Happy New Year! 13 Thought-Starters for 2013

Real Simple - JanuaryIt’s easy to fall into the trap of focusing on a routine set of goals — things we should do, or need to do, or that we kinda-sorta-maybe-I-guess would like to do — and then it’s no surprise that we end up letting them fall by the wayside because they feel dull and uninspiring. So today I'm sharing a twist for your 2013 list -- 13 thought-starters to help you brainstorm interesting ideas to kick-off the new year. There's even a template in tow.

Before we jump in, the picture on the right is an exciting side-note on my end: I'm quoted on page 84 in the January issue of Real Simple magazine! Click the photo to learn how to talk to your manager about a promotion this year.

13 Thought-Starters for 2013

Grab a notebook or this handy template and fire away!

  1. What is one new skill that you would like to develop this year? Either on your own, or by taking a class. Speaking of which, check out this awesome new site I found that shows you classes in your area: Classtivity
  2. What is one hobby you want to practice? This can be a revival of an old hobby or favorite pastime (like writing or playing guitar) or a new one altogether (like taking an Italian class or learning how to use a new camera).
  3. Where is one exciting destination you would like to travel to in 2013?
  4. What is one creative project or idea you would like to undertake? Have fun with this! 
  5. What one career move would make the biggest impact on your overall happiness and success this year?
  6. What one money move would make the biggest impact on your overall financial picture this year? Per Jacquette's advice, this can be something you spend, save, invest or earn.
  7. Who is one person you would like to meet or reach out to this year? For example, either someone new (and maybe aspirational) or a re-kindling of an old friendship or relationship.
  8. What area of your physical space can you clean, purge or re-organize this year?
  9. What is one adventure you would like have in 2013? Choose something fun, risky, different, or otherwise soul-stirring! 
  10. What is one health or fitness milestone you would like to hit? This can be related to weight loss, but it certainly doesn't have to be. For example, maybe it's running a race, completing a 30-day challenge or nailing a difficult yoga pose. 
  11. What is one new system you can put in place, or an area of your life that you can streamline or organize this year? Check out this list of 90+ Tech Tools for some ideas, or sign-up for the LAC Newsletter to get access to the full Organized Like a Ninja toolkit. 
  12. What is one thing you would like to ask for help with this year? Big goals often take a village, and sometimes we get shy or afraid to ask for the help we need. What would you love to have some support around, even if you're not quite sure who to ask? 
  13. What is THE biggest, hairiest, most meaningful thing that you would like to happen this year? Don't hold back! Close your eyes and think of the ONE move that trumps all others -- that if this were the only thing you focused on this year, you'd call it a smashing success. 

Ways to bring this list to life

  1. First, answer these questions yourself using this snazzy template.
  2. Consider sharing your responses among a group of friends (or even just with one person) and setting up a monthly check-in for accountability.
  3. To reflect on this past year and gather even more ideas for the year ahead, sign-up for the free two-week Acorn Project course.
  4. For full-on accountability, coaching and support to help bring your biggest, scariest ideas to life, look no further than my 10-week Make Sh*t Happen course -- the biggest, baddest one yet officially opens for enrollment on Jan. 15!

And just for fun . . . here are my responses

  1. What is one new skill that you would like to develop this year? Cooking?! Crazier things have happened. Maybe I'll just start with 1-2 new "staple" recipes (for now) to add to my soup and chia seed surprise. I also want to continue pushing myself out of my comfort zone around teaching yoga -- my plan is to teach a handful of classes while I'm in Southeast Asia if I can make it happen. 
  2. What is one hobby you want to practice? It's not a hobby per se, since so much of my career is based on it, but I really want to be more discliplined about my writing. I just took Penelope Trunk's course How to Write About Your Life, and she compared it to going to the gym -- the important thing is that you just show up, even if it's only for 15 minutes a day. I know I have a TON of room for improvement in this area -- not just writing when I'm inspired, but actually making a disciplined practice around it, even if I never post half of what I come up with.
  3. Where is one exciting destination you would like to travel to in 2013? It would be a dream to get to Australia or New Zealand at some point, but I have no clue when -- first stop this year is Bali in a few short days :). I am also going to be a keynote speaker at the University of Calgary in March which I am really looking forward to!
  4. What is one creative project or idea you would like to undertake? As part of launching my new website, JennyBlake.me, I am going to create a new toolkit-type thing for people who sign-up for my new "behind the business" newsletter. I have no clue what it's going to be yet, but I'm excited to put together some of my best business systems, tools and suggestions -- just like I do in the Organized Like a Ninja Toolkit. 
  5. What one career move would make the biggest impact on your overall happiness and success this year? Not to be a broken record, but definitely launching my new website! Doing this will allow me to broaden the scope of what I talk about, get a little more personal, and it seems to make more sense to me to have my name is the big "umbrella" site, and Life After College specifically geared toward career and 20-somethings. To that end, I'm thrilled about the decision to bring on two new writers here at LAC. I can't wait for you to meet them!
  6. What one money move would make the biggest impact on your overall financial picture this year? Getting back to saving money!! For the last ~2 years that I've been on my own, I've been spending all of what I earn. It's an accomplishment that I haven't had to dip in to my savings since running my own business (I did one time but treated it as a loan and repaid myself), but now I'd like to set my sights on a long-term savings plan again. 
  7. Who is one person you would like to meet or reach out to this year? I would love to cross paths (in person) with Justine Musk this year -- she's one of my favorite writers, thinkers and overall badass women.
  8. What area of your physical space can you clean, purge or re-organize this year? My room at my mom's house back in CA -- it's been a storage closet for a while now, and I'm sure she'd like to put it to better use!
  9. What is one adventure you would like have in 2013? Living and working abroad for at least two months (starting in Bali this week) will definitely be the biggest travel adventure I've been on. It's a big test to see if I can truly run my business from anywhere -- not just in theory, but in practice. 
  10. What is one health or fitness milestone you would like to hit? I'm really interested in a yoga retreat that combines teaching assists, partner yoga and thai massage. I've got my eye on a few big impossible-seeming-but-who-knows-with-practice yoga challenges: a press-up handstand, straight-arm crow, and the splits. Finally, I'm looking forward to continuing with CrossFit when I get back to the states. Big thanks to The Man for getting me started with that in the first place six months ago! 
  11. What is one new system you can put in place, or an area of your life that you can streamline or organize? A better system for providing information about my courses -- what is available, how to sign-up, when I will be offering Make Sh*t Happen next, etc. 
  12. What is one thing you would like to ask for help with this year? Figuring out how I can best serve all of you here at LAC, and what new things I can create either at my new website. I would love your help -- just five minutes of your time -- for either of these two surveys: What would you like to see at Life After College? What would you like to see at JennyBlake.me
  13. What is THE biggest, hairiest, most meaningful thing that you would like to happen this year? Launching my new website is BY FAR the hairiest and scariest: what will I write about? Who will read it? How will I create a whole new set of content? How can I be even more "myself" and share more of my life, travel, and business adventures? How can I make Life After College more awesome than ever at the same time? There will be lots more updates to follow in February -- sign-up here to get my new "behind-the-business" updates in the meantime :) 

I'd love for you to share one or two of your own answers in the comments... Happy New Year everyone!!

This post originally appeared on Life After College. I have imported selected posts from 2013 to catch new readers up to speed. Is that you? If so, a) awesome! And b) check out the new here guided tour. For long-time readers, nothing new in this one!