Episode 88: In With The New Year (A 2023 Review & 2024 Planning Session)

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | In With The New Year (A 2023 Review & 2024 Planning Session)

It’s a New Year, we’re back at it after a break, and today, I’m walking you through an evaluation of 2023 and setting you up for achieving your goals in 2024. You might think it’s too late to set your intentions and figure out a plan for 2024. However, now is the perfect time to kick your year into action.

Meaningfully evaluating and formulating an action plan gives you the biggest chance of achieving success over the coming 12 months. So, if you’re ready to tie a beautiful bow on last year, close out 2023, and really get your bearings in 2024, today’s episode is for you.

Tune in this week to review, reset, and focus your attention for the year ahead. You’ll learn how to perform a comprehensive evaluation of 2023, and I’m showing you how to decide what you want to leave behind, what you want to take with you, and how you want to do things differently in the coming year.

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The Obsessed Retreat is open for registration right now! It’s an in-person event happening in Miami Beach, Florida from March 20th through 23rd 2024. It’s where you’ll learn a three-part framework for creating a life you’re obsessed with, so click here to find out more. 

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What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • Why you aren’t making significant progress toward your new year goals yet.
  • How to get clear on your review of 2023.
  • Why your feelings about last year matter as we enter a new year.
  • 8 ways to uncover the lessons you learned in 2023.
  • How to leave any negativity behind as you navigate 2024.
  • A way for you to choose your word of the year.
  • Some tools you can use to plan for an amazing, successful 2024.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast, Episode 88. Today, I’m going to walk you through an evaluation for 2023, and get you set up for setting and achieving your goals in 2024. You ready? Let’s go.

Welcome to The Less Stressed Lawyer, the only podcast that teaches you how to manage your mind so you can live a life with less stress and far more fulfillment. If you’re a lawyer who’s over the overwhelm and tired of trying to hustle your way to happiness, you’re in the right place. Now, here’s your host, lawyer turned life coach Olivia Vizachero.

Well, hello, how are you? I missed you. As you probably noticed, I took a little bit of a break from the podcast. I took the last few weeks of the year off, and the first week of the new year off. I gave myself some luxurious space to catch my breath, take a breather, spend some time with family and friends, go home for the holidays. I actually moved, which was unexpected, but I moved over the holidays as well. Still in Charleston, though, enjoying the warm weather while it’s freezing up north in Detroit.

So, I took some time, and I didn’t intend actually to take a break from the podcast. But it just felt like the most aligned thing for me to do. But it’s the new year, and now we’re back at it. I can’t wait to continue on teaching you all of the things that you need to know to live a life with less stress and far more fulfillment.

Before I wrapped up work for the end of 2023, I taught a workshop. I’ve hosted this, I think it’s been two years in a row now. I really love this workshop. It’s a 2023… or whatever year it is, but this year; it’s 2023… A review, a comprehensive review of the year, and for 2024 it’s a planning session. So, I call it my 2023 Review and 2024 Planning workshop.

I want to give you some of the prompts that I gave to the people who attended that session live, so you could use those prompts to really wrap up 2023 and kick off 2024 on the right foot. Now, if you’re a perfectionist, and you’re like, “Olivia, we’re halfway through January, this is too late. It’s not timely enough,” I actually just coached a client of mine on this.

She is planning to do an annual planning session at the end of January, and she was frustrated; that was really the only date that worked for her schedule. She was frustrated that she was going to be doing it so late in the year. I just joked with her, “That’s only a problem if you make it a problem. You could decide that the end of January is the absolute perfect time for you to teach that workshop, for you to teach that masterclass.”

That’s exactly how I look at this. Maybe you’re into your new year, and things aren’t going off the way that you expected them to go. They’re not going as smoothly or as seamlessly. And even though we’re only a couple of weeks in, you’re not making the kind of progress that you want to make.

It’s probably because you’re doing what most people do. They wrap up a year, and they’re like, “Man, that didn’t go exactly the way I wanted it to go. Next year will be better.” And then they just carry on, they don’t meaningfully evaluate, and they move on, without really formulating a specific action plan for what they’re going to do moving forward to get where they want to go.

