How to Design Your Best Year Yet

Take a moment to look back at all of your hard work over the past 12 months. What worked? What didn’t? And what can you change?

Written by Dallas Travers, CEC

As 2011 is now over, it’s time to clean up any unfinished business, clear the space for next year’s successes, and create the framework for your best year yet! I’ve provided 13 simple steps to help you organize your goals and make sure you cover all the bases.

This is my favorite year-end exercise. So, I’m really happy to share it with you.

Celebrate 2011

Before you head into the new year, take a moment to look back at all of your hard work over the past 12 months. What worked? What didn’t? And what can you change?

STEP ONE: Set the Tone

Make yourself comfortable. Play some music you love, grab some yummy food, light your favorite candle. With a notepad, pen, and this year’s calendar, begin your Year 2011 Reflection. 

STEP TWO: Toot Your Own Horn

Review 2011 and consider what you are most proud of in each of the following areas of your life:

Health & Fitness
Friends & Family
Industry Relationships
Craft & Creativity
Marketing Tools & Business
Personal Growth
Fun & Adventure

STEP THREE: Look for Themes

Identify 3 primary intentions or beliefs that guided you this year. Perhaps you might notice that certain values popped up consistently throughout your year. In other words… if 2011 had a theme, what was it?

STEP FOUR: Pinpoint Your Weak Spots

Now look back through the year and consider what didn’t work as well as you had hoped. With compassion, consider the unrealized expectations, unexpected circumstances or interruptions, challenges, upsets or losses, gifts given and gifts received.

STEP FIVE: Tie Up Loose Ends

Consider what, if anything, you feel incomplete about. What actions can you take to tie up any loose ends?

STEP SIX: Celebrate

Finally, create a year-end ritual. How can you celebrate the challenges you moved through and successes you’ve enjoyed? How can you make a renewed commitment to yourself for the coming year?

Create 2012!

Now that you know where you’ve been, it’s time to map out where you’ll go.

STEP SEVEN: Set Your Sights

What are you looking forward to in 2012? What 1 to 3 specific goals would you like to accomplish by the end of next year?

STEP EIGHT: Brainstorm the Obstacles

What changes do you anticipate or hope for in the next year? How would you like to create these changes in your life? Who might be able to help you succeed at these changes?

STEP NINE: Gather Your Tools

What life and career goals or intentions do you have for 2012? What are you building on or recommitting to from 2011? What’s new? What resources will you bring from 2011 to 2012? What resources will you cultivate?

STEP TEN: Build Relationships

Who do you wish to build stronger relationships with? Who would you like to attract into your life? How will your personal and professional relationships blossom in 2012? Make a list of at least 10 people you wish to build stronger relationships with. You may already know who they are. You may not.

STEP ELEVEN: Let Go of Bad Habits

What principle or action are you going to give up in 2012, so that you can experience a fuller life? For example: I give up being late. I will be early or on time. I have more than enough time to take care of myself and all that is important and meaningful to me.

STEP TWELVE: Visualize Success

How do you want to experience 2012 – what color, taste, texture, smell, sound does it have? If 2012 had a theme song, what would it be? What images come to mind when you picture the coming year?

STEP THIRTEEN: Have Fun with Your Future

With those images in mind, design a vision board to represent all that 2012 holds for you. Your vision board should be a physical representation of your career vision. They allow you to use your artistic skills and creativity and play with the physical picture of your future. They’re a lot of fun to make and they are an effective way to supplement your actions with internal focus.

Stay tuned for the next edition of The Actor’s Advocate Blog, where I’ll show you step-by-step how to create a successful vision board.


Respected as one of the entertainment industry’s leading experts, Dallas Travers teaches actors the career and life skills often left out of traditional training programs. Her groundbreaking book, The Tao of Show Business, has won over five awards including first prizes at The Hollywood Book Festival and the London Festival along with the National Indie Excellence Award. She has helped thousands of actors to increase their auditions, produce their own projects, secure representation and book roles in film and television.


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