Regular readers will have noticed an absence of posts here in the last few weeks. I took a long Christmas break to spend time away from work, my writing and anything else that didn’t include my wife and kids.

Now I’m back and thinking about the year ahead of me.

How do you set up your year ahead? I take time in early January for 2 activities. Both are key in helping me make the right choices and grow in areas I either need to grow or hadn’t considered before.

Number 1. Making choices easier

Claire Diaz Ortiz introduced me to the concept of having a word of the year in a blog post she wrote a few years back, I’ve had one ever since. My word of the year for 2018 was ‘change’. The idea of a word for the year is to have a word that represents the year in front of you. Last year I moved myself and my family to Denmark, went car free (using public transport and bicycle only), and introduced daily fasting into my eating routine. It’s fair to say that when choices arrived, my word of the year guided me significantly.

My word for the year 2019 is ‘Possible’. I want the year ahead to be one where things I think may not be possible are possible. It’s a positive word that sets a frame of mind, one focused on making things happen and getting things done. If you’ve not experimented with a word to represent your year ahead, why not try now? There’s no better time than early January, when our minds are focused on starting afresh. If you’re new to this you could use this site for inspiration: myoneword.org

Number 2. Choose influencers

Another activity I do in early January is choose 5 people to influence and change my thinking. What’s slightly unusual here is I choose 5 people I don’t have in person access too. The famous quote ‘You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with’ attributed to Jim Rohn is the inspiration for this. I started doing it a few years ago after finding I was unconsciously making huge positive changes to my life, based on regularly listening to content from Tim Ferriss.

This year I’ve chosen:

  1. Tim Ferriss – Tim features in my influencer list every year. The Tim Ferriss show, his books, blog posts and tweets are life changing.
  2. Will Smith – Pretty much my reason to have an Instagram account. I’ve followed him on and off over the years, as the way he lives his life is incredibly inclusive and positive, this year I’m following him more closely.
  3. Satya Nadella – Quite possibly the best CEO in history, Satya changed Microsoft’s culture for the better while I worked there, and through his actions and writing, he continues to inspire my thinking around how I work and the impact I can have.
  4. Jason Fried – One of the founders of Basecamp. Ever since hearing his conversation with Tim Ferriss I’ve been studying how Basecamp does business with its customers as well as its employees. He’s written some fantastic books, blog posts and been in some incredible interviews. I’m looking forward to changing how I view business and work through learning from Jason this year.
  5. Adam Buxton – Ever since watching the Adam and Joe show I’ve been enjoying Adam’s particular style of humour and wit. A few years back he started a podcast where he has conversations with people like Louis Theroux, Simon Pegg and Charlie Brooker (creator of Black Mirror). The Adam Buxton podcast is funny, interesting and brings joy to anyone who listens.

If you want to take control and steer your year in the direction you want, try these 2 activities and feel the positive change happen around you. It works for me, I hope it works for you also.