I’m going to walk you through my prompts, so we can tie a nice, beautiful bow on 2023, you can get some closure, close out the books on the last year, and sort of get your bearings for 2024. Now that we’re a few weeks in, you can see what’s working well. Have you given up on those goals? Have you kind of abandoned your resolutions?

If you have, this is a really good reset to focus your attention moving forward. I want you to start by just doing a quick debrief. What are your thoughts about 2023? If you were to do a thought download about last year, what thoughts come up for you? You can pause this episode, and take a minute and write them down.

As you do that, with each thought that you identify, I want you to identify the one-word emotion you feel when you think that thought. So, the circumstance is 2023. Then, you’re going to write down all of your thoughts about it.

Alright, what did you come up with? What thoughts are you thinking, and what feelings are you feeling, when you think about 2023? Are you thinking that it was a rough year? That you didn’t accomplish what you wanted to? That you’re behind schedule? That it was a tough year? That it should have gone differently than it did?

If you’re thinking those negative thoughts, you’re going to bring that negativity with you into the new year. Think about it. You just identified the feelings that you’re feeling, when you’re thinking the thoughts that you’re thinking about 2023. Are you likely to take positive, productive, intentional action from those emotions?

If they’re negative, the answer is going to be no. Because negative feelings beget negative action, or no action at all, right? So, be honest with yourself. How are you likely to show up based on those feelings? Are you likely to show up in service of your goals? Are you likely to accomplish what you want to accomplish this year? Or is that negative emotion going to impact, in fact, everything that you do from this point forward?

If you’re thinking negative thoughts about 2023, we’ve got to change them. I want you to think about how you want to feel, instead of the negative emotions that you just identified. How would you need to feel to take the action that you’re going to need to take, to achieve the goals you want to achieve this year?

What emotions would you need to be feeling, instead of those feelings you just identified? Would you need to feel committed, determined, capable? Would you need to feel encouraged, prepared, certain, in control? Would you maybe need to just feel accepting or understanding, rather than frustrated or discouraged or disappointed?

Think about the feelings that you would need to feel, in order to take the action that you’re going to need to take this year. Okay? Then, work your way backwards. What are the thoughts that you would need to think, not about the new year, but about 2023, to feel those feelings? To feel those positive emotions? What are the positive thoughts that you would need to practice?

Again, take a second if you have to and pause this episode. You can use it sort of like a workshop, and in real time work through these questions with me. Identify those thoughts.

Another thing that I do with my clients is, I have them write down all their negative thoughts. And then, for each negative thought I ask them to replace that thought with a thought that’s slightly more positive. So, you can do that, too. You can take that negative thought download that you just did, all your negative thoughts about 2023, and for each one ask yourself: What do I want to think instead? And, come up with a new list of thoughts.

It’s going to be a much more powerful, empowering list of thoughts than the ones that you probably came up with by default. Once you’ve figured out what you’ve been thinking about 2023, you’ve cleaned up your thoughts, you’ve started to shift your thinking, and you’re thinking about last year a little bit more positively, you’re going to set yourself up and lay the proper foundation for moving forward.

But before we do that, I want to do a quick evaluation. We’re going to dive in and explore eight different categories; you’re going to do an exercise with me. And then, once we do that, we’re going to plan for the future. I want you, on a scale of 1-10, to rate your satisfaction with each of these areas of your life.

There are eight categories; you can take a second and write them down. You’re just going to use whatever number first comes to your mind. One is the lowest, 10 is the highest; you’re rating these categories on a scale of 1-10. Notice I said rate, not rank. You’re not putting them in order, you’re writing your level of satisfaction with each of these areas of your life.

The first area is your Career. Or if you’re an entrepreneur, your business. What is your work life like? What is your level of satisfaction with your current results, on a scale of 1-10?

The second category is your Finances. What’s your level of satisfaction, on a scale of 1-10?

The third category is your Health, both physical and mental.

