Tomorrow Starts Today

By Rob DuBois, CEO, Impact Actual

It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him.

J.R.R. Tolkien in The Hobbit, on the importance of effective planning

2022 begins today (December 1st, 2021). Why? Because no job is done well except when well prepared.

By looking back (Review) and looking ahead (Preview), you can be the master of your time.

The race is won in training before the day. The battle is won in training before the day.

Tomorrow is won by getting your head right, tonight. Look back on today, then look ahead.

And as mentioned above—next year is done best by getting ready in the month preceding it.

My approach is to set aside a small chunk, in advance, of whatever increment you’re facing.

Break it up

Plan purposefully, proceed powerfully (Rob and the Lions of Impact Actual conduct annual planning)

When looking at the next day, review and plan in the evening before; for the next week, review and plan in the day before; for the next month, review and plan in the week before; and so on.

It goes on through the increments for quarters and years and, if you’re ambitious, decades.

Pro tip: I prefer to plan by “Seasons,” rather than quarters, for two reasons:

Firstly, because I revere the perfect rhythm of nature. We don’t teach “Life Is Flow” at Impact Actual for nothing! Go with the flow and you’ll get more of the right things done.

Secondly, because December through February represent Winter, and December should serve as your launch ramp for the next year. You get a twofer in this one, glorious season. Plan something meaningful and joyful to do as you enter each of the three-month chunks of the year, even if you don’t experience much seasonal change in your region. Looking ahead this way stimulates creation in your Mind, and anticipation in your Heart—great tools for staying young and vital.

Let’s examine the review-and-preview concept in concrete terms:

Day – spend a few minutes during your evening before the next day
Week – spend an hour or so to prepare for each week upcoming
Month – spend an hour or two to prepare for each month upcoming
Season – spend a couple hours on your Season upcoming (fun to do with the family, too)
Year – spend a day or so on your year upcoming (if you have a partner, you’d better involve them!)

Thoughts on this approach

I recently read The Gap and the Gain, by Dan Sullivan and Benjamin Hardy. It teaches an excellent concept on the importance of focusing our attention on how far we’ve come, rather than how far we have yet to go. I recommend you read it, too.

One of the most valuable lessons I took from Gap and Gain is the concept of accounting for at least three “wins” each evening, and setting the intention to accomplish three more specific ones the next day. I’ve begun doing this when I sit to jot down a few notes in my official Impact Actual leather journal before bed.

Journaling is a powerful tool for life: order your thoughts today, and have a record of your evolution over years

The practice puts positive vibes in your mind as you drift to sleep, boosting confidence about your accomplishments and an eagerness to get more of the same upon waking. And there’s one little twist I’d recommend to you: be sure to include a “Learning” win in your daily review. There are wins from actually winning, and there is winning through the process of “learning” from your mistakes. So in every attempt every day, you’re always either winning, or learning…and if you’re learning, you’re winning!

Including a Learn Win in your evening summary is a good way to keep healthy in your humility while accepting credit for continuous improvement.

Finally, your extra pro tip

Do you know the original meaning of “two bits?” As in, “Shave and a hair cut, two bits!”

A coin in antiquity was stamped with four bisecting creases, which allowed it to be broken in half, in quarters, or all the way down to eighths in a clever design to make smaller denominations. As with our Washington denomination today, one fourth of the coin was called a “quarter”–but if it were broken into the smallest segments, those one-eighth coin pieces were each called a “bit.”

Thus, two bits equals one quarter. (Hard to believe you could get a shave and a haircut for 25 cents.)

The same can be true for your view of your year ahead. A quarter (or a Season, if you’re like me) is a great way to break up the annual calendar for more detailed planning purposes. But if you also think of each of those quarters as having two “Bits,” it gives you eight segments in your year—twice as many chunks to work with.

One quarter of the year is 13 weeks, which provides a nice neat dozen weeks to work with during each Season, plus a bonus week to give yourself a little down time and/or prep and planning time. Now think about that Bit…each half a Season is six weeks, or 42 days…and 42 days is right on the sweet spot for what most experts say is required for a person to learn a new habit.

Would you like to be able to apply yourself to eight new habits every year, as a part of your ordinary routine? Replacing smoking with fresh crunchy vegetables could be one, and studying a new language another. How about picking up an instrument you’ve always wanted to learn, or getting into a running group for beginners?

And if you tackled all those cool habits in the remaking of yourself, you’d still have four more to enjoy.

The possibilities are endless, when you adopt the High Impact Mindset that as long as we stay open to growth, there is no upper limit on our potential; we can stay on the up slope for life.

Remember that tomorrow starts today. And let me know how you like applying these ideas for your own planning for the day, week, month, bit, season, and year ahead!

New Year’s Day is right around the corner. And baby, are we ready for a fresh start! Might as well do it right.

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Rob DuBois