought leadership: book, podcast or newsletter. Our ripples in the pond impact more than we ever realize. So cool to hear each person’s favs. Need to accelerate YouTube and create an amazing Book 2.
I Feel Gratitude Because...
Thankful we started all the thought leadership years ago. I always beat myself up we haven’t started something sooner (YouTube)...need to feel the gratitude for what we’ve done bc it’s working.
I Feel Optimistic Because...
Becky’s getting better! I’m doing what I’m meant to do
Y/N Did I put fitness before work this week?
*** Note to reader: remember this long section is copied in and the same every week. I just skim from here to the MIT section below. ***
Mantras / Remember List
2023 Themes = Fun. Fitness. Family.
Never do delivery alone.
• Show our clients how great our team is.
• Have a strong person lead everything sizable.
• Work this into everything we do including the things I’ve been doing alone.
Run all logistical things through Darla and the team.
• I can only be the crazy creator and impactful expert I want to be with her and the team overseeing all implementation.
Scale with the team:
• Have a go-to person for random helpful calls so I can find book writing time.
• Have Alexa and Maggie take most initial calls. Need to come up with a If This Then That algorithm so it’s not ad-hoc. Create this with the team.
Put fitness first.
• Ask myself each week (Y/N question in my tracker): Did I put fitness first? This means getting out of the warm bed and working out first.
• Do workouts first thing in the morning when possible to make sure it happens. Something always comes up when I don’t put fitness first.
Keep investing in BIG’s future.
• Our team has already saved me tremendous time letting me focus on higher value work.
• This HAS to take a step further in 2023 to let me invest in Book 2 and our other future endeavors.
SUMMARY: NEXT UP FOR EACH CATEGORY
Spiritual: Just keep focusing on ThinkingOS and reminding myself what’s important.
Physical: Put fitness first or I’ll break myself.
Relationships: Keep investing!
Rest and Recreation: Keep to the system I found worked in 2022. That means I have to say No to some things to stay focused on what’s important.
Vocation/BIG: Work with our amazing team so I can do what I’m great at and avoid what I stink at.
Economics: Keep investing and stay the course. Let’s have another great year at BIG. Mr. Market will turn from voting machine to weighing machine soon enough before I need it to.
Despite crappy headwinds, this has been a great year in so many ways.
• Our family is stronger than ever.
• BIG is stronger than ever.
• Our momentum is stronger than ever.
• And...hopefully...Becky’s cancer, COVID and pneumonia battle is nearly behind us...helping our health get stronger.
It’s time to get STRONGER in 2023.
This Week's MITs
• Continue podcast invitee blitz...want to get ahead. Love bookings so far
• Finish TOC for Book 2
• Finish new module map that includes GrowBIG Leader Training. Get back to Jose.
Enter Weekly Data in Tracker. DONE
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