The fourth category is your Friends and Family; your relationships with them, the time that you spend with them, all of that. Everything that those relationships entail.

The fifth category is Romance; however you choose to define romance.

The sixth category is Personal Development.

The seventh category is Fun and Recreation.

The eighth category is Physical Environment. That’s where you spend your time, your home, your car, your physical space, okay?

Go through that. You’re going to just use the first number that pops into your mind when you think about each category. But go through and rate each one on a scale of 1-10.

Now, once you’ve done that, you’ve come up with your ratings for all eight categories, I want you to get more comprehensive about each of those categories. We’re going to do a more comprehensive evaluation. We’re going to figure out why you gave it the rating that you did.

I like to start by just going through and listing out my reasons. Why did I rate it that way? Just to create some additional information, some additional clarity. But then, we’re going to get even more specific. This might take you some time, so again, you might have to pause and start and stop this episode a couple different times, in order to complete this exercise.

But for each of those categories, I want you to go through and answer these three questions: What worked in this area of my life? What didn’t work in this area of my life? What will I do differently in this area of my life moving forward, to remedy what didn’t work in 2023?

Now, if you’re getting overwhelmed, if this feels daunting, one of the things that I love to have my clients do is just to force them to constrain. You can decide to only list one bullet point for each question, for each category; three bullet points for each question, for each category. It’s up to you.

If you want this to be a really comprehensive exercise, you can give yourself an unlimited amount of time to do it. But if that makes it mean that you’re unlikely to complete this process, I highly encourage you to constrain and just decide the number of bullet points you’re going to list for each question. That’s something that I do, and I have my clients do that. And it’s how I get people to complete evaluations when they, in the past, have been reluctant to complete them.

Now remember, when you’re evaluating you always want to start with, what worked? For each category, you’re going to go through that question first. Then you’re going to move into what didn’t work, and what will I do differently moving forward?

One of the fun things that happened in our workshop, when I taught this in December, was that as people went through this process, and they started with what worked, they saw how much they actually accomplished. How much they had forgotten that they did. They felt as though they could actually increase their ratings.

They came in a little low originally, and when they saw all that they had done throughout the year, they felt better about where their current results were. So, that might happen to you. If it does, that’s amazing. If it doesn’t, that’s not a problem, it’s just something to be on the lookout for.

Before we move on to planning, I want to make sure you really leverage your 2023 experience. I’ll be honest with you; I’ve talked about this a bit on social media and potentially on this podcast. I know my friends are well aware of this, and if you’re one of them, and you’re listening, “Hello, this will sound familiar to you.”

But my 2023 did not go as I expected it to go. It was a lot rockier, a lot messier, a lot bumpier, than I initially anticipated. One of the things that I tell myself all the time, and I also tell my clients this, I deeply believe that I’m always winning or learning. Sometimes you get to do both. But other times, one is being favored, or one skews higher than the other.

For me, 2023 was a year of a lot of learning. I learned some hard lessons. And, I learned some lessons the hard way. So, I really wanted to underscore the value of the wisdom that I gained through learning those lessons the hard way. I felt like my normal evaluation process, ‘the what worked, what didn’t work, what would I do differently,’ didn’t quite emphasize and highlight all of the learning that I did in 2023.

My past few years in business, I had some really massive wins. I feel like I achieved quite a bit of success pretty easily. And then, in 2023, I feel like my winning/learning ratio sort of skewed to where I was doing more learning and less winning. Now, I still made more money in my business than any other year that I’ve been in business. So, it was still a good year for me. I just didn’t hit the numbers that I expected to hit.

Instead, I gained a lot more wisdom than I probably expected to gain. I wanted to highlight that for myself, and I did that by making a list of all of the things that I learned last year. So, you can do this by category; I think that’s a way to keep it really organized. If that feels a little overwhelming, just make a list of What Did I Learn In 2023.

