2017: Déjà vu or something new?

There are a lot of great newsletters and blog posts out there about making a powerful start to 2017.  Most contain information that will make a difference in setting you up well for the new year. These include creating personal as well as business goals, looking at each goal and inquiring into what’s important to you about that goal, breaking goals down into milestones and actions etc.  I’ve done several of those things and will do a few more.  Yet I’m left with a sense of déjà vu; like I’ve seen this one before.

So I challenged myself with a new question: What’s going to be different in 2017?

My answer to that question is that I will elevate my ability to focus on what I choose to focus on.  For me there are two equally important parts to that statement.  The first is that I am going to choose what to focus on.  With everything that comes at us these days, and all of the habits we have, that is a challenge unto itself.  The second part is actually focusing on what I have chosen to focus on, which is difficult for pretty much the same reasons choosing is difficult.

Okay, that could sound like another goal for the year.  There’s another and possibly more important question – what am I actually going to do about it?  And not just one time.  What am I going to do as a daily practice?

Here’s what I am going to start with:

  • At the end of every day I will choose what I will focus on the next day
    • BTW – This is different than merely scheduling my day. What I mean by this is creating a vision for what I will put my attention on, a vision of the outcome of the time I will spend.
    • As an example I have a meeting with a client to discuss an important project. Rather than just thinking of the agenda items, I envision the client leaving the meeting being clear about and empowered regarding:
      • The overall direction
      • What’s most important to move now
      • Who she needs to engage and the conversations she will have to engage them
      • The actions she will take and by when
    • Doing this creative exercise leaves me more prepared and more looking forward to the meeting than I would be by only considering the agenda items
  • When I inevitably find myself multitasking (yes, it is a habit/addiction!), I will choose what I will not do at that time and focus on only one thing.

To support me in this, I am scheduling time every day to deal with the preparation for the next day.  And, I will schedule a monthly check-in for three months to assess my progress. Why? Research shows that it takes an average of 66 days to have something become a habit and it can take up to 90 days or more. When I assess my progress I will either continue in this practice or, if it has truly become a habit, take on a new practice.

So that’s what I’m going to do. How about you? What’s going to be different for you in 2017? There’s every chance that increasing your ability to focus will not be at the top of your list.  What is?  I invite you to identify an ability that if you increased would make a difference for you.  It doesn’t have to be the “right” one or the “best” one, just one you say will make a difference for you.

Then, determine what you will actually do about it. Take on at least one new daily practice for the first three months of the year.  What practice?  Again, doesn’t have to be the “right” or “best” one, simply a practice you see that will make a difference for you.  And, do the practice daily.  Support yourself by putting time in your calendar for three months, including some times to assess progress.

And, to really boost your power going into the new year, share with others what you are taking on – people you work with, family, and you can share with the community in the comments section!

Regardless of what you take on, best wishes for an expanded world of accomplishment, satisfaction and joy in 2017.


Nick Starritt

Hi Doug,

Happy new year to you! Read your blog and wanted to say that, as always, it made me think. Sage advice and a nice distinction between what you focus upon and how you then focus upon those things. Hope that I can apply this insight this year. I often find that I need to schedule time for unexpected things that ‘pop up’ during the average day. These things (what Donald Rumsfeld memorably called the ‘unknown unknowns’!) can often sink my plans to focus.
Anyway – hope that 2017 brings you want you choose! Would love to catch up if you’re over here anytime?

Anne Macdonald

Thank you Doug for this, very Inspiring. Have started Meditation Practice in the Last few Years and have found the Messages for Life very much along the same lines. Focus! Focus! Focus! Multi Tasking which I was a Master at not necessarily the way to best out of Life. Focus on the here and now and Clarity of Focus key. Your suggestion is a very good way for those in Business to change the age old practice of Time Management.


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