Give Yourself Your Best Year Yet

by Aileen

Woman in green dancing simple kaizen steps

“Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.”
~ Goethe

A book review of Your Best Year Yet author Jinny S. Ditzler

Your Best Year Yet Book Cover image

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.

  1. What did I Accomplish?
  2. What Were My Biggest Disappointments? “Mistakes are the portals of discovery” James Joyce
  3. What Did I Learn?
  4. How Do I Limit Myself and How Can I Stop?
  5. What Are My Personal Values?
  6. What Roles Do I Play In My Life?
  7. Which Role Is My Major Focus for the Next Year?
  8. What Are My Goals For Each Role?
  9. What Are My Top 10 Goals for the Next Year?
  10. 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:


New paradigm

Major Focus

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.

Remember you are Powerful Beyond Belief. We owe it to ourselves to become the person we are capable of being. We owe it to ourselves to live the life we desire.

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Sandra Lee January 2, 2011

This book sounds terrific. I appreciate how you describe the clarity it brings and encourage us to give it a go. This is one idea I really liked:

“…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 idea of “10 goals” is overwhelming to me, but I’m sure the ideas here could be applied in a more essential way. I’m choosing One Powerful Word as a theme for the new year and my goals will be like sun rays shooting forth from my perfect word.
Sandra Lee´s last [type] ..Is a Lack of Forgiveness Holding You Back


Aileen January 3, 2011

Sandra, I love the imagery of your goals like the sun rays shooting forth from your theme of One Powerful Word. I wish you a brilliantly wonderful 2011


Angela Artemis January 2, 2011

Hi Aileen,
This book sounds really good! Thanks so much for bringing it to our attention here.

I’m going to go to Amazon and have a look. You’ve done an amazing job of explaining the premise and some of the major points the author makes. It sounds like the author really makes you think about your life rather than just write down resolutions based on what we think we should do.

I’m studying up for my big exam on Wednesday afternoon. After that I’ll have my life back and time to focus on what I’d like my life to be like in 2011.
Angela Artemis´s last [type] ..Catch &amp Release- The Creativity- Intuition &amp Meditation Expedition


Aileen January 3, 2011

Wednesday’s almost here… and you’ll be free :) Your new year starts in just a few days. I know you will do fantastic on the exam!


David January 3, 2011

I loved this quote: “Things which mat­ter most must never be at the mercy of things which mat­ter least.”

Our lives have become so busy with day to day work that we no longer have the time to fit in the things that are most important to us. Instead we feel that time is against us. Another year has passed by and have we really done what we wanted to do- “things which matter most”.

For me, 2011 is going to be a year to change. Time to stop and breathe, reflect on what matters most to me, and then simplify from there.

Thanks Aileen for your great article.


Aileen January 4, 2011

Hi David, thanks for stopping by :) It sounds like 2011 is going to be a GREAT year for you. You’ve got a wonderful focus for it , “2011 is going to be a year to change. Time to stop and breathe, reflect on what mat­ters most to me, and then sim­plify from there.”


Jane Rochelle January 3, 2011

This sounds like a great book. Coming from you, I trust that it’s worthwhile. I’ll put it on my long list … and will buy it, and read it, when the time is exactly right. It takes me a long time to get through books. Thank you for sharing with us. Perhaps in 10 years, I’ll be able to write a post about what an important part of my life it has become.
Jane Rochelle´s last [type] ..The One Thing That&8217s Constant &8230 Change


Aileen January 4, 2011

Hi Jane, :) I definitely understand having a long list of must read books. Wishing you the very best of all things possible for 2011 :)


annelouise January 4, 2011

I just read your post and now I am inspired to pick up the book that has been staring me in the face for a week. I also have made this book a yearly tradition and just as your post suggests, this year I haven’t been inspired to make goals – seemed too exhausting. Your quote inspired me. “Remember you are Powerful Beyond Belief. We owe it to our selves to become the person we are capable of being. We owe it to our­selves to live the life we desire.” I believe in my heart we are all put on this earth for a special reason, the questions in this book help us focus and become unstuck. It helps outline what I need to accomplish in my life for my highest benefit and in turn the world. Thank you for your words, your inspiration, and an amazing post! I am ready to read this book now!!! Have a blessed 2011!


Aileen January 4, 2011

“I believe in my heart we are all put on this earth for a spe­cial rea­son” :) I couldn’t agree more!! May you find goals that inspire you, waken you and rejuvenate you this year … and may you accomplish them with ease and joy. Wishing you an amazing year!!!


Living the Balanced Life January 5, 2011

Sounds like an awesome book! Thanks for outlining it for us here. It goes right along with an 8 week Journey to Balance I am taking on my blog 8 week Journey to Balance. I may need to get my own copy!
Living the Balanced Life´s last [type] ..Get your priorities straight


Farnoosh January 6, 2011

Inspirational as always Aileen! You know I read a quote which said, when you re-read a book, you do not see more in the book than you did before. You see more in YOURSELF than you did before…and this may be what you are experiencing here. :)
I can’t promise I will read the book but I love seeing your excitement about it…and please do believe me when I tell you I have all my goals written down!! :)
Farnoosh´s last [type] ..Crushing Travel Barriers- Your Quick Thoughts


Aileen January 11, 2011

Thank you for sharing that quote – I see how it can be quite true “when you re-read a book, you do not see more in the book than you did before. You see more in YOURSELF than you did before…”

I know you are crystal clear on your goals!! You are a brilliant accomplisher :)


Tisha January 7, 2011

This is great Aileen!
Sounds like a great book – it will have to go on “my list”. I say that in quotes because I have a love/hate relationship with goals, for many of the reasons you mention at the start of your post. They can be exhausting!
That being said, I still keep a vision board/goal sheet above my desk to keep me focused and that I can see everyday when I sit down to get to work.
I also LOVE the quote in Farnoosh’s comment above – it’s SO true. I always get more insight about my particular situation the second time around!
Tisha´s last [type] ..The Quickest and Least Stressful Way to Stay Productive- Give Up


Aileen January 11, 2011

I love vision boards – I haven’t done a recent one in a little while – but they are fantastic!!!


Jasmine January 21, 2011

What a great subject. I am always striving for 1% in business and home life. It is a goal I can keep no matter how busy or stressed, yet is is a goal I can surpass easily. To maintain is good, but to thrive on growth, learning and love is life. I will definitely check into this book. Thanks!
Jasmine´s last [type] ..Customized Gift Baskets


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