You can sort of go through those categories loosely in your head to flush out all eight of those areas. To find all the good, meaty lessons that you obtained, that you learned throughout the year. I promise you, when you make the list of all of the things that you learned throughout the past year, you’re going to feel so solid and so secure knowing that 2023 set you up and gave you the foundation that you need to move forward.

You had to learn those lessons to get where you’re going to go. I deeply believe that. That’s one of the thoughts that I’m thinking about 2023; I had to learn those lessons in order to achieve what I want to achieve next. I needed to create that foundation for myself, that learning, that knowledge, that wisdom. It makes the year feel like such a valuable year for me, even though I didn’t see the results, monetarily, that I wanted to see in my business.

Same thing in my personal life. I learned some hard lessons there, too. I didn’t see the results that I wanted to see in certain aspects of my personal life. But I walked away with some really incredible hard-fought, hard‑learned lessons, and they’re very valuable. So, I wanted to highlight that for myself, that’s why I created this list. I think you will find that to be a super valuable exercise, as well.

Now that you’ve gone through and identified and changed your thoughts about 2023, you’ve evaluated 2023 by rating each of those eight categories, coming up with your reasons for that rating, comprehensively evaluating ‘what worked, what didn’t work, and what you do differently,’ and then closing the year out by figuring out what is it that you learned throughout 2023 in each of those categories, you’re ready to move forward and start planning 2024.

What I want you to do… Again, we’re going to practice constraint here… I want you to pick one goal that you’d like to achieve in 2024 for each of those eight categories.

What’s one thing you want to achieve when it comes to your career or your business?

What’s one goal you’d like to accomplish when it comes to your finances?

What’s one goal you’d like to accomplish when it comes to your health, both physical and/or mental?

What’s one goal you’d like to achieve when it comes to your friends and family?

What’s a goal you’d like to achieve when it comes to romance?

What’s something that you want to complete or accomplish as it relates to personal development?

What’s something you want to complete or achieve as it relates to fun and recreation?

And, what’s a goal that you want to set and accomplish when it comes to your physical environment?

Go through… You’re going to have FOMO, I get it. You want to achieve all the things, all at once. But when we approach goal setting that way, we overwhelm ourselves and we end up making less progress than we otherwise would. So, the way to get the furthest, the fastest, is to practice constraint.

I want you to go through and pick one goal for each of those eight categories. Just allow yourself to feel that FOMO. That sense of feeling underwhelmed about what it is that you can accomplish. And if you complete all eight things, go pick eight more, all right? You don’t have to limit yourself to just those eight. But you’re going to limit yourself to those eight things at a time. All right?

I think you can even get more specific, and really prioritize one of the eight at a time, to get the absolute furthest, the fastest that you can. So, once you’ve identified your eight goals, one goal per category, what I want you to do, is I want you to reverse engineer those goals.

The way that we do that is we work backwards. You figure out, what are all of the things that I need to do? What are all of the actions that I need to take, in order to achieve this particular result?

Then, you take it back a step further. What are the positive emotions that I need to feel, in order to take that action? I also love to include this in my action plan: What are the negative feelings that I’m going to be forced to feel? That I’m going to have to embrace? That I’m going to have to allow myself to experience, in order to take this action and create this result?

I always focus on the emotion twofold, the positive emotions that I need to cultivate and the negative emotions that I need to allow. From there, we work at one step back. What are the positive thoughts that I need to be thinking, in order to feel those positive feelings? In order to create that emotional experience for myself?

I want you to do that for each one of those goals, all eight of them. You’re going to reverse engineer each one. You want to be specific; your goals need to be specific, measurable, objective, and attainable. I should be able to come into your life and know exactly what it is you’re going to accomplish this year, with a great deal of specificity. We want it to be very clear.

Your action plan should also be very clear. I should be able to come in and determine, with my little clipboard, are you doing what you planned to do? Are you doing what you set out to do, and be able to check off boxes like a rubric? You want it to be that specific.

Then, you’re going to create the mindset component for yourself. What are those positive emotions you want to feel, and need to feel, to take that action? What are the positive thoughts that you need to be thinking, in order to feel those feelings? Do that for each of those eight categories, each of those eight goals. You’re going to make achieving them inevitable. You’re going to make achieving them foolproof.

