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A new year has rung itself in, ready or not!


Considering it is a choice to be ready or not, I choose to be ready for it.


I am writing this entry flying back from my annual goal setting retreat.


For the past 5 years, I steal 3 to 4 days after New Years and fly to an out-of-the-country beach destination. The retreat gets me ready spiritually, intellectually, emotionally, and physically for the year ahead.


Technically, my annual goal setting retreat starts prior to “wheels up” with some pre-work. The two weeks surrounding Christmas and New Years are peppered with quiet moments reflecting upon the previous year.


Overall, how did I do on my journey this past year? Where did I succeed and why? Where did I fail and why? What needs to change? What needs to stay? What needs to go? And of course, for what am I grateful?


A few days prior to my departure, I turn my attention to ensuring that I board my flight with a clear head. I wrap up any loose ends – personal errands, Christmas thank you notes, confirm my clients are taken care of for the days ahead, and that my team is equipped. My pack list is easy: a bathing suit, comfy lounging clothes, workout attire, my 2 “Required Reading” books (more on those below), my journal, a visor, sunblock, and passport. That’s about it. My out of office is turned on for my email and my phone is turned off.


Then it’s wheels up.


Once at 30,000 feet, I dive right in and turn my attention immediately to my two “Required Reading” books. The first one helps me focus on my “what” for the year. The second one gets me focused on the “how”. I can start on the “What” and “How” because I already have my “why”, but that is a blog post for another time…


I pull out “Required Reading” #1: One Word That Will Change Your Life, Britton, Page & Gordon

This book guides me to one word that I need to stay laser focused to have my best year ahead. The word must encompass my whole life – as a CEO, an Aunt, a friend, a daughter, a sister, a mentor, a person. This small book’s three core questions are transformational …if you are honest with yourself.


Truth be told, I actually start thinking about “my word” prior to this read. I don’t want to rush my word. I want to be sure about my word. I pray about it, think about it, and mull it over.


This year, I thought I had my word all buttoned up prior to take off. However, only 20 minutes into the book, I quickly realized that I was wrong.  My 2018 word was still out there for me to discover.


The necessity and power of taking my annual goal setting retreat was already validated (and producing ROI!) and I hadn’t even landed yet.

Without the retreat, I would have had the wrong word for 2018. My entire foundation for 2018 and all of my goals would have been wrong.


I finished the book, a short, 49 minute read, and wrote down a few new 2018 word options for me to reflect upon. I am reminded why I never skip a re-read of either book. They speak to me differently every time – and offer powerful insights that I need to remember… again …and again.


Next up, “Required Reading” #2:  The Compound Effect, Darren Hardy

I actually re-read this book every 6 months (January & July). This weekend was my 10th read.

The landing gear is always activated before I finish reading, but I get a solid 1/4 – 1/3 of the way through before touching down to sunshine.


Upon arriving to my hotel and getting settled, I finish reading book #2. I take notes along the way on what is speaking to me, because as I mentioned, it’s something different every time I read.


The next 24 to 48 hours is full of reflection, note taking, journaling, brainstorming, and initial goal identifications. This year, my process took me longer than expected. I realized that I still had some 2017 baggage. Those initial reflection questions looking backwards at 2017 kept coming up. I took some additional time to unpack those through solid workouts, walks on the beach, sleep, and fresh papaya – the things that make me feel invigorated and refreshed.


After I had truly closed 2017, I could get back to focusing ahead, on 2018.

The outputs at the end of day 3 are drafts of each of the following one page templates:


  • d’s 2018 goals
  • d’s Quarterly Rhythm Register
  • d’s Weekly Rhythm Register
  • Riverbend’s 2018 goals
  • Riverbend’s Quarterly Rhythm Register
  • Prepare to Roar’s 2018 Goals


I sleep on them for one more night and take another workout and/ or long walk. I make any final edits and then pop open the champagne while soaking in my final sunset.


My flight home is typically catching up on email from any days out of the office and calibrating myself mentally to return to the day-to-day upon emerging from customs.


Full-disclosure, next year I’m taking one more day!  My mind could have used 1 full day of just rest – even a well-practiced routine can always be tweaked and polished!


2018, I am ready for you.

Author Doreen Linneman

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