“Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.”
A book review of “Your Best Year Yet ” author Jinny S. Ditzler
Ten years ago was the first time I read the book Your Best Year Yet and answered the questions, which helped to create my Best Year Yet plan. Yesterday was my 10th New Year’s Day celebration of this book. It’s pages are decorated in colorful highlighters and notes from over the years.
This book/workbook takes the reader through 10 important questions that if answered with thoughtful consideration will provide you with your own Best Year Yet action plan.
I admit there can be a dark side to goal setting. Goals can be exhausting, I’ve felt my life on hold as I moved mountains to make a goal happen. Often I have wavered between setting goals and just having loose guidelines. I understand why some people no longer like to set goals and find goal setting to be anything from useless to heart breaking. I’ve been there too. I’ve set goals and hit the target with glee and other times with exhaustion. I’ve set goals and missed them as I felt my heart-break and felt I had let myself down.
At the start of a new year, many people make resolutions and others have quit the practice of making them. I know what it’s like to make the same promise to myself over and over again only to discover that I can’t go though the self-torment anymore.
So why on earth do I shout out to the world, READ THIS BOOK and write down your answers to her questions. Why on earth would I still recommend a book that invites us to get clear on the dreaded word “goals?”
Beyond busyness – Beyond failure
The author understands what it’s like to have given up on goals and understands how they can hurt us when we “fail.” She writes with compassion, understanding and wisdom. There is nothing empty about her words.
She quotes Sogyal Rinpoche:
If we look into our lives we will see clearly how many unimportant tasks, so-called “responsibilities” accumulate to fill them up. One master compares them to “house keeping in a dream” We tell ourselves we want to spend more time on the important things in life, but there never is any time.
Jinny, the author acknowledges, “by the time we are finished doing everything that has to be done, we’re too tired to think of anything else. Gradually we become cynical about things like New Year’s resolutions and lifetime goals… We forget how to live our lives remembering what we do well and therefore stop building confidence in ourselves and our ability to succeed… The longer we go on putting up with these painful situations and not reclaiming our dreams, the more we diminish… and then lose our ability to make the changes that mean the most to us.
..When we don’t keep the promises we make to ourselves, each time little by little we become weaker and believe in ourselves a bit less. And the life we want for ourselves drifts out of reach.” More fear, more doubt more complacency sets in.
Depending on your reading speed, it can take a few hours to read and work through her book answering the ten questions with care and thought. It’s well worth the time!
The book revolves around these 10 questions, but don’t be fooled into just looking at the questions. When you read her words, the chapter around each question, she guides you into a deeper contemplation of your own truth.
- What did I Accomplish?
- What Were My Biggest Disappointments? “Mistakes are the portals of discovery” James Joyce
- What Did I Learn?
- How Do I Limit Myself and How Can I Stop?
- What Are My Personal Values?
- What Roles Do I Play In My Life?
- Which Role Is My Major Focus for the Next Year?
- What Are My Goals For Each Role?
- What Are My Top 10 Goals for the Next Year?
- How Can I Make Sure I Achieve My Top Ten Goals?
They may seem like simple easy questions at first. I often surprise myself when I scan the questions and jot down my immediate response, and then compare it to what I wrote when I spend a day going deeply through the book answering the questions as they arise and really taking in her words. My responses are different, my goals are different, there is a real difference in just scanning the questions vs. really going through the book and examining the question as it arises.
Each of her ten questions is an entire chapter. The book is only about 221 pages. I find it best to take a day like New Year’s Day, or a Sunday and just melt into it. If you can clear all distractions for a few hours and take this personal journey, you will have a fresh and strong clarity and focus about this year. I recommend writing your responses and your notes in a special journal. At the end, you will have Your best Year Yet Plan and it looks like this:
Top ten Goals
You’ll see how each one supports the other. The Author recommends having your plan on a piece of paper on a wall or in a cabinet at home where you’ll see it every day. As she says, even ten seconds a day of looking at your plan will help you maintain your focus.
The brilliant part of what she does is she helps you make attainable goals and ones that mean the most to you individually. She acknowledges that many of us have so many areas of interest and priorities and it can be hard to just have a single focus, or just ten top goals. This is why I strongly recommend working through the book so you will have your own customized plan.
Not everyone likes to write things down in a journal, G has his in his phone. Whatever works for you as long as you get clear and keep it in front of you. Over the years, I’ve recommended this book to several friends even the ones that said they didn’t need it since they are already pretty focused. The neat thing is…. they’ve all noticed a difference between what they thought their goals would be and the plan they actually have after going through the book.
People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. The people who get on in this world are the people who look for the circumstance they want, and, if they can’t find them, make them
~ George Bernard Shaw
It’s a wonderful gift you can give yourself, taking the time to go through this for yourself.
I hope you do, and I hope you’ll share your experience with me.