Reverse engineering goals is the most specific way to approach achieving what you want to achieve in your life. Now that you’ve figured out what it is you’re going to achieve in 2024, I want you to come up with a really powerful list of thoughts that you can choose to think about 2024.

How do you want this year to go for you? What are you determined to make it be like? Come up with the most powerful, compelling, inspiring thoughts you can think of, and use that to fuel yourself forward. Who do you want to be this year? Where do you want to be at the end of the year? What do you want your experience to be like? Come up with a really powerful list of thoughts to practice thinking all throughout the year.

Last but not least, as you start to do that, I want you to decide on a word for the year. If you feel like it’s too late to do that, I promise you, it’s not; that’s just your perfectionism talking. So, if you haven’t picked a word of the year yet, let’s pick one together. I want you to answer these questions. You’re going to start to see a theme develop as you answer them.

The first question I want you to answer is: What do you want more of in 2024? What do you feel like is missing from your life? That’s the second question. What’s needed to achieve your goals? You just identified those eight goals that you’re going to set for yourself and work towards.

What do you need to do, who do you need to be, in order to achieve those goals? What’s needed to achieve them? What qualities do you envy in other people?

Envision and begin to embody the 2024 version of you. Tell me, the 2024 version of you is what? If you think to yourself, “The 2024 version of me is…” Tell me what that fill-in-the-blank is. And last but not least, answer this or complete the statement: I’d be proud of myself at the end of the year, if I was…

As you answer these questions, you’re going to start to see trends emerge. When you see that trend emerge, pick that. Sum it up into one word, and pick that as your Word of the Year. Let it fuel you as you move forward throughout 2024.

Just to let you in on mine, my past couple years, I’ve picked the word “free.” I definitely think “free” is going to be the anthem of my lifetime, or the word of my lifetime. I have a whole episode all about “But are you free?” I believe that’s the title of the episode. I’ll link it in the show notes.

That’s a really powerful word for me. I think it’s what most of my people crave, they crave freedom. They want to live a life where they are truly free in every aspect of their life. So, while I think that is the pursuit of a lifetime, and it’s certainly my pursuit of my lifetime, I did decide to switch it up this year.

I did a lot of learning; I talked about that a little bit ago. I did a lot of learning in 2023, and I feel like I’m not done learning yet. However, I do want my learning to be more intentional. Rather than learning the lessons that life just simply throws my way, I want to be really focused about what I learn moving forward. So, that’s my word of the year.

There are a lot of things that I want to learn, and learn is exactly what I’m going to do. I’m going to set out, make a list for what I want to learn in all those different areas of my life, and I’m going to set out and embark on that education, learn those skills, learn those things, and learn how to do all of this stuff. So, “learn” is my word of 2024.

I can’t wait to embark on that educational experience. I’m actually going to record a podcast episode following this, to talk a little bit more about that. It’s a funny little story that I want to share with you.

But I would love for you to message me on social media if you listened to this episode and you picked your Word of the Year. I love learning what people’s words are. I love seeing what they’re going to embody in the coming year. I love to see what’s going to fuel them as they move forward. I just find it so exciting and inspiring.

So, 2024’s word for me is “learn.” I’d love to know what yours is. I hope this helps you just set the right foundation for 2024, so this year is a really positive, productive, intentional year. I hope you will accomplish all of the eight things that you identified and more. But we’re going to start with the eight, because we’re practicing constraint.

Okay, if you just went through this exercise, and you’re like, “Olivia, I could use some help. I could use some support in achieving the goals that I just identified. I feel like I’m still in a negative headspace when it comes to 2023. I don’t want to carry that with me into the new year. I really don’t want to go it alone. I want the support of a coach, and I know that you’re the right person to help me.”

If that’s how you feel listening to me right now, I want you to make the decision to join me in Miami, in March, for The Obsessed Retreat. We’re going to spend three days comprehensively setting the stage for the rest of the year.

Like I said, mid-January is not too late, neither is March. I actually think it’s the perfect time. You’ve gotten your bearings, you’re into your year, and you want to make sure that the rest of your year is as intentional as it possibly can be.

The way you’re going to set yourself up to ensure that that happens is, you’re going to join me in Miami, in March. We’re going to meet up March 20th-23rd, and we’re going to spend three days together. We’re going to go through day one, solving all the problems that you’re facing, that contributed to the 2023 that you just had. We’re going to solve those problems, so we clear the way for you to show up very powerfully the rest of the year. So, you’re setting yourself up for success.

Day two, we’re going to develop the essential skills that you need to have in order to achieve what you want to achieve this year. We’re going to talk about practicing constraint, developing discipline, and making decisions. Those are three essential skills that you need to develop in order to create a life that you’re obsessed with, which is the whole point of The Obsessed Retreat.

Then, day three, we’re going to make plans. We’re going to figure out exactly what you need to do, even more comprehensively than you just did, with those goals that you identified. It’s going to be a foolproof, follow-the‑yellow-brick-road plan for what you’re going to do, when you’re going to do it, what that timeline looks like; everything that’s going to be required of you in order to cross the finish line for everything that you’re setting out to do.

So, that’s what we’re going to do in person for those three days. There’s also an amazing community that you join when you attend to The Obsessed Retreat. We spend the first night at the welcome reception getting to know each other, we workshop for three days straight, then we celebrate everything we accomplished in person with the farewell dinner.

Then, you return home, and you start putting those plans into action. You start implementing. I’m going to support you every step of the way. It’s not just coming to the retreat and then you’re on your own. You’re going to come to the in-person event in Miami, in March. And then, once you return home and you start putting your plans into action, I’m going to support you with monthly coaching calls.

We’re going to meet up once a month. You’re going to be able to get coached, work through the problems that you continue to face, new problems that are going to arise, and new obstacles that are going to present themselves. You’re going to get stuck at different points along the way, and I’m going to help you work through them, overcome them, and get unstuck so you can keep implementing in order to achieve everything that you set out to achieve this year.

You’re also going to get additional training materials and event recordings and a member portal online. There’s also a written coaching platform. So, in between our monthly calls you get access to me. I can help support you whether it’s seeking feedback, advice, guidance, coaching, you want my eyes on something. I’ve got you. You can submit anything there and I’ll review it. It’s going to be really comprehensive, and a ton of support.

I just had someone ask me, “Olivia, how is that different than what you do on Instagram, on the weekends, with your Ask Me Anything’s?” It’s so much more detailed. I actually know who you are when you’re in my community, versus my Ask Me Anything’s which are anonymous. So, because I’ll know who you are and what you’re specifically working on, I’m able to provide you with such detailed support, versus the anonymous Ask Me Anything’s.

You’ll also have a community platform where you can stay connected with everyone that you meet at the retreat. Which is going to be so fun to watch other people achieve what they set out to achieve while you’re achieving what you set out to achieve. You get to cheer each other on, support each other, and have each other’s backs. It’s going to be so incredible.

Enrollment is getting ready to reopen for The Obsessed Retreat. It is the last time that you’ll be able to join before March. So, what I want you to do, is go to bit.ly/the-obsessed-retreat. Okay? Go there and you can find out all of the specifics, even though I just went through a ton of them with you right now. You can find all of the specifics there about the event, the logistics, what you’re going to learn, what it’s going to be like, all the details, and then you can register.

I cannot wait to see you in South Beach, where we take everything that you just identified in this episode, we kick it up a notch, we make it more intentional, we make it more thorough, more robust, so that we truly make accomplishing what you want to accomplish in 2024 inevitable. I can’t wait to support you in that journey. It’s going to be so much fun.

All right, my friends. That’s what I have for you this week. I hope you have a beautiful week, and I will talk to you in the next episode.

Thanks for listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast. If you want more info about Olivia Vizachero or the show’s notes and resources from today’s episode, visit www.TheLessStressedLawyer.